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NEWS | Oct. 7, 2015

GPC, Efficiencies and You

By Alex Gross 628th Contracting Squadron

You may not know what GPC is but, believe it or not, it has greatly impacted you and your unit's mission.  It would be farfetched to believe any of us could do our jobs without something that was purchased using GPC.  So what is GPC?  GPC stands for the Government Purchase Card.  It's a Visa card used by members within an organization to procure the many office supplies, odds and ends and smaller dollar value items you and I use each and every day.  Maybe you're using a red pencil to sign off aircraft forms, using fitness equipment at the gym or the sitting in a comfortable office chair.  All of these items were likely purchased using a GPC.  Cardholders can quickly and efficiently obtain needed items up to $3500 (and sometimes $20,000) via a streamlined process.  Last year there were over 22,000 swipes of a GPC card totaling nearly $18 million. That's an average of $818 per swipe!

Imagine having to submit a purchase request each and every time you needed the same items currently purchased through GPC.  That would be extremely inefficient, right?  Guess what? That's exactly how it used to be.  In 1988, the 437th Contracting Squadron (now the 628the Contracting Squadron) spent $190 million dollars and filled over 200,000 purchase orders.  Somewhere along the way, somebody said something to the tune of, "This is absurd!"    The result has evolved into the GPC program used today. 

The point here is that each of us has seen opportunities for improvements or areas that could be more efficient.  In this case, the entire government was positively impacted.  How many people do you think thought the same thing about having to put in so many purchase orders but took no action?  Look around your area and at your processes.  Do you see areas of improvements or opportunities for efficiency gains?  They may not be to the same level as the GPC program but they are there just the same. 

Given the current fiscal constraints and potential future shortfalls, we will all be forced to identify efficiencies in order to keep the mission moving forward.  The question is, "Will you be one of the people identifying and implementing those changes?"