The studies on the newer more privatized American military always leave my head spinning because it is so hard to figure out if the government is getting the best prices for goods and services that meet its specialized needs.
Headlines often pick out items like expensive toilet seats and hammers to show the flaws in government procurement systems.
For this story it is ice cube trays:
• $20 ice cube trays that sold for 85 cents elsewhere
• $81 coffee makers listed elsewhere at $29
• $43 coffee filter packs that typically sell for $11
These prices are defended in the same article
Defenders of the prime vendor program highlight its speed. Fast deliveries eliminate the need for stocking and warehousing, shifting those costs to manufacturers and vendors. The Defense Logistics Agency borrowed these cost-saving strategies from the private sector, which successfully experimented with the consolidation of supply chains in the 1980s.
Critics also attack the process as inefficient:
Another manufacturer who formerly sold directly to the government but now sells to a prime vendor said the prime vendor’s price inflation is blatant and unwarranted.
“I resent it as a taxpayer,” said the firm’s chief executive officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of losing business. “Before, we’d sell it to (the Defense Department) for a hell of a lot less money. I don’t make money on it. (The prime vendor) is making money hand over fist.”
Read through this article
and surf the web or your own personal knowledge and chime in on this debate.
The question for debate is:
As best you can tell from the available information, is the prime-vendor system good or bad for the American taxpayer?