Interagency Use of Field Contract Support Services for Supply and Equipment Procurements

Gao ID: PLRD-81-38 June 11, 1981

GAO conducted a survey to determine the extent that agencies were duplicating field support services for supply and equipment procurements at manufacturing plants. These services include financial audits, engineering support, contract payments, quality assurance surveillance and inspections, production surveillance, and property administration.

Duplication of field contract support services at plants for supply and equipment procurements appears relatively limited. While measures could be taken to reduce or eliminate the duplication that does occur, those that entail additional costs would be difficult to justify. The current voluntary coordination process would more effectively reduce duplication if cross-servicing restraints were overcome and a central referral point or clearinghouse were established for agencies to determine the availability of support services at particular plants when contracts are awarded. The integration of field contract support staffs is another measure that would overcome cross-servicing restraints and eliminate duplication. However, this measure would entail establishing a separate contract support organization. The savings that could be achieved by either measure are difficult to estimate and have to be offset by the cost of establishing and administering a clearinghouse to coordinate requirements or an integrated contract support organization to meet all requirements. Expansion of the centralized acquisition process would further reduce duplication of field contract support services because the probability of one manufacturer performing contracts for more than one agency would be reduced. This measure does not entail establishing and administering a separate activity. Centralized acquisitions also improve the economy and efficiency of other aspects of the procurement process by consolidating management expertise and requirements for assigned items.

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