Any printer serious about becoming a print supplier for the United States Government Printing Office (GPO), to improve workflow and cash flow, needs to be competitive to win its share of the more than $300 million that is awarded for federal print jobs each year. The GPO is the centralized resource that is authorized by Congress to coordinate printing for the three branches of the federal government – executive, legislative and judicial.
Printers that develop the GPO as a dependable and profitable secondary market know the intricacies and complexities of working with a federal agency, according to Deborah Snider, senior vice president of e-LYNX Corporation. “They also know how to gain a competitive advantage by becoming qualified by the GPO at the highest print quality level possible. Additionally, they receive all available jobs that are put out for bid in the quality levels for which they have been approved to participate,” she said. “They also use active databases of job histories, bid results and other competitive information to stay ahead of others bidding for GPO work.”
Few do this successfully on their own because typically it takes an experienced staff dedicated to developing the GPO market. Rather than employ another department, the printers that rank consistently in the top 50 GPO producers turn to a full-service GPO bid service firm that specializes in the GPO market. Snider said one of the advantages that they gain is a secure, online service that provides in one place:
GPO PUBLICATIONS, FORMS AND CONTACTS – Rules, regulations and standards for printing federal documents are provided in detail. Access is given to the official GPO publications needed to professionally conduct business with the GPO. References include how standard rules and regulations apply to each job.
JOB AND PROGRAM SOLICITATIONS – In this section, all the available job opportunities from GPO’s 16 offices nationwide are posted based on the printer’s pre-selected production capabilities. These opportunities may be organized in a number of ways – production category, open date, GPO region, IFB type, ship date, quality, and quantity. A quick synopsis of each one-time job or multi-year program is provided so the printer can quickly determine whether what is put out for bid is a good fit with its production capabilities.
AMENDMENTS – This key reference identifies specification changes made by the GPO for formal jackets and single or multi-year programs. It is the printer’s responsibility to keep track of amendments. Jobs have been lost by printers that have not acknowledged and/or made the required change before submitting a bid.
SEARCH – “Search” provides access to the only database in the industry with 4 million plus GPO job/program histories. Research is possible by titles, job numbers or program numbers. This tool is an invaluable resource that can assist in determining pricing based on historical information.
COMPARATIVE BIDDING - Statistics of specific bidding activity over the past 60 days in this section provide details on jobs won and those that were lost, as well as details on how much the job was won and/or lost by in both actual dollars and percentage. This is one of the best tools available to help a printer hone its capabilities, allowing it to work smarter, not harder to grow its share of the GPO market.
Access to this information is only possible through Government Print Management – the only full-service firm that subscribes to GPO’s comprehensive list of jobs open for bids and home of the largest repository of GPO jobs data in the industry.
Once a printer starts winning GPO work consistently, Snider said it can expect to increase its profitability from an industry average of 2%, before GPO work, to 14% or more afterwards. Production utilization will increase from a print industry average of 70% to full utilization of 90% to 95%. Those percentages are based on a printer using proven tools and services developed for printers seeking GPO work, identifying open production capacity and discounting prices to fill non-productive, non-revenue generating schedule openings.