General Services Administration Fraud

The General Services Administration, or GSA, is a federal agency responsible for supplying goods and products to other federal agencies through contracts with commercial firms. The GSA negotiates contracts and purchases products in large quantities in order to save individual agencies time and resources. These contracts, in turn, must be in compliance with the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 to ensure the safety of the product and the secure relationship between the U.S. and the product’s country of origin. However, sometimes commercial suppliers attempt to sell products to the GSA that do not comply with these standards.

The Trade Agreements Act

The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (TAA) dictates trade agreements between the U.S. and other countries. Certain countries, called “designated countries,” are in compliance with the TAA and therefore the General Services Administration may enter into agreements with companies that purchase or supply goods and services from these countries. However, certain countries do not conform to the standards set out by the TAA. Therefore, the GSA is prohibited from entering into contracts that involve goods and services from non-compliant countries.

Failure to Comply with the Trade Agreements Act

Countries that do not comply with the conditions in the TAA are restricted from entering into certain contracts with the U.S. Countries that are not TAA-compliant include:

  • China
  • Taiwan
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand

These countries manufacture and export a large number of products commonly used throughout the U.S. However, since they are not in compliance with the TAA, the General Services Administration may not supply products from these countries to federal agencies. In some cases, though, certain companies attempt to fraud the GSA and supply them with products that do not meet the minimum federal standards.

The Trade Agreement Act was created in order to protect government employees from harm as well as to make sure that the products used by federal agencies are supplied by countries that agree to U.S. standards. If contractors attempt to sell non-compliant products to a government agency, they may be violating the False Claims Act, an Act designed to prevent false claims and fraud against the federal government. Everyday citizens who become aware of fraud can file a Qui Tam lawsuit on the government’s behalf to stop the wrongdoing. In response, the person who brings the suit may be eligible to receive a percentage of the total damages that are awarded in the case.

Wholesale General Merchandise – Why Online Wholesale Supplier Directories Are Vital to Your Selling

Online retailing can be a very lucrative business. Over the years this industry has grown fast and is now worth billions of dollars a year. The cost of setting-up your selling business online is but a fraction compared to traditional “brick-and-mortar” stores. However, with thousands of others having the same idea, competition can be extremely stiff. Sourcing wholesale general merchandise is a key strategy for the success of this type of business.

It used to be that buyers had to travel far and wide just to source for items at rock-bottom prices. It took a lot of time and options were somewhat limited. These days however, finding the best products and suppliers for your business is easier than ever! Anyone can now establish a bona-fide global selling business, thanks to the Internet. Suddenly, reliable and quality suppliers of goods are now just a few mouse-clicks away.

Online wholesale supplier directories give you the competitive edge. These are basically websites that lists thousands suppliers for your business. Get access to manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, drop shippers and liquidators both locally and abroad.  This can save you valuable time and effort in finding wholesale general merchandise suppliers. The more options you have the better your chances of finding the right product, from the right supplier, at the best price.

Online wholesale supplier directories can provide you a wide-range of products to choose from. Literally tens of thousands of the latest products and goods from all over the world are available. This is vital, especially to those interested in capturing niche markets (e.g. Car, diving, or golf enthusiasts.) Start-ups will also find this diverse range of choices beneficial to establishing their product line-up.

A good online wholesale supplier directory offers buyer security, which is the best reason to use these directories for your wholesale general merchandise needs. There are as much scams, as there are authentic supplier companies out there. The best directories painstakingly verify the legitimacy of every supplier they have listed. They also provide a platform for users or members to share supplier experiences and feedback. This kind of transparency can be a lifesaver for those struggling to establish their selling business.

Match Wholesale General Merchandise Purchases to Your Sales

To get the top deals for any wholesale merchandise you purchase for resale you need to be at the right place at the right time with the right mindset. For this you need to have solid knowledge and understanding about certain facts relating to the market, sales vendors, products offerings, and more. In the current market a variety of options are available for those who own a dollar store to source the wholesale general merchandise needed to keep the shelves well-stocked. However there are certain things to consider before going out and blindly buying all kinds of products. Read on for some of the key considerations.

* Know the market and the products your shoppers purchase

In today’s market there it is unwise to purchase huge quantities of products which sell slowly. While you may need to locate suppliers offering partial cases, or possibly split cases of these wholesale general merchandise items with other stores, having 288 of an item which sells at the rate of 3-4 items per month is not a good use of your funds. On the other end of the spectrum, do not allow best sellers to run out.

* Build customer satisfaction by focusing on value

You simply must be careful about the quality or product features of the wholesale general merchandise you purchase. Never assume saving 5ยข on an item is worth the trade when the quantity is reduced by 25%. Even worse, don’t make tradeoffs with reduced quality, quantity or perceived value if your competition stays with the product you no longer carry.

* Know the hot sellers and keep them in-stock

Do not allow the shelves to go bare of the core consumable items which bring shoppers back time and again. These items sell, so always place your replenishment orders in plenty of time to have new stock arriving just as you are close to selling out. As these items arrive be sure to immediately place them onto the sales floor.

* Maximize profit but never building inventory levels

Do not rush to buy huge quantities of any items simply because there are tempting discount offers. You will risk ending up with an unnecessary inventory at your store. It is essential to buy the correct quantity or your inventory management will go out of balance, resulting in stockpiling of unnecessary goods.

* Shop for competitive prices when purchasing replenishment products

Buy items having the best rates. Since wholesale pricing of products varies based on their demand and availability, shop around if you cannot get competitive prices from your normal sources. Always factor in your quantity requirement (Based on products sales levels.) as well.

Thus, be sure to remember the key point to matching the buying of wholesale general merchandise to store sales. Purchase just enough dollar store merchandise to keep the shelves full as well as to ensuring the stock room is in effect empty. Buy only required items and in the right quantity, during seasonal or holiday offers. Never allow your stock room to become filled with products which do not sell.

Is the General Aviation Industry Finally on an Upswing?

Over the past three decades, there’s been a steady decline in the number of U.S. pilots. According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), there were 827,000 active, certificated pilots in 1980. By 2011, that number had dropped to just 617,000. During that same 30-year period, production of single-engine planes dropped from 14,000 per year to fewer than 700.

But for the past three years, AOPA has made understanding this declining trend and reversing it a top priority. AOPA actions include developing a network of flying clubs, and speaking out in Washington to help keep the rising cost and complexity of aviation under control.

Thankfully, 2013 numbers are indicating a positive upswing, based on data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s (GAMA) 2013 General Aviation Statistical Databook & 2014 Industry Outlook.

Here’s a look at what’s been causing the pilot and production decline, and good news from GAMA’s 2013/2014 aviation industry report.

What’s been causing the decline?

According to a Washington Post article posted February 9 titled, “Small aviation businesses say pilot shortage could drive industry into the ground,” there are a variety of factors that have contributed to the decline in pilots and production over the past decades, including rising fuel prices and heightened flying restrictions following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

One reason is that the recent economic downturn has left fewer people with discretionary income. Others place much of the blame on federal regulators, whom they accuse of making it too difficult for pilots to obtain and renew their licenses, which in turn hurts small aviation businesses and the aviation industry as a whole.

Many commercial pilots come from the GA pilot pool, and the global airline industry will need almost a half million new commercial airline pilots over the next 20 years, according to the Boeing Pilot and Technical Market Outlook for 2013-2032.

Good news from GAMA’s 2013/2014 industry report

Here are some positive numbers from GAMA’s annual statistical databook.

Airplane shipments and billings – In 2013, airplane shipments increased by 4.3 percent to 2,256 airplane deliveries, and billings increased 24 percent to $23.4 billion across all airplane types. This is the second-highest industry billing number ever recorded-the industry’s peak billings occurred in 2008 at $24.8 billion.

Business jets – After slowing the past four years, the business jet market stabilized in 2013. There were 678 business jets delivered in 2013, up from 672 in 2012. Several new models and increasing demand helped stabilize the market and increase deliveries.

North American market share rose to 52.4 percent from 49.7 percent in 2012. Europe’s market share declined, however, from 20.8 percent in 2012 to 15.6 percent in 2013. Customer deliveries included 11.9 percent to customers in the Asia-Pacific region, 11.1 percent to Latin America, and 9.0 percent to the Middle East and Africa.

Turboprops – Turbo-propeller plane shipments also grew in 2013, increasing to 645 shipments from 584 shipments in 2012, a 10.4 percent increase. Shipments of agricultural turboprops, which GAMA began tracking in 2011, remained strong. Traditional single- and twin-engine turboprop shipments provided year-over-year increases in unit deliveries. North American customers took 57.1 percent of turboprop airplane deliveries in 2013, up from 48.6 percent in 2012. The Asia Pacific region took the second-largest market share at 14 percent, followed by Latin American at 13.2 percent. European customers took delivery of 10.5 percent, and the Middle East and Africa accounted for 5.3 percent.

Turbine helicopters – The turbine helicopter segment provided positive delivery performance in 2013 based on analysis of equivalent companies from 2012. GAMA identified 782 turbine helicopter shipments in 2013, which is an increase of 9.2 percent compared to the prior year for the same reporting companies. In this year’s databook, GAMA has expanded the available historical data about helicopter shipments with select information from 1999 through 2013.

Piston airplane and helicopter deliveries – Feedback from airplane and helicopter manufacturers indicates that global demand from flight schools is contributing to year-over-year growth. Piston airplane deliveries totaled 933 shipments in 2013, up from 908 shipments in 2012, a 2.8 percent increase. North America ordered 52.8 percent of piston engine airplanes, Europe 17.2 percent, followed by the Asia-Pacific region at 15.1 percent, Latin America at 10 percent, and the Middle East and Africa at 5 percent of shipments. In 2013, the general aviation industry delivered 335 piston-powered helicopters, which was a slight increase from the 328 units delivered in 2012.

Turbine operators – According to JETNET, LLC, the fractional fleet of turbine operators fell to 869 aircraft in 2013, decreasing each year since 2008, the year it peaked at 1,094 aircraft. There were 4,365 fractional owners in 2013, which is also down compared to five years ago, when there were 5,179 owners. The worldwide turbine airplane fleet included 33,861 airplanes in 2013 and an additional 19,509 turbine helicopters.

Pilot population falling – The active U.S. pilot population continues to fall. The private pilot population has declined since the early 1980s, when it peaked at 357,479 pilots, and in recent years has lost between 5,000 and 10,000 active pilots each year. There were only 180,214 private pilots at the end of 2013, and a total of 599,086 total active pilots in the U.S. in 2013. One bright spot: 40,621, or 6.78 percent, were female-the highest ratio of female aviators on record.

Signs safety is improving – A welcome decrease: The FAA’s preliminary data about general aviation safety shows there were approximately 216 fatal accidents during the year, a double-digit decline in the number of fatal general aviation accidents during 2013. While data is preliminary, the FAA’s goal of reducing the GA fatal accident rate to one fatal accident per 100,000 hours flown may be possible to achieve by 2018.

GAMA also includes GA safety data developed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for 2006 through 2012. EASA statistics from 2012 also show a decline in the total number of accidents and the number of fatal accidents.

References:

http://www.aopa.org/Community-and-Events/Center-to-Advance-the-Pilot-Community

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/small-aviation-businesses-say-pilot-shortage-could-drive-industry-into-the-ground/2014/02/08/2422cadc-8f5c-11e3-b46a-5a3d0d2130da_story.html