VI. Barriers to Competition in FY12

The Postal Service contracts with over 21,000 suppliers to provide a broad range of goods and services necessary to support our large retail infrastructure of over 32,000 facilities. Given the nature, size, and scale of our business, many of the products and services that we source are unique and custom designed to support our business needs, including mail processing equipment, IT hardware and software, and transportation services. Some of the key barriers to competition during FY12 within the Postal Service were the following:

  • Size and Scale of Postal Service Infrastructure: Given the size and scale of the Postal Services operations, most of our IT solutions and mail processing equipment are customized and designed specifically to meet our business requirements. Competition of related requirements can be cost prohibitive and contrary to commercial business practices which would be to extend the maintenance and support on the system with the initial supplier until the system no longer meets the needs of the business.
  • Lack of Communication and Advanced Planning: Instances occurred where the requiring organization did not communicate with the CO early in the sourcing process to jointly evaluate the marketplace and make a preliminary sourcing decision. They independently executed their own market research, and then developed and submitted the NPR to the CO with limited time before the business need to conduct competition.
  • Sole Source: Some of our software, equipment, or parts for the equipment are only provided by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or sub-contractor who worked on the project during initial implementation. OEM suppliers hold patents, license, or proprietary rights that prohibit us from using other suppliers. Extensive and costly reverse-engineering would be required to introduce competition in these instances. Reverse engineering also requires specially trained and skilled engineering and contracting resources to execute efficiently.
  • Delays in Executing Competition or Implementation: In a few instances, noncompetitive requests were needed when delays occurred during the competitive process or during implementation of the new contract, thus making it necessary to noncompetitively extend an existing contract until the new competitive contract was established and the transition completed.