he Federal Supply Service was established in 1949 to provide federal agencies with a variety of products and services. Since last year, the agency has begun weaning itself from appropriations by charging a 1 percent surcharge on all sales to cover administrative expenses. Total FSS sales volume for fiscal 1996 is expected to top $13 billion from the following four business lines:
- Supply and Procurement ($6.4 billion). The government buys everything from forklifts to flak jackets via the Multiple Award Schedule program in which FSS negotiates and awards contracts to multiple vendors of comparable products and services at varying prices. More than 130 supply schedules are currently available. FSS also procures specific supplies or services based on agency requisitions. Small-purchase procedures have been simplified since the introduction of the IMPAC government credit card program, which FSS manages.
- Travel and Transportation Mgt. ($3.4 billion). FSS contracts with scheduled air carriers and Amtrak for reduced fares. It sets up agency accounts for the centralized purchase of airline tickets and provides cash advances through automated teller machines. Federal travelers receive charge cards.
- Property Management ($2.3 billion). FSS is responsible for transferring federal excess personal property to other agencies. In some cases, surplus personal property is donated to eligible recipients or disposed of through competitive public sales.
- Fleet Management ($705 million). The Federal Supply Service is the government's source for obtaining all types of vehicles, which are leased from GSA. In addition, the agency supervises a fleet of 147,000 vehicles via a nationwide network of management centers.