Innovative Office Supplies Program - Web-Based Agency Supply Clubs (ASCs). This program is easy to implement, produces immediate savings, is quantifiable, reduces significant administrative burden, improves the speed of operations, saves money for taxpayers, and helps the environment. This program can produce widespread savings all across government for as long as government exists because every single employee, Federal employee or contractor, will always need supplies and there will be opportunities to generate savings. The future of government is moving towards using more advanced technology and social media, and obtaining supplies would be enhanced with this too.
THE PROGRAM: Allow each Federal facility/building to establish a building-wide, user-friendly, web-based supply club, where all employees/offices (contractor and Federal employee) who leave, retire, move on rotation, can easily and voluntarily post online and donate their unused/unwanted office supplies to the club. New and existing employees have immediate access to view online the supplies from offices all over their building (instead of just accessing the supplies in their office) without going through the traditional supply room process. Employees are encouraged to use free supplies first before ordering any supplies that aren’t in the club. This program model's after the proven success of the posting of free items on Craigslist and other similar websites. OVERHEAD is LOW- the only overhead would be to create a website for participants to use.
BENEFITS: Employees will enjoy reduced administrative paperwork in not having to order supplies through their supply store and can eliminate months of waiting for the supplies to come. This program has benefits for the environment, as less supplies have to be ordered, produced, and transported, and items that would normally go to waste will be recycled. This program speeds operations and increases productivity, as employees can start their work sooner and reduce time and frustration spent on ordering supplies. Last but least, there are significant savings into the millions if not billions, as shown below.
Within the supply store of my building, there is a free supply section, and I have saved my office roughly $50-$100 in supplies by choosing from the free supplies that are just as good in quality. Data from my agency shows that my building alone has 109,094 employees. Multiply that number by $50 and we can produce a potential minimum savings of $5.5 million per year on one building alone (~conservatively). If you multiply that by the thousands of Federal facilities and buildings around the world, the government can immediately save taxpayers in the billions of dollars.
INCENTIVES: As an option to drive the program, an incentive program can be created with an honor awards program to recognize top offices and employees with appreciation certificates and prizes who have donated the most or have chosen free supplies over paid supplies. The tracking of this can be automatically done electronically through the website so there is minimal overhead costs. At the end of the year, that list is approved by an objective third-party volunteer ASC committee. Lastly, the committee can organize quarterly building wide supply drives where donating and sharing office supplies is publicized and made into a formal event in the building.
1) Develop a policy through GSA to allow for each Federal facility to create an Web-based Agency Supply Club.
2) Program could be piloted at Department of Energy, or EPA, and expanded to include all Federal facilities.
3) Develop a user-friendly web based agency supply club for employees/offices to post unwanted/unused items and to contact each other to give and take items.
4) Train new employees in orientation and existing employees about the new voluntary program.
5) Form a volunteer ASC committee to track savings to the government by comparing benchmark expenses ordered from the supply store from the previous year to the year the policy is implemented, develop prizes and awards for top participants, and to ensure accountability and transparency to the process.