As an industry market for printing services, the Federal government is composed of multiple markets with common, consistent, and well documented and regulated requirements at all levels. Despite its volume, the GPO’s 163,200 print jobs constitute only about 25% of the printing performed by the Federal government. The remaining 75% are performed by approximately 16,000 private contractors who have found outsourced printing and document services opportunities within the Federal government.
Identifying the Decision-Maker
As the requirement to funnel all printing through the GPO eases, individual departments and agencies will be able to solicit bids for their own department- or agency-level document production. As this is an evolving endeavor, particular attention should be directed to understanding the structure and composition of the individual federal, state, and local government organizations.
Government agency core departments generally resemble those in the private enterprise, although personnel fall into the separate categories of political appointees (top executives and administrators) and career managers and employees for the Federal sector.
Sales and Marketing Strategies
Budgets and policies can be altered whenever there are changes in political or administrative leadership. Moreover, the nature of government bureaucracy makes working with government agencies quite different than dealing with businesses. Government agencies tend to operate under strict regulations and are often slow to change.
Additionally, government customer paperwork can be complex and government vendor acceptance processes may be slower than those found in businesses. Nevertheless, tenacity in securing a foothold with government customers will ultimately be rewarding since they tend to maintain long-term relationships with quality vendors.
Selling to Government Entities
Single job purchases account for approximately 57% of all procurements. Job specifications that are available for bid are provided in “jackets” that contain the job requirements, such as print volume, paper and binding requirements, schedule, and distribution location(s). Bidders must provide a single bid price for the complete job.
For the Federal government, the GPO uses an informal bidding process on single purchases up to $100,000 on more than 50,000 jobs per year. Bids can be received by telephone, fax, or e-mail. Single purchases with a large estimated value are normally handled as formal requests with standardized paperwork required for bid submission.
The remaining 43% of GPO’s outsourced work is conducted under term contract purchases known as “programs.” Typically, programs are for a one-year term with bids handled as formal requests. There are two types of term contracts:
There are well-established procedures for applying and qualifying as a contract printer for the Federal government. Currently, the GPO bid list contains more than 16,000 contract printers. To be successful, print service providers need to become familiar with Federal print procurement procedures. Extensive information about GPO’s Printing Procurement Program is available at www.gpo.gov/procurement.
The preceding is an excerpt from CAP Ventures’ Federal, State, and Local Governments: The On Demand print and Document Services Opportunity. The complete white paper report is available immediately. To learn more about the report or to make a purchase, please contact Alison Hipp at , ext. 126.