Warehouse Asset Management Best Practices
Warehouse spaces are a part of the Federal Government’s vast and diverse real property portfolio. According to the Federal Real Property Council Guidance on Real Property Inventory Reporting, warehouses are "buildings used for storage, such as ammunition storage, covered sheds, and buildings primarily used for storage of vehicles or materials." This can include a wide range of building types and sizes that are used for both long-term and temporary storage purposes.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified real property management as a high-risk area due to long-standing problems. A November 2014 GAO report found that the federal real property database (FRPP) contains inconsistent warehouse data and agencies reported a wide range of challenges in acquiring, managing, and disposing of warehouse space. Furthermore, GAO found that GSA has a role in setting a strategic framework to help agencies make more efficient use of warehouse space.
National strategic policies such as "Reduce the Footprint" encourage each agency to work collaboratively with other agencies and GSA to find opportunities for efficient space usage through co-locations and consolidation opportunities, especially those that will result in no net growth of the overall federal real estate inventory. The case studies presented on this site should serve as a catalyst for federal agencies to share best practices and innovative and successful initiatives that improve the management of their warehouse assets.
The following innovative examples of warehouse space best practices illustrate cost-effective ways to acquire, manage and dispose of federal warehouses space. GSA will continually update this page with information to promote the effective use of federal warehouses and provide practical strategies for disposing of warehouse space that is unneeded and underutilized.
If your organization has a proven strategy for reducing warehouse space costs and enhancing warehouse asset management, please let us know. We would be delighted to share your innovation with the federal real property community.
GSA Federal Acquisition Service Warehouse
This study describes GSA’s effort to transform its wholesale and retail supply chain business models to be more efficient and cost effective. Instead of warehousing products and buying, shipping and storing office supplies and other common-use retail items, GSA will rely on its commercial partners to ship directly to customers. This new business model will simplify the federal acquisition process and save nearly half a billion dollars over the next five years.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) provides a framework and guide that federal managers can use to improve the accuracy and reliability of the government's inventory and related property data. GAO studied the inventory count processes and procedures of seven leading-edge private sector companies to identify the key factors and practices they use to achieve accurate and reliable physical counts. The report describes the fundamental practices and procedures used in the private sector to achieve consistent and accurate physical counts. The report also describes leading practices from which the Federal Government may be able to draw lessons and ideas.
GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy issued this report to promote interagency communication and sharing of information relating to best practices and the latest technologies in the warehousing and storage field. Although originally developed in 1999, the warehousing best practices in this report are still very relevant today.
GSA’s Real Property Utilization and Disposal (RPUD) group provides full service realty services through its own authority or through authorities available to individual federal landholding agencies. RPUD effectively promotes the full utilization of federal property and develops innovative solutions to reposition real property assets, including warehouses.
This link provides tools and resources to assist federal agencies to report warehouse space excess for disposal and obtain information on available excess properties that could be utilized by another federal agency.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) owns and leases warehouses space for various purposes such as storing ammunition, vehicles, disaster relief supplies and seized assets. Even though most DHS warehouses are well organized and support agency missions, the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) nevertheless found that DHS cannot effectively manage its warehouse needs because its warehouse inventories are inaccurate. As a result, the OIG concluded that DHS's ability to make strategic management decisions to consolidate or close warehouses and demonstrate compliance with requirements to limit the size of inventories and reduce costs is limited.
However, the OIG pointed to some good news, too. The OIG noted DHS’s success in convening a special team to assess the efficiency of DHS’s real property footprint and warehouse operations in the National Capital Region. As part of its work to develop a plan to achieve as many cost-saving opportunities as possible, the team identified best practices such as partnerships with other government agencies to co-locate, disposing of excess materials, and efficient use of warehouse space. The team also identified common issues, such as warehouses with no inventory management system, misclassification of real property, and storage of excess materials. Citing the team’s recommendations, the OIG said the team's efforts had a positive impact on DHS’s management of its inventory and similar efforts should continue.
In fiscal year 2014, the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD) tasked the Defense Business Board (DBB) to assess the major business issues the DoD will likely confront as the result of the military draw down of two wars, budget reductions and reductions in military personnel.
In an effort to tackle the forthcoming challenges, DBB identified among other business issues DoD’s excess and aging warehouse facilities that were expensive to operate, inefficient, and underutilized. As part of its work to develop a best practice plan to achieve as many cost-saving opportunities as possible, DBB recommended DoD undertake specific initiatives to streamline its warehouse operations and consolidate warehouse depots to achieve efficiencies and reduce costs.
GSA Guide for Strategic Warehouse Planning
GSA has been proactively developing a bulletin providing strategic considerations for managing warehouse facilities and the contents of ware houses. The bulletin will include information and insights learned while developing ASTM standard E-3056, Standard Guide for Strategic Warehousing, which was published in May 2016. A draft of an Federal Management Regulation will be available for agencies review in late summer or early fall 2016
GSA’s Public Buildings Service (PBS) is responsible for providing strategic direction; administration, and management support services for real estate portfolio management including asset management and valuation; portfolio strategic planning, capital allocation; portfolio analysis; pricing policy and tools; and property utilization and disposal services. PBS asset management develops national strategies for optimizing the performance of the assets by developing a national pricing policy, executing sound investment, operational, and investment decisions, and analyzing our assets' performance.
GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy issued this "White Paper" to provide warehouse asset management best practices that have been shown to be effective for the efficient use, reduction and management of federal warehouse assets.