An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers, and Their Partners--Pass It On
* USDA MAKES USING CREDIT CARDS EASIER, CHEAPER
* FEDERAL QUALITY INSTITUTE CONSULTANTS ARE AT NPR
* INNOVATIONS IN AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AWARDS
* NAVY TEAM SAVES A LOT AND WINS A HAMMER AWARD
* YOU CAN GET REINVENTION EXPRESS BY E-MAIL
USDA WILL MAKE USING COMMERCIAL CREDIT CARDS EVEN EASIER, CHEAPER
All over government, more and more federal offices are using commercial credit cards to cut red tape and speed up buying goods and services that cost under $2,500. Everybody loves credit cards--until it's time to reconcile the accounts at the end of the month. At that point, many card holders still face redundant reviews and unnecessary paperwork.
The Department of Agriculture is coming up with a solution to this problem. Secretary Dan Glickman announced on Oct. 26 that USDA is reengineering its purchase card system. "We are developing software to streamline account reconciliation," said W. R. Ashworth, Director of Administrative Modernization for the department. USDA's National Finance Center is developing the software that will be piloted by the Forest Service and Agricultural Research Service in the spring.
It's Not Small Change
The traditional paper-based purchase order, in addition to being slow and inefficient, costs about $77 per transaction. Credit card transactions cut costs to $32 each. USDA expects its reengineered process to reduce costs to $17 each. By the year 2000, the department expects to achieve $45 million in administrative efficiencies, which will assist in meeting the streamlining savings already identified in USDA's budget.
USDA is also working with the General Services Administration on a related pilot--the first such pilot in the federal government--that will allow card holders to write checks against a credit card account. "This is for checks to companies that are too small to offer credit card purchases," Ashworth said. "If this is successful, GSA can offer the service to other agencies."
For more information on USDA's credit card reforms, call Sue Poetz at (202) 720-5972.
QUALITY ON THE MOVE
Quality consultants from the Federal Quality Institute are now housed at the National Performance Review where they will work with federal agencies on NPR's stepped-up customer service campaign. They will also continue to serve as consultants and trainers to agencies on quality management. For information, contact Senior Quality Executive Steve Klink at (202) 632-0150, ext. 150
FEDERAL INNOVATORS WIN $680,000 AND A FLEET OF FORDS!
Vice President Gore presented Innovations in American Government awards to six federal programs and nine state and local government organizations at a gala dinner in Washington, D.C. on October 26. "Let's give them a cheer," the Vice President said. The competition is sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. It was the first year federal organizations could compete. Winners are recognized for model programs that reflect innovative approaches to meeting public needs.
Each winner takes home $100,000, which most said they would use to help spread word of their innovations. Four federal finalists received $20,000 each. Federal winners are:
* Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Its "Maine 200" program improves safety and health conditions in the workplace through employer initiatives and voluntary compliance in 200 companies. Maine 200 is going national.
* Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Its Early Warning Program uses sophisticated analyses to detect transactions that might jeopardize underfunded private pension plans.
* Defense Logistics Agency: Its Defense Personnel Support Center in Philadelphia connects consumers with suppliers of food, clothing and medicine using electronic ordering technology.
* Air Force Aerospace Guidance and Metrology Center: Its Ozone-Depleting Chemical Elimination Program replaces chemical solvents with a water-based cleaning system.
* Immigration and Naturalization Service: Its Operations Jobs project in Dallas discourages employment of illegal aliens and finds jobs for unemployed people who can legally work.
* Bureau of Reclamation: This 92-year-old dam-building agency transformed itself into a leading water resource management agency.
A REMINDER...NOMINATIONS FOR THE 1996 INNOVATIONS IN AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AWARD ARE DUE BY JAN. 10, 1996. FOR INFORMATION, CALL (617) 495-0558.
CROSS-CUTTING NAVY TEAM CUTS 12.5 TONS, 32 MONTHS, AND $274 MILLION ON SONAR PROJECT--AND GETS ONE HAMMER
A crackerjack Navy team, drawn from across many engineering disciplines and many organizations, streamlined procurement, cut development time, and saved big bucks in designing and building a new sonar system. For its achievements, the team won a Hammer Award.
The team relied on off-the-shelf equipment, applied non-military specifications, and used some equipment they already had on hand. If the Navy had designed the system the old way, it would have taken 5 years and cost $200 million. Instead, the team took 28 months and spent only $26 million from start up to the first integrated sea test. The new system will save an additional $100 million in support costs over its life. It also weighs 12.5 tons less, cuts training by 24 weeks, and reduces 38 shipboard technical manuals to six. For more information, call Captain Larry J. Carter, (703) 602-8070.
YOU CAN GET REINVENTION EXPRESS BY E-MAIL NOW
We normally fax Reinvention Express to government innovators and communicators, but now you can get it by e-mail. We won't take you off our fax list unless you tell us to. Send your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you'll fax or e-mail the Express to others.
For more information, contact Pat Wood or Steve Earle, National Performance Review, 750-17th St., NW, Washington, DC 20006, (202) 632-0150; FAX: (202) 632-0390; e-Mail: email@example.com.