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U.S. GPO quality level changes require careful attention 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Press release from the issuing company

CHAMBERSBURG, PA -- Without much fanfare, changes have been made to United States Government Printing Office (GPO) quality levels – the standards that GPO has established for printers in order for them to submit bids for federal government print work.  The descriptions of the four GPO quality levels have not changed:

 •    Level 1 – best quality, highest quality, tightest tolerances (examples:  art books, medical journals and meat grading charts) Onsite inspection is required for this level.
•    Level 2 – better quality, prestige quality, library quality (examples:  yearbooks, recruiting materials and illustrated professional papers)

•    Level 3 – good quality, above average quality (examples:  annual reports, general process color work, court decisions, budget reports, catalogs and textbooks)

•    Level 4 – basic quality, informational quality, utility quality (examples:  telephone directories, indexes, project reports and technical manuals without process color and with only occasional halftones)
What has changed is how materials are to be submitted to GPO by a printer attempting to upgrade or substantiate its quality rating, according to Deborah Snider, senior vice president of e-LYNXX Corporation, the largest government print management firm in the United States.  For all four levels, three samples instead of 10 must be submitted, but with each of the three samples more supporting documentation is required. Each of the three samples must include original media (electronic disk, camera copy, etc.)  --  a new requirement. As has been required in the past with each sample, a printer must submit a comprehensive list of equipment (presses, proofing systems, etc.), evaluation sample certification GPO form 2689, an approved proof (labeled with the system used to produce it), an approved press sheet (containing color bars and labeled with the equipment used to produce it), a minimum of three copies labeled with the date of production and a customer reference for each sample submitted including the name of the company and contact information.

For Level 1 and Level 2 review, proofs for each of the three samples must now be either a digital one-piece composite laminated halftone proof, a film based composite laminate proof (or press proof on the actual production stock) or an inkjet proof that is G7 profiled and uses pigment-based inks. (In fact some Level 2 solicitations now require proofs showing dot structure, while inkjet proofs are not considered. Printers that do not provide dot structure on proofs on these jobs can now be declared non-responsible by GPO.)

For Level 3 and Level 4, the changes are extensive. Basically, what had been Level 2 requirements have been applied to Levels 3 and 4 except that no specific types of proofing may be specified.

"If all of this seems confusing, fortunately there is help available," Snider said.  "The most active and successful GPO print suppliers partner with a government print management firm that is experienced in cost-effectively managing these complex requirements."  In addition to assisting with GPO quality levels, government print management experts receive all available GPO and other government solicitations, interpret job specifications, prepare proposals, manage the bidding process, negotiate change orders and provide assistance through production, delivery and invoicing.  The leading government print management firm has a robust data-base of historical data on past government jobs and a team of specialists who know how to work with GPO and how to provide guidance to qualify with GPO at the appropriate quality level and then win GPO opportunities.

Snider said becoming appropriately qualified to compete for GPO work is the all important first step in developing GPO as a profitable secondary market -- one that awards more than $425 million in jobs annually.




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