'Hunt' for cost-cutting ideas at GSA nets $5M in savings

Thursday - 8/23/2012, 3:27pm EDT

Since the revelations of wasteful spending at a 2010 regional conference roiled through the General Services Administration, the agency has worked to root out inefficiencies in spending.

Now, GSA employees have also had their say on how the agency can trim unnecessary costs.

The agency announced it will implement five cost-saving ideas generated by GSA employees that will save the agency more than $5.53 million.

"When we began our top-to-bottom review of the entire agency, we wanted to look for ways to engage employees in a meaningful way about how to improve the agency and make it more efficient," Dan Tangherlini, acting GSA administrator, said in a release.

The cost-saving ideas include:

  • Reduce the number of newspaper and magazine subscriptions or opting for online versions.
    Savings: $630,000.

  • Phase out a redundant employee survey. Almost all of the questions are already addressed in the Office of Personnel Management's Employee Viewpoint Survey, which doesn't cost GSA anything to administer.
    Savings: $1 million annually.

  • Replace a paper-based survey given to tenants of GSA's Public Buildings Service (PBS) with a Web version.
    Savings: $1.2 million annually.

  • As part of the agency's PrintWise policy, GSA will begin changing the default settings on agency printers to double-sided.
    Savings: $2.7 million.

  • Allow contractors and other federal partners to share cost-savings ideas via an external website.

GSA launched the "Great Ideas Hunt" in late May. Employees from around the country submitted more than 630 responses, according to the agency. GSA is now in the process if implementing the five most popular ideas as voted on by agency staff.

GSA is also reviewing 40 additional ideas submitted by employees and plans to implement some of them.

The "idea hunt" is similar to the annual SAVE Awards, which the White House kicked off last month.

The contest, which stands for Securing Americans Value and Efficiency, first launched three years ago. It seeks cost-savings ideas from federal employees across the government.

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