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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
All of these figures are well documented by the federal government and
other experts. The point this results in a tremendous savings opportunity
for federal agencies and ultimately the taxpayers who fund them. However,
like any massive optimization opportunity, this is easier said than done.
The federal government has the capacity to mandate practices, such as
auditing which this report will explore more in depth. It’s not realistic to
suggest the government sector can integrate transportation management
(TM) efforts overnight, or at all. Rather this report will argue that agencies
should work together when they have similar strategies, requirements,
networks, costs, freight volumes, and other characteristics. This would
allow them to form clusters which benefit from established operations
practices, uniform software platforms, and a single face to the transporta-
tion market for the purposes of procuring transportation services and rates.
By clustering, agencies reap the benefits from systems that are designed for
the size and scope of their operations, without losing a focus on the unique
requirements of their individual charters and mission statements.
This report will focus first on the federal government’s managed
outbound freight programs. Currently much of the inbound freight isn’t
managed because the agencies generally lack the systems and processes to
adequately oversee this piece of the TM function. The report will further
suggest that through more effective and efficient management of
outbound freight, the government sector can then take a systematic
approach to inbound management.
It is important to note that this report will not explore transportation
management conducted by the Department of Defense (DOD) or any
sub-departments or agencies there within. Compared to the majority
of the federal government, DOD has a comparatively effective approach
to managing transportation both at home and abroad. Several experts
who participated in this study feel the DOD is potentially five to 10 years
ahead of the rest of the government. Accordingly, many recommendations
suitable to DOD would not be practical for these agencies.
As agency issues and resolutions are reviewed, the central theme for
improvement will come from the auditing requirements for freight
shipments, because they are one of very few traits that are universal
across all agencies. According to the GSA:
Each agency must ensure that its internal transportation audit procedures
prevent duplicate payments and only allow payments for authorized
services, and that the Transportation Service Provider’s (TSP) bill is
complete with required documentation (FMR 102-118.10). Agencies
must conduct pre-payment audits (FMR 102-118.270) and participate
in GSA post-payment audits (FMR 102-118.415).