U.S. Customs Service Automated Merchandise Processing System

An Evaluation of Costs and Benefits Gao ID: GGD-78-57 April 20, 1978

An analysis of the cost benefit study for the U.S. Customs Service's Automated Merchandise Processing System indicated that automation of Customs' merchandise and revenue processing functions would be beneficial. Automation is Customs' answer to the problem of limited manpower to cope with increasing imported merchandise and revenue processing workload. The analysis of the cost benefit study dealt with the acceptability of the methodology and the extent to which it fully and accurately stated costs and benefits. The study methodology used by Customs was sound and is acceptable for estimating costs and benefits. Although benefits were overstated and costs understated, the system will provide about $2.50 in benefits for every $1 in costs. Personnel costs and computer procurement costs were understated, while personnel reduction benefits and benefits to the importing community were overstated. Customs needs, but does not have, a plan to implement the personnel changes and retraining that will be required as a result of the system.

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