V. SM Strategies, Tools, and Programs Used to Promote Competition in FY2014

The Postal Service devoted a significant amount of effort and resources throughout the year to increase competitive opportunities. In FY2014, the Postal Service continued to focus on promoting competition to obtain best value in the contracting process by executing the following strategies, tools and programs:

Competition Advocate Internal Webpage

The Competition webpage helps to educate employees on the benefits of competition. The webpage includes guidance and information about the benefits of competition, training materials, and forms.

Report of Significant Expiring Contracts

The CA issues a quarterly report of expiring contracts to all USPS vice presidents. The report identifies all significant contracting actions that will be expiring in the next nine months. The report was developed to increase the visibility of the non-competitive actions among the Postal Service executives, improve the purchase planning process, and reduce the number of non-competitive contracts that were issued due to lack of planning. The report facilities a process whereby the COs connect with their internal business partner and document planned contracting actions for each of the expiring contact actions listed on the report.

Simplified Purchasing

The simplified purchasing process is a streamlined competitive purchasing process used to purchase commercially available goods and services valued at $10K to $250K. Simplified purchasing helps promote competition for small buys and can (a) reduce administrative costs, (b) promote efficiency and economy in contracting, and (c) lessen unnecessary burdens on both the Postal Service and its suppliers.

Supplier Communications and Supplier Webpage

SM communicated with its suppliers through multiple channels including: Supplier webpage on usps.com, Re: Supply newsletter, supplier email list, supplier conferences, and supplier outreach programs. SM developed a robust supplier webpage that provides suppliers with information on “How to Do Business with USPS” and register to become a new supplier. These communication vehicles help promote a clearer understanding within the supplier community of the needs of the Postal Service and promote competition and supplier diversity by identifying the process for suppliers to register to become a new supplier via USPS eSourcing supplier registration tool.

Competition Advocate Communications

The CA promoted competition through the following communications:

  1. Developed briefings and training materials that were shared with SM employees and all new officers to help promote competition.
  2. Reviewed NPRs and made recommendations to issue short-term extensions for contracts when lack of planning or emergency buys were indicated as justification in the NPR.
  3. Conducted one-on-one communication with COs to help develop competitive sourcing strategies.
  4. Conducted meetings with requiring organizations to discuss the role of the CA, to promote early involvement of the SM organization in sourcing decisions, and to incorporate competition as a sourcing strategy when appropriate.
  5. Conducted meetings with suppliers to discuss the role of the CA and to encourage them to register their interest in doing business with the Postal Service via eSourcing.

Supplier Outreach

Supplier outreach is the cornerstone of our commitment to supplier diversity and is the primary vehicle to increase the pool of suppliers for the Postal Service. Last year, the SM organization participated in 30 outreach activities sponsored by industry, congressional, and federal advocacy groups allowing the Postal Service to reach a broad and diverse audience of over 27,000. These outreach activities consisted of match-maker sessions, supplier forums, panel discussions, exhibits, business exchanges, and workshops all focused on sharing information about USPS purchasing and buying activities and increasing USPS’ understanding of supplier capabilities in the marketplace.

Throughout the year, SM professionals also participate in one-on-one capability briefings that provide potential suppliers information on how to navigate the postal marketplace and USPS points of contact that provide details on commodity-specific contracting. SM liaisons also provide technical advice, program guidance, and policy interpretation on the USPS Corporate Supplier Diversity Plan. The USPS website has a supplier portal that includes virtually everything a prospective supplier or an existing supplier needs to know about doing business with the Postal Service — from registering the company to licensing agreements.

USPS maintains membership in several supplier diversity and development organizations (with a combined total of over 40,000 members) to promote and augment USPS strategies and tools to promote competition. SM professionals use a series of sourcing processes to capture supply data and knowledge to build a dynamic supplier base. They continuously assess the marketplace for drivers of market segments, industry trends, and impact of new technology, competitive dynamics, and supplier characteristics to identify suppliers that meet our national or regional demands.

All of these engagement activities have allowed Supply Management to receive the following noteworthy recognition in FY14:

  1. The Top Government Agency for Multicultural Business Opportunities — DiversityBusiness.com.
  2. Featured article on USPS Supplier Diversity — SAVOY Magazine.
  3. Chair of OSDBU Interagency Collaboration Committee.
  4. National Minority Supplier Development Council — Public Sector Organization.
  5. Chair of Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council’s Procurement Committee.

eSourcing – Supplier Registration Tool

The Postal Service uses an electronic sourcing solution to enhance and streamline the competitive sourcing practices. eSourcing is a COTS software solution that supports electronic supplier registration, requests for information, requests for proposal, requests for quotes, reverse auctions, and combinatorial optimization events.

In FY2014, we had over 13,000 suppliers registered in eSourcing and were eligible to be invited to bid on competitive solicitations. Suppliers were encouraged to register through the Re: Supply newsletter, CO communications, FedBizOps, and supplier outreach events.

The eSourcing tool promotes competition and helps the Postal Service and suppliers streamline the competitive sourcing process by combining the proposal submittal and evaluation process into one solution. This significantly reduces the time between activities that are often seen in the traditional paper-based proposal process.

Category Sourcing Strategy Plans (CSSP)

Supply Management Portfolio teams developed CSSPs for commodities that represent 80% of total spend under contract. The CSSP process is used to identify the market trends, analyze category spend, determine the extent of competition and supplier diversity within the supply base, and evaluate future business needs. This results in the development of best-value sourcing strategies. CSSPs are updated each year, shared with internal business partners, and reviewed by SM managers to help promote competition, improve project planning, and optimize the supplier base.

Electronic Catalogs and National Contracts

The Postal Service implemented national contracts to streamline repetitive buys for products that are used across the organization. Products offered on national contracts are made available to employees as catalogs using the eBuy2 system. We have implemented over 92 electronic catalogs to streamline the sourcing process. In FY14, we processed over 2.2 million requisitions through the eBuy2 system. Contracts are generally competed and issued to one or more suppliers. In those circumstances where more than one supplier is on catalog, competition occurs not only at the initial contract award, but through ongoing competition throughout the contract lifecycle. The eBuy2 system allows purchasers to compare similar items from different suppliers to make the best value decision. Catalog suppliers are permitted to reduce their prices throughout the contract term. This produces ongoing competition amongst the suppliers beyond the initial contract award.

SM/CFO Monthly Reports

SM has developed a set of centralized and standardized dashboard reports. The dashboard reports are updated weekly and report contracting performance and metrics against SM goals. Monthly SM/CFO contract and spend reports are produced that provide management visibility to the past and future sourcing actions underway within the organization. The report contains multiple sub-reports related to spending trends: spend with top suppliers; contracting actions for the month; significant long-term contracts; and future sourcing actions in the pipeline with preliminary sourcing plans. These reports help raise the visibility of current and future sourcing actions and initiate earlier dialog on how to improve competition and achieve best value.