Then and Now
When the Office of General Services began operations on October 1, 1960, the Division of Standards and Purchase was created to vet and supply commodities for state agencies and local governmental entities. In its first full fiscal year, the division purchased $73 million worth of equipment under 4,622 discrete contracts.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the division ran a modernized laboratory1 housed at the Empire State Plaza, which tested and judged the quality of goods offered on state contract. The team tested pudding and ran titrations. They even had their very own file cabinet door slammer! (Speaking of file cabinets, have you shopped Surplus Property on eBay lately?)
Currently in progress are tests on quality of paper, gelatin desserts, floor finishes, plastic in pens, tape and toilet tissue, carpets and computers, televisions, and oscilloscopes.
— The Searchlight, March 1973
In 1964, Standards and Purchase required everyone bidding on meat contracts2 to participate in the USDA Meat Inspection and Grading Program, which still provides a guarantee that your meat is of quality grade (you’re welcome).
Sixty years later, the Division of Standards and Purchase is known as Procurement Services and manages a portfolio valued at $26B (that’s B for billion), which includes 119 contract awards comprised of 1,563 commodity, service, and technology contracts.
While Procurement Services no longer officially tests filing cabinets3 by slamming drawers, they still ensure the quality of products, services, and technology on which state agencies and local entities depend.
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