For the Texas state government financial professional from Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
CCG leads with efficient, cost-effective state government solutions
New print procurement process for state printing goes live
These days, Texas state agencies are working furiously to find ways to do more with less. Efficiency and cost-effectiveness aren’t just general buzzwords of prudent state government spending anymore — they are top principles that shape the way forward in today’s challenging economic climate.
Innovative projects are being undertaken across Texas state government to eliminate inefficiency and unnecessary costs. A great example is the recent creation of a new print procurement process for state printing, courtesy of the
Texas Council on Competitive Government (CCG).
Created by the 73rd Legislature in 1993 and housed within the Comptroller's office, CCG was created in response to a growing interest in making government more efficient, cost-effective and competitive. CCG has had today's top principles, efficiency and cost-effectiveness, front-and-center for the past 17 years.
And then there were seven
CCG's very first action back in 1993 was related to state printing — a review of state print services that led to the consolidation of 33 state agency print shops into nine shops. The shops have further consolidated over time, leading to the five agency shops in existence today:
- Texas Department of Public Safety
- Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)
- Health & Human Services Commission
- Texas Workforce Commission
- University of Texas (UT)
In addition to the five state print shops that provide state agencies with a full range of print services, Texas Correctional Industries (TCI) housed within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has two printing facilities eligible to receive bid requests for state printing jobs.
Today, these seven shops produce more annual output (1.3 billion impressions) at less than half the cost ($11.6 million) and with less than half the staff of the original 33 shops.
State printing 2.0
Which brings us to the CCG project all state agency staff should know about. In May 2010, CCG in coordination with the state print shops, TCI and the Texas Procurement and Support Services (TPASS) Division within the Comptroller's office, rolled out a new procurement process for state printing.
It substantially streamlines and improves the state printing process for agencies through the deployment of a universal online print shop job request form, enabling agencies to submit a job request once and receive bid responses from all seven state and TCI print shops. Additionally, CCG has established overarching contracts with each print shop that eliminate the need for agencies to enter into individual interagency agreement contracts (IACs) with the print shops.
Too many IACs in the kitchen
Previously, each state print shop operated as a separate entity. Each had unique bid forms and different methods of communicating with agency customers. And each agency had to set up its own contract with a print shop, one IAC per shop.
“Literally hundreds of IACs were being set up annually,” says CCG Business Analyst Derrek Davis, one of only four who make up CCG’s dedicated staff.
Director of CCG Dustin Lanier elaborates, “Once the customer agency set up an IAC with one or two shops, they never talked to the rest of the shops. It was a hassle for an agency to set up new IACs, so they usually stayed with the one or two with which they were initially set up and directed all business to them.”
The idea of a managed bid process whereby several businesses use a single point of contact to offer bids to clients may sound familiar. For Lanier, that idea had a very familiar ring.
“During the time we at CCG were conducting our print shop review, I was personally using LendingTree,” Lanier says. “They employ the innovative business model where you declare your intention to refinance and several banks respond with bids, with their company acting as intermediary. I'm pushing this bid opportunity to six or seven banks rather than being subject to one bank–one price, with the banks responding to me rather than the other way around.”
“We decided to leverage this model to rebuild our procurement process for print requests, using it as a driving model for a print shop system, instead of just a bunch of print shops. By pushing out this single bid request to multiple sources, agencies receive the benefit of competitive bids.”
With the new bid process, the print shops also gain a more balanced workflow among themselves. Previously, the TCI shops were not getting a lot of visibility in the market and were receiving a relatively small share of the work up for bid. With the new system, the TCI shops can potentially see all the work that’s up for bid. This makes everybody more competitive.
A new process for a new year
It is important to note that agencies and institutions are not being compelled by CCG to cancel their current IACs with print shops.
Davis explains, “If that relationship between the print shop and agency is active, it may of course continue. In any case, at fiscal year-end (Aug. 31) when contracts need to be renewed, agencies will be directed to the new online print shop job request form and begin the new fiscal year (Sept. 1) using this new process.”
It’s a no-brainer... now
A streamlined one-stop process for state customers seeking best value and high quality print shop services — it just makes sense and fits snugly with today's frontline state agency priorities: efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Lanier says, “I think one of the things about this process that tells us we did a good thing is when we got to the end of it, people said: ‘Oh yeah, that’s obviously how it should work.’ Though this process seems so obvious and easy now, it didn’t start out that way at all. Once we sat down to rethink the old process and figured out how we were going to move forward, it wasn’t until we heard ‘That makes sense!’ from the print shops that we knew we’d done it pretty well.”