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Federal Eye
Posted at 02:58 PM ET, 08/22/2012

GSA implements savings ideas from employees

The General Services Administration will implement five employee-pitched ideas that the agency expects will save it $5.5 million per year.

In late May, GSA launched the Great Ideas Hunt, which solicited ideas from agency employees across the country. It ended July 6 with 632 ideas from 500 employees. The ideas were voted on by agency employees.

John Marrone, a supply management specialist for the Federal Acquisition Service in New York, suggested GSA review its existing newspaper and magazine subscriptions and cancel subscriptions addressed to departed employees. The agency expects to save $630,000 annually with that idea.

Three employees suggested GSA replacing its current paper-based tenant satisfaction survey and replace it with a Web system, which would save $1.2 million per year.

“We want to better tailor the survey questions to make them more meaningful for our tenants,” said Jeffrey Sussman, a project manager with the Public Buildings Service. The current form, asks how GSA is managing federal buildings. Sussman said the form is generic and does not address some concerns federal tenants may have with their buildings.

The Public Buildings Service oversees 370.2 million square feet of federal workspace.

The agency will also replace its current employee survey, created by an outside firm that costs $1 million per year. GSA will use a similar survey created by the Office of Personnel Management for free. Three employees suggested that idea.

GSA will also set its printers to print double-sided by default. The idea was suggested by two employees, Jennifer Roth, who works for the Pacific Rim region, and Goran Simic, an electrical engineer based in Chicago. Double-sided printing will save the GSA $2.7 million, said Mafara Hobson, GSA’s press secretary. The printing idea will be implemented government-wide, Hobson said.

The agency is also looking at implementing 40 other ideas generated through the idea hunt.

Sussman, who enjoys building Excel databases in his spare time, has built a model to calculate the cleaning costs of federal buildings based on square footage. The model has been implemented in Region 2, which covers the northeast and the Caribbean. Other regions have to walk the spaces and measure them or pull spatial information from blueprints, Sussman said. Sussman was also one of the four employees that suggested replacing the current employee survey. Sussman said Region 2 has saved $4 million per year since implementing the tool.

“We wanted to send a strong message that everyone in GSA is responsible for and plays a critical role in reforming and improving the agency,” said Acting Administrator Daniel Tangherlini.

Marrone said GSA leadership has been more receptive to employee ideas lately.

“It’s one thing to say, put your ideas out there. It appears that they actually listen,” Marrone said. “It’s very gratifying somebody is out there listening.”

The agency will launch a public Web site for people to suggest more ideas. That was also an idea pitched by three employees.

By Timothy R. Smith  |  02:58 PM ET, 08/22/2012

Tags:  GSA

 
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