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S ec t i on I : I n t roduc t i on
Transportation Management in the Federal Government
| Best Practices Report: 2012
Section I:
On the surface, the U.S. federal government appears to be the largest
shipper in the world. However, in reality it’s a loosely banded group
of agencies with widely varying levels of freight volume, supply chain
sophistication, skill sets, and strategic focus on transportation.
Individually, these groups operate in a unique—sometimes antiquated—
environment creating an undue burden on carriers and other logistics
providers, limiting their pool of potential partners.
There are many opportunities for federal agencies to improve on their
transportation management practices and ultimately recognize cost
savings. What might be more interesting is the huge opportunity for
cost savings that could be achieved through optimization of operations
across this multitude of agencies, but only if they are capable of pooling
their resources and available structures in a community fashion instead
of on an individual basis.
According to the General Services Administration’s Transportation Policy
Program Fact Sheet, federal government agencies spent approximately
$50 billion on transportation services in 2011. This figure includes
spending for the Department of Defense (roughly $25 billion annually)
along with a myriad of civil agencies that make up the federal government
sector. In 2010 the GSA commissioned a Governmentwide Transporta-
tion Management Study (produced by PRTM which was acquired by
PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Inc. in 2011) that suggests federal agency
spending on transportation often exceeds the budgeted amounts twofold.
Other Agencies
F I G U R E 1 :
Outbound Transportation Spending in 2011
Source: Office of Government-wide Policy, Office of Asset and Transportation Management, Transportation Policy Program.
Object Class 22, Transportation of Things, in Billions of Dollars