Remember back in the 1980s when the federal government came under fire for the $600 toilet seat? The "toilet" was actually a highly engineered system for a specialized aircraft, but it is still held up as an example of wasteful government spending. In the past decade, the government has been taking several steps to try and streamline its purchasing, including the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative that was first introduced in 2005.
But does streamlining government procurement actually have a broader positive impact? Maybe not, according to ISSA, a trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide.
One of the latest targets for the FSSI is the jan-san industry, and if a current FSSI request for quotation proposal goes ahead as is, there may be significant negative repercussions in the private sector, according to formal comments submitted to the U.S. General Services Administration by ISSA.
In its comments, ISSA observed that the GSA is proposing to drastically reduce the number of jan-san vendors on the GSA schedule to only 15, compared with the more than 1,000 vendors that currently do business with the federal government. “This drastic reduction in vendors will result in far more losers than winners under GSA’s proposed approach," said Bill Balek, ISSA's legislative affairs director, "and we can expect small businesses to take the brunt of the blow.”
ISSA's comments didn't call for an outright rejection of the FSSI for jan-san supplies; rather, the association is requesting a cost-benefit analysis to assess the broader economic impact on existing vendors to ensure that the economic displacement in the private sector doesn't outweigh the cost savings generated under the proposal.