Air Force

July 12, 2012

Government purchase card: Unsung heroes in the supply chain

Mr. Brian Fritts
355th Contracting Squadron, Plans and Programs Flight

Do you ever wonder how you receive the supplies, services, training and equipment that you use on a daily basis? Most Airmen never give it much thought. They just know when they have a requirement, it gets ordered and delivered.

Normally, a warranted contracting officer is the only individual that has the authority to enter into a contract and obligate the government. However, many duly trained and appointed Airmen and Air Force civilians order commercial supplies and services over the phone or on-line and pay for the goods with a government purchase card. Throughout D-M, more than 400 uniformed and civilian personnel have purchase cards. In fiscal year 2011, D-M cardholders made more than 32,000 transactions valued at $26 million. Some of these purchases were for items such as office supplies, minor construction to include electrical work to services for commercial-off-the-shelf information technology training, and maintenance on low speed vehicles.

Purchase cards were initially developed by the federal government as a way to reduce the cost of buying goods and services and to reduce the footprint of warehousing. In the “old” days, a person was required to complete a purchase request which was submitted through base supply. The request was routed through many layers of approvals and eventually landed on the desk of a supply specialist if the items were available through supply. If not, it was then forwarded to the contracting squadron and was assigned to a contracting professional. At that time, the procurement portion of the process would begin. Obviously, this entire process was time consuming and expensive.

The GPC changed all of that. Now, the contracting squadron can delegate procurement authority, up to $25,000, to individuals in all units throughout the base. These individuals will receive the requirements from within their own organization, conduct market research, receive estimates from vendors, and then purchase the items in a similar fashion as they would in their personal life.

However, there are some restrictions on a cardholder’s purchasing ability. Spending is limited to $2,000 for construction, $2,500 for services, and $3,000 for commodities. The limit can be increased to $25,000 if they are making a purchase from pre-existing government contracts, for example, Air Force Advantage, blanket purchase agreements, and General Services Administration schedules.

In order to protect the integrity of the system, the 355th Contracting Squadron manages a robust surveillance program. The program has a multi-layer checks and balance system, to include the contracting office, card holder supervisors, and commanders. Additionally, the Department of Defense has implemented an automatic data mining system called Purchase Card On-Line System. The system flags purchases that are deemed “high risk” or out of the ordinary for immediate validation. Finally, the contracting squadron GPC team conducts annual surveillances of all GPC accounts to review cardholder files and individual purchase transactions.

Cardholders take on a lot of responsibility and are held accountable for all of the purchases they make, which means they are subject to adverse disciplinary action for misuse of the GPC. The GPC is not like a personal credit card where purchases can be made from any commercial vendor and any amount can be spent. Purchases are made in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations and Air Force instructions.

There is no rank requirement for cardholders. Cardholders range from Airmen, civilian, and officers, but not everyone can be a cardholder. Cardholders must have the highest ethical standards and professionalism. They must be selected and appointed by their commander, based on their ability to manage such responsibility.

As the end of the fiscal year approaches, our needs for faster procurements increase. This is when D-M cardholders are most needed. Historically, 35 percent of all purchase card transactions occur in the last two months of the fiscal year. While everyone is enjoying the last days of summer, contracting and government purchase cardholders are feverishly working to ensure that D-M has all of the required services and supplies to meet the mission of the Desert Lightning Team.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski)

Grappling, pummeling, trapping: 162nd Airmen learn to ‘close with the enemy’

MARANA, Ariz. – The words on the gym wall summed it up best for 13 security forces specialists who trained at the Western Army National Guard Aviation Training Site here March 17-21. “The defining characteristic of a ...
 
 

Air Force launches new program to capture innovative ideas

WASHINGTON (AFNS) – Air Force officials announced the creation of a new program April 4, designed to harness Airmen’s innovation. Airmen Powered by Innovation, or API, will replace three existing Air Force “good idea” programs – the Innovative Development through Employee Awareness, Productivity Enhancing Capital Investment, and Best Practices programs – and expand the role o...
 
 

AF opens additional TERA, VSP windows

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) – The Air Force will open two new fiscal year 2014 force management temporary early retirement authority application windows, and a new voluntary separation pay application window, Air Force Personnel Center officials said April 14. Commonly referred to as the 15-year retirement, TERA eligibility will be based on the updated...
 

 

The emotionless leader: Trusted and respected by Airmen

LAJES FIELD, Azores (AFNS) – “I don’t want to hurt her career.” “He’s the best NCO I’ve got. I don’t want to see him lose a stripe.” How many times have you heard someone in a leadership position make statements such as these when contemplating disciplinary actions when an Airman or NCO makes a terrible decision?...
 
 

AF updates officer, enlisted voluntary force management eligibility lists

Select Airmen in specific categories who were not formerly eligible for fiscal year 2014 force management voluntary separation are now being offered voluntary separation. These individuals will not be subject to involuntary programs in fiscal 2014. Officers from 33 Air Force specialty codes by year group and enlisted Airmen from seven AFSCs by grade are...
 
 
USAFBlue

USAFA Wings of Blue

Each year, the Wings of Blue Demonstration Team performs at more than 50 special events in front of over 2 million spectators. Demonstration venues include airshows, NFL and College football games, and special events across the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin