Sourcing Considerations

The Postal Service™ uses a series of sourcing processes to capture supply data and knowledge in order to build a dynamic supplier base, ensuring continuous improvement of the entire supply chain.

A thorough understanding of the external supplier environment and internal business partner requirements is the foundation of strategy development.  Purchase/SCM teams apply supply chain management business practices to both strategic sourcing and individual purchases, as well as examine demand trends, the marketplace, and the supplier community to determine how to achieve best value.

Market Surveillance — We regularly assess drivers of market segments, industry trends, impact of new technology, competitive dynamics, supplier characteristics, and suppliers (national or regional) in a market.

When appropriate, the Postal Service…

  • Uses the latest in print and electronic resources (eg, industry reports, supply periodicals, databases) to identify leading suppliers in an industry.
  • Obtains data and analyses on the structure of the industry, supply value chain and economics, and total cost of ownership (TCO) of items and services.
  • Analyzes the sourcing history of a product or service. The level of competition, prices, and performance results of existing suppliers are used to determine if a new supplier would better meet Postal Service needs.
  • Attends and hosts industry briefings to identify potential suppliers.
  • Evaluates products that appear to be the same across suppliers (beyond branding) to determine real differences in the product or services and identify suppliers with a competitive advantage.
  • Obtains source lists of proven suppliers from trade and industry associations, government agencies, business development groups, and purchasing organizations.

Publicizing Opportunities — When doing so will enhance competition, we will announce potential business opportunities in the most appropriate and effective media to identify new supply sources to ensure the Postal Service receives the best value.

When appropriate, the Postal Service…

  • Issues Requests for Information (RFI) to obtain general information on the market trends, products, services, and suppliers.
  • Issues presolicitation notices (also called “Sources Sought” notices) to identify suppliers based on the business and competitive needs of the Postal Service.
  • Publicizes opportunities for suppliers to be prequalified for commercially available goods or services purchased routinely, whether for an individual purchase or for a series of purchases.
  • Announces competitive or noncompetitive contract awards having significant subcontracting opportunities to promote competition in subcontracting.

Purchase Card Buys — Purchase card policies support local business communities and encourage economic development. When operational needs cannot be satisfied through eBuy--the Postal Service online tool for ordering goods and services or other electronic ordering systems--area contracts and ordering agreements, which generally represent our lowest total cost of acquiring equipment, supplies, and services, the purchase card serves as the primary means of buying and paying. Cardholders are encouraged to seek out and use SMWOBs when making credit card buys to meet their day-to-day operational needs.

Cardholders must attempt to obtain the best value for the Postal Service on each purchase by evaluating the price, quality, and other factors necessary to meet the need. Best value is the objective of every Postal Service supplying activity and the basis for award of Postal Service contracts.