Federal Prison Industries:

Delivery Performance Is Improving But Problems Remain

GGD-98-118: Published: Jun 30, 1998. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) developed and assessed statistics on Federal Prison Industries' (FPI) delivery performance; and (2) obtained the views of selected customer agencies' procurement officials on FPI delivery practices.

GAO noted that: (1) FPI delivery performance is improving; (2) 8 of the 12 months in fiscal year (FY) 1997 had better on-time delivery performance than the same months in FY 1996; (3) however, FPI fell short of meeting its on-time delivery goal of 90 percent in FY 1997; (4) there was a wide variation in FPI performance by customer agency and some variation by product category; (5) the results of GAO's analysis and FPI's own timeliness evaluations should be viewed with two caveats in mind; (6) they both likely overstate timeliness because they did not account for shipping time for orders with due dates specified as the day the order should arrive at its destination; (7) GAO and FPI's timeliness evaluations considered all shipments to be on-time if FPI data showed that they left the factory on or before the due date; (8) accounting for shipping time for orders with destination due dates would have improved the accuracy of the timeliness evaluations and provided a better picture of performance; (9) its review of 109 randomly selected orders showed that over one-half of them had due dates in FPI's system that were later than what customers had originally requested; (10) because of limited documentation, GAO could not always determine the reasons due dates were different, including whether FPI had not accepted them, or whether customers were notified of the reasons for changes and approved of the revised due dates; (11) although the results of these 109 orders were not projectable to the universe of FPI orders, they raised questions about which due dates should be used to measure timeliness, especially from the customer's perspective; (12) just as GAO's analysis by customer agency showed wide variation in FPI delivery performance, customer agency officials within the Defense Logistics Agency, the Federal Supply Service, Social Security Administration, and Department of Veterans Affairs had mixed views on FPI's delivery performance, despite FPI's goal to promote total customer satisfaction; (13) although GAO sought the views of only selected customers, several key procurement officials within these agencies were clearly dissatisfied with FPI's delivery performance and practices; (14) FPI does not develop delivery performance data by customer agency; and (15) without these data, FPI was not in a good position to easily detect individual agencies' problems with its performance and to improve overall customer relations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: BOP has not completed its action in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: In light of the concerns raised in this report by some of the top officials from FPI's major buying agencies and in light of FPI's stated broad commitment to total customer satisfaction, the Director, BOP, should direct FPI officials to contact these key customers to begin the process of resolving problems and improving relations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: BOP has completed its action in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: In order for FPI to have a more accurate and reliable measure of timeliness for use in evaluating its delivery performance, the Director, BOP, should direct FPI's Chief Operating Officer to appropriately consider due date revisions and whether customers approved of them in evaluating timeliness.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: BOP has completed its action in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: In order for FPI to have a more accurate and reliable measure of timeliness for use in evaluating its delivery performance, the Director, BOP, should direct FPI's Chief Operating Officer to develop and implement an approach for documenting the reasons for due date revisions, whether customers were notified of the reasons for changes, and whether customers approved of revised due dates.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: BOP has completed its action in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: In order for FPI to have a more accurate and reliable measure of timeliness for use in evaluating its delivery performance, the Director, Bureau of Prisons (BOP), should direct FPI's Chief Operating Officer to identify orders with destination due dates and account for shipping time for these orders when evaluating delivery performance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: BOP has not completed its action in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Director, BOP, should direct FPI's Chief Operating Officer to begin evaluating and monitoring delivery performance by customer agency to develop data to use in its efforts to achieve greater customer satisfaction.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons

 

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