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Question. What are GPO's cost of upkeep for the unused portion of the building? and Info
What are GPO's cost of upkeep for the used portion of the building? mic
Answer. The cost for cleaning used assigned space is approximately $2.1 million the
per year. In addition, there are about 500,000 square feet classified as common area. did
$11 million annually. The unassigned space is necessary for common areas that in
The estimated cost of cleaning the common portions of the building is approximately -Joi Ox
Te estimate that approximately 27,500 square feet of the assigned space is curор th
a space to other government agencies that may need it for small groups. The cost
ty used because of attrition in the workforce. We are considering the lease GU
Questur h addition to the costs for new electrical switching equipment re
upkeep Red assigned areas is minimal. quested last year, and new air conditioning equipment now under review by the ICF. wat other asts does GPO anticipate over the next three years for the upgradimg smernicement of major mechanical equipment and maintenance of the man in hight of these costs, and the amount of space actually used by GPO for
printing, binding and related activities, would it not be to GPO's financial advantage to acquire a new, more economical facility?
Answer. Building projects foreseen at this time are: (1) additional pollution control equipment for printing presses; (2) upgrade to energy efficient lighting throughout the agency; (3) renovation of elevators has been an ongoing project that will require a few more years to complete; and (4) maintenance of the buildings' brickwork and roof.
Regarding the option for a new facility, a comprehensive study of this option has not been done recently. The costs of construction and re-installation of equipment would likely be high and it is unknown whether the benefits would offset this additional cost. I would point out that GPO has saved millions in recent years by consolidating outlying operations from leased space (at Union Center Plaza and the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC, and at warehouses formerly located in the Alexandria, VA, area) into the Central Office facility.
Question. Several years ago, GAO reported that GPO had a 33 percent spoilage rate on paper used for in-house printing as compared with under a io percent spoilage rate in the private sector. What is your present spoilage rate, and what does that cost the agency? What can be done to reduce both the amount and cost of spoilage?
Answer. GPO's paper waste and spoilage tends to run higher than in private in. dustry because of its unique workload. In its September 1990 report on GPO (GAO/ GGD-90-107; this study was based on fiscal year 1989 data), the GAO reported that “GPO's waste and spoilage averaged about 12 percent above the highest private industry standard” (p. 37). The GAO stated that "GPO's unique wide range of in-house plant operations may not be strictly comparable to private industry activities” (p. 37).
In the private sector, production quantities produced on high-speed web presses are typically much higher than the quick turn-around, smaller production quantities requested by the Congress and produced in GPO. Newspapers, magazines, and most other commercial products have much longer production runs on press than the average GPO job, resulting in lower waste and spoilage percentages. Also, certain characteristics of GPO production that are adopted to meet critical congressional demand, such as lifting one job from a press to replace it with another more critical job, can lead to comparatively higher waste and spoilage data. The GAO report itself noted that part of GPO's waste and spoilage rate is caused by "the need for press changes to respond to changing workload demands placed on GPO” (p. 37).
GPO's present waste and spoilage rate is about 37 percent. The estimated cost to GPO of paper waste and spoilage for fiscal year 1997 was $5.6 million (the cost of waste and spoilage in fiscal year 1989 was $7 million). The fiscal year 1997 cost was offset in part by revenues of $334,500 from the sale of waste paper.
A certain amount of GPO's paper waste and spoilage rate is planned. For example, some waste will result from paper trimmed to meet job requirements. Press makereadies also result in planned waste. A makeready will consume a standard amount of paper before a job is run. If the job requires a long press run, the percentage of paper waste and spoilage will be comparatively small. With shorter press runs, the percentage will increase. As press runs for GPO work have been reduced by ordering customers in recent years, the percentage of planned waste and spoilage to actual paper consumed on printing jobs has increased. There are other contributory factors to the waste and spoilage rate, including paper handling procedures and back-to-press requirements.
Nevertheless, our objective is to minimize the waste and spoilage rate by ensuring that it meets an acceptable level as determined by current equipment capabilities and workload mix. An effort has been recently undertaken by the Production Manager and our Quality Control and Technical Department to reduce the paper waste and spoilage rate to its lowest possible level.
Question. In light of the amount of unused space in the present GPO buildings, has any thought been given to co-locating the Laurel warehouse space at the plant?
Answer. Co-locating warehouse space to the GPO Central Office would face several obstacles. Currently, unoccupied Central Office space exists at various locations on several floors. The need to move materials over relatively long distances using elevators which must also be used to handle printing plant materials would be highly inefficient. In addition, Laurel's ceilings are high enough to permit "four-high” storage, unlike the GPO Central Office, which would mean that at least 400,000 square feet of space would need to be available. The additional shipping and receiv. ing required by such a consolidation would also strain current Central Office facilities. The expense of providing consolidated and renovated space, in addition to the purchase of enough new storage racks and picking bins to permit the move without an extended disruption of operations, would make the cost prohibitive.
MARKETING GPO Question. Today, agencies have a variety of means available to produce and disseminate their publications. They do not have to rely on ink on paper. They produce and disseminate electronically via the World Wide Web. They use print on demand technology, and some have found other creative ways to make their information available to the American public. Given this state of affairs, it strikes me that an agency like the Government Printing Office (GPO) cannot rest on its laurels, and expect everyone to beat a path to their door. GPO must give agencies a reason and incentive to use them. Describe to the Committee GPO's customer marketing program, as well as GPO's customer satisfaction program. How does GPO win and keep agencies as customers?
Answer. I think that congressional entities, Federal agencies, private sector printers who do business with
GPO, depository libraries, Government information users, and others who utilize GPO's programs and services are very familiar and satisfied with GPO's products and services. We have performed customer satisfaction surveys periodically which substantiate this. We regularly reach out to agencies, the printing industry, the library community, and Government information users to inform them of our programs and services, and we also work closely with congressional committees, Members, and the leadership to make our latest programs and services known to them.
The recently concluded management audit of GPO conducted by Booz-Allen & Hamilton found strong support in Congress for GPO's in-house production operations for congressional printing, stating that GPO's production area "consistently meets a demanding congressional production schedule. According to briefing materials distributed by Booz-Allen on March 18, 1998, GPO's "production functions are geared to rapidly and consistently produce congressional products” and are "flexible and responsive to changing congressional needs." In addition, the auditors said that GPO has developed strong and cordial relationships with their contacts within congressional organizations and offices," and GPO's communication with the congressional customer is frequent and regular."
The auditors also found strong support among executive branch agencies for GPOʻs printing procurement program, characterizing it as “an example of the best services that the government has to offer." They said, "For some time now, GPO has been employing contracting techniques that have recently become recognized as best practices throughout the government," citing as examples GPO's use of past performance data in making contract award decisions, its database of approximately 10,000 potential vendors, the expertise of its staff, and its use of term contracts for multiple agency use and direct deal arrangements.
In addition, the auditors reported that GPO's depository library program "serves a necessary service of government” in providing government information for the use of the public free of charge, and that GPO is using technology effectively to transition this program to a more electronic basis. They noted specifically that GPO ACcess, GPO's Internet information service, "is one of the Federal Government's largest and most active web sites and has been highly successful in making Government information easily available to the public."
GPO's capabilities for quick turnaround, quality, low cost publications are well known throughout Federal agencies. We service our customers' graphic arts needs. We meet regularly with the Interagency Council on Printing and Publication Services to discuss concerns and new developments. We also meet regularly with the representatives of the Federal Publishers' Committee to discuss their concerns.
We have an entire organizational unit dedicated to providing customer service to Congress and Federal agencies, staffed by congressional information specialists and departmental account representatives who are intimately familiar with customer requirements, Title 44 provisions, and GPO and industry printing capabilities. Our Procurement Department is staffed by experts in the printing industry and the printing procurement process. Our Typography and Design area is staffed with award-winning designers and graphic arts specialists who are constantly sought-out by agencies to produce quality products.
In our Superintendent of Documents area, we provide both pre- and post-publication marketing services for Government information products, including electronic products. GPO Access is quickly becoming the premier Federal online sight for access to Government information, with more than 10 million documents downloaded monthly. It has become the Government's leading GILS site. It has won several awards and was recently the subject of praise one of the Government's most widelyread computer publications. GPO has been singled out as one of the Government's leading CD-ROM producers, a service also widely used by Federal agencies. Not long ago GPO won a coveted Hammer Award from the National Performance Re
view for its work in the creation of the new electronic Commerce Business Daily. All of these factors are taken into consideration by Federal agencies which call on us to support their graphic arts and public information dissemination needs.
To attract new business, GPO is undertaking additional marketing efforts with departments and agencies. The focus of these efforts is to visit customer agencies with a team representing Customer Service, Procurement, and Superintendent of Documents functions to market the full range of GPO services available. Follow-up meetings will be focused to address specific agency needs and services. Initial reactions to such efforts have been very positive, with the establishment of new contracts and the increased usage of GPO Access.
Question. Pricing is an important element in customer satisfaction. The committee understands that agencies are charged a surcharge of up to six percent on the first $200,000 of a job procured through GPO. What services does GPO provide for that surcharge, and are agencies satisfied that they are getting a good value for the money?
Answer. GPO charges customers $5 plus 6 percent on the commercial cost of a procured job. For this, customers receive many services: the benefit of Printing Procurement's database of commercial printers nationwide which increases competition and lowers prices; contract administration by contracting officers with a background in printing; contract compliance and quality control testing; design and layout assistance by visual communication specialists; on-site press sheet inspections; payment administration of contractors and accounting services; investigation of potential contractor irregularities by GPO's Inspector General; and legal remedies for contractor defaults and failures to meet specifications.
Question. An additional element in pricing is an assurance that the actual bill will reflect closely the estimates provided. What is the status of efforts by GPO to institute "fixed pricing” for its customers? What has GPO found to be the advantages and disadvantages of "fixed pricing," and have the advantages outweighed the disadvantages? If the advantages have outweighed the disadvantages, how long will it be before "fixed pricing” becomes the standard practice for GPO?
Answer. GPOʻis willing to firm price many types of work, if the ordering agency wishes to do so, and we are offering this as an option. GPO has also undertaken a firm pricing pilot on certain repetitive contract work. However, agency acceptance of firm pricing has been unexpectedly mixed. Although agency accounting staff frequently welcome it, agency printing and administrative management representatives are less excited about it. GPO plans to continue offering this option and hopes to gain some experience with this practice over the next year. Also, a Windowsbased improvement to GPO's procured job tracking system will provide agencies with cost and status information more quickly in an easy-to-use format. Another payment alternative that GPO has recently developed to assist agencies with their billing concerns is the GPO Deposit Account. This approach eliminates a number of agency required labor-intensive process without losing accountability. GPO feels that all of these improvements combined will go a long way toward addressing customer concerns about costs and billing.
TRAINING Question. One strategy for staffing the Government Printing Office is to train personnel to perform more than one or two functions. Does GPO have an aggressive training program which cross trains employees to perform the various functions required to produce the Congressional Record, or other publications produced in the plant? If so, how many employees went through the program in the past fiscal year? How much money was invested in the program, and what was the outcome?
Answer. GPO has several Production cross-training programs in place. The crosstraining programs train employees in a different trade if we have found there may be a surplus in their particular position.
Cross-training of employees is essential if it expects to provide services as it continues to downsize. Prior to beginning its last apprentice program, in February of 1996, modifications were made to the existing curriculum that provided 300 hours of cross-training time for proofreading and keyboarding apprentices, respectively: This, coupled with technological changes and an influx of outside hires with varied skill, has helped eliminate traditional multicraft barriers in the Electronic Photocomposition Division. As a result, on any given day or night, many proofreaders will prepare copy, revise, read, and perform a variety of computer
operations while data entry personnel perform proofreading and computer tasks. This has been accomplished as on-the-job training without additional monetary investment. We are convinced that these cross-training activities have allowed this division to significantly reduce its manpower requirements. Plans for 1998 include implementation of direct
to-plate printing. This new technology will impact on a large number of prepress employees who will also be cross-trained in other printing disciplines.
In the Press Division, the Negative Section and Copy Prep Section have crosstrained their employees to perform various functions in each section. The Press Section has a continuing program of cross-training sheet-fed presspersons to perform as web presspersons. In the past fiscal year we had seven employees in the program. The letterpress cylinder presspersons are being trained in the offset process. The past fiscal year we have trained five cylinder presspersons and promoted one to second web pressperson. Fifty-three web presspersons have been trained by the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation in proper web practices and procedures at a cost of approximately $40,000. This training was geared to the new presses that print the Congressional Record and Federal Register. This training was completed in the past fiscal year.
The Binding Division cross-trains bookbinders to ensure that all of our processes can be accomplished as required. We cross trained approximately 15 bookbinders
Question. Congressional offices and committees which use GPO detailees are increasingly expressing concern over how ill-trained these detailees are to perform the tasks required of them. Does GPO have a training program for detailees? What other steps is GPO taking to respond to these concerns? Do committees have a choice or a voice in the selection of detailees to do their work?
Answer. Traditionally, GPO was required to send only proofreaders to Capitol Hill on detail assignments. This eventually evolved into situations that required both data entry and proofreading skills. Now that work processing and composition for printing are performed in their entirety by many congressional committees, a more rounded education is paramount. Recently, the Electronic Photocomposition Division, having been informed of skill level deficiencies, initiated an accelerated training class for Capitol Hill details. Volunteer employees were given 4 days of intensive classroom training that consisted of the following:
Basic computer familiarization (Windows 95 and XyWrite). Copy Preparation: Knowledge of formats and copy standardization; and coding with the necessary tagging scheme.
Use of MicroComp composition software.
Use of scanning equipment: Scanning images; and OCR and related hardware and software as required.
Immediately prior to starting a detail, the employee will also be trained in the needs of the specific committee or office. Detail assignments will now be made from this group for any committee that requires other than basic proofreading or keyboarding
GPO explains to staffers that an initial familiarization period for new detailees is needed, and notifies detailees that others already on the Hill are resources on unfamiliar office procedures. They are also advised that training or assistance from organizations like Graphic Systems Development Division (GSDD) are available. Occasionally, GPO receives a request for a specific detailee by name. These are usually honored if the Committee can demonstrate that the specific employee possesses previous experience in performing tasks particular to that Committee. These assignments are normally for a previously defined and usually short period of time. In the absence of a need for a specific detailee, selection is made from the pool of volunteers mentioned above in accordance with labor/management agreements. When a Committee expresses dissatisfaction with the performance of a detailee, the detailee is given additional training and assistance to improve his/her skills. Committees are aware that should the detailee performance still not meet their needs, they can release that detailee and request another.
CONCLUSION OF HEARINGS
Senator BENNETT. If there is nothing further, the subcommittee is recessed.
(Whereupon, at 10:12 a.m., Thursday, March 19, the hearings were concluded, and the subcommittee was recessed, to reconvene subject to the call of the Chair.]