Cutting Costs Cutting CostsCutting Costs
Inside the effort to improve the efficiency of federal operations.

Five Employee Ideas that Could Help GSA Save $5 Million

ARCHIVES

In the weeks after scandal erupted earlier this year over the General Services Administration’s extravagant spending on a 2010 conference in Las Vegas, the agency was already introducing new programs to save money.

In late May, GSA launched the Great Ideas Hunt, a program that asked employees nationwide to suggest ways GSA could reduce spending and improve operations. After receiving 632 ideas and 20,000 comments from employees in all 50 states, the agency settled on 40 ideas worth implementing; the top five of those are expected to save the agency more than $5.3 million. 

Speaking on a panel at The George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, acting GSA administrator Dan Tangherlini spoke about how employee crowdsourcing was an innovative tool that not only saved money--it resulted in new ways of thinkings for GSA employees. 

“[The Great Ideas Hunt] is a way of erasing some of those organizational barriers . . . and challenging everyone in GSA to come up with ideas for us to save money or do things more efficiently and effectively,” said Tangherlini. “Normal organizational barriers were being subverted and overcome [and] most importantly . . . a dialogue [was] built around these ideas.”

The top five ideas include:

  • Reducing Subscriptions: A GSA employee noted that GSA can save money by reducing newspaper and magazine subscriptions and choosing online versions when possible. As a result, the GSA can save up to $630,000 agency-wide.
  • Eliminating Redundant Surveys: Three suggestions submitted urged the agency to retire a costly and redundant employee survey.  Turns out that survey costs $1 million annually and virtually all of its questions are addressed in the Office of Personnel Management Employee Viewpoint Survey. GSA eliminated this duplicative survey.
  • Creating Web-based Surveys: Four GSA employees submitted an idea to replace the paper-based Public Buildings Service Tenant Satisfaction Survey with a Web-based solution.  PBS is making this change immediately; saving about $1.2 million annually.
  • Expanding PrintWise Policy: Two suggestions noted that setting the default printing settings to ‘double-sided’ will save money on paper and reduce GSA’s impact on the environment. As a result, GSA could realize savings of $2.7 million.
  • Implementing External Great Ideas: Three employees suggested the agency create an external website to allow federal partners and vendors to share  ideas and feedback on how GSA can better manage our offerings.

For Tangherlini, the Great Ideas Hunt represented a step in the right direction—demonstrating the power of technology to encourage collaboration and collective thinking.

“That’s the question,” said Tangherlini. “Can we find ways to take this technology and use it to overcome those barriers so that we can begin to share, so that we can begin to create, so that we can begin to innovate, so that we can address those critical issues.”

Are there ways you can share cost saving ideas within your agency? 

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.