Quicker and Cheaper

Even for an expert like Bill Saucier, the top buyer for the Southeast Region of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, buying computers is a frustrating business. The acceptable procedure is: complete a requisition form AD-700 as well as an APHIS Technical Approval form (APHIS 51) and forward at least three copies to the Technical Staff in Hyattsville, Maryland.

They spend the next 30 days deciding whether Saucier has ordered the appropriate piece of equipment and provided proper justification. Then the order goes to the Information Systems Communications Division for evaluation and approval; that takes another 30 days. After approval, it is sent to the contracting section for final processing. In another 30 days, the equipment is finally shipped to Saucier.

During a recent busy period at the Tampa office, the inspection team's computers were stolen. A shipment of fresh flowers was wilting while waiting for inspection. Saucier, in his desire to serve the customer first, decided to go out on a limb to get the equipment. He called local stores and got the best price and immediate delivery. Not only were the inspectors quickly back in business, but each computer was $2,200 cheaper than it would have been through the red tape process.

Civil servants like Saucier can make government work better and cost less.

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