The same week President Obama will unveil his proposal to cut the national deficit, his White House will begin its own efficiency efforts -- starting with office supplies.
Hoping to trim $600 million in the next four years, several federal agencies and departments will start pooling their purchases of office printers, copiers, and scanners, administration officials told The Washington Post. Starting this week, the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and Treasury, as well as the Social Security Administration, are slated to begin buying these items in bulk from 11 firms. The supplier list includes both larger companies like Canon and Lexmark, and some smaller, veteran- or minority-owned suppliers, The Post reports.
This plan will also force departments to closely scrutinize their equipment stocks. "One of the things we've discovered is that agencies don't have a clue what they have," Dan Gordon, the Obama administration's top federal contracting official, told The Post. "They don't realize how many cellphones and BlackBerrys they have."
Up next on the White House's bulk-buying campaign: reining in spending on wireless service contracts. An additional $170 million could be saved annually if departments renegotiate their deals or merge several plans, according to Jeffrey Zients, the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.