You don’t hear much lately about the paperless office. Since the advent of office computers, paper consumption has gone up exponentially. Even today, many federal agencies archive their email not according to administration requirements under M-12-18 but instead by printing them out and storing the paper.
I googled images of Google’s offices. Sure enough, in the ultimate online information company, paper piles lie everywhere.
Think about pencils. Zillions of them are made every year throughout the world. Even though you rarely see someone actually using a yellow pencil (I use ’em), for about a dime apiece has anyone ever devised a more economical and effective integrated communications device?
No wonder the government spends more than $600 million a year on office supplies using General Services Administration contracts. That’s about 0.15 percent of total government contract spending. Big enough to make office supplies worthy of a “strategic sourcing” effort by the White House and GSA. Or is it? As Jason Miller reports, strategic sourcing for office supplies has worked out about as well as an unplugged electric pencil sharpener. Given the number of people devoted to the problem of strategically buying office supplies, I’m guessing it amounts to a half million dollars in payroll.