Proposal May Hurt Office-Supply Firms

Small businesses that provide nearly 80 percent of government-purchased office supplies may be in danger of losing their contracts if a General Service Administration proposal takes effect.

The agency has recommended that office supplies be eliminated from the Global Supply Stock Program, which is a one-stop shop for government purchasers to buy anything from file folders to aircraft coatings and get them shipped most anywhere around the world.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who chairs the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, sent a letter last week to GSA Administrator Lurita Doan requesting that the agency hold off on that action until lawmakers have a better chance to explore its impact on small businesses. He also requested that the Government Accountability Office conduct a study assessing the impact of the potential move.

Kerry said in the letter that GSA's decision to end the program could encourage agencies to buy supplies from a handful of large firms.

The GSA said in a statement that it welcomes the chance to meet with lawmakers and discuss any concerns.

"GSA is looking to provide best value to other federal agencies and to the taxpayer in meeting their needs for office supplies in terms of price, quality and delivery time," said Joe Jeu, assistant commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service Office of General Supplies and Services. "GSA can do so by making office products that are readily available on the commercial market available through direct delivery from the vendor, a model that GSA has utilized to some extent for years."

Small Business readers: Do any of you provide office supplies to this program? How could this change affect you? What have other small firms done when one of their major contracts gets nixed?

By Sharon McLoone |  July 20, 2007; 6:00 AM ET Regulation Legislation
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Well, I don't provide office supplies, but it seems kinda silly to want to keep business going when their sole source of income is an already-obsolete solution. By extension, why not throw away our computers and re-hire 200,000 typists?

Posted by: small business owner | July 20, 2007 11:48 AM

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