Mint seeking new vendor for ordering and fulfillment?
- Published: Feb 4, 2022, 8 AM
The U.S. Mint issued a request for information Feb. 2 seeking potential vendors interested in a substantially lucrative, multi-year contract to handle the bureau’s order fulfillment, website and customer service call center.
The 10-year $599 million contract awarded to the current vendor, PSFweb — headquartered in Allen, Texas — in 2013 will soon expire, and the bureau expects to award a new contract before the end of calendar year 2022.
The Mint’s Request for Information (RFI) states “The United States Mint is seeking comments from industry on the United States Mint Draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Enterprise Sales & Marketing (ESM) Solution. The United States Mint is issuing this Request for Information (RFI) for the sole purpose of conducting market research, and seeks to obtain comments, questions and suggestions on the draft RFP document. Please note that this is being requested for information and planning purposes, and submission of a response to this RFI will not result in an award of a contract. The United States Mint, at its sole discretion, may choose to incorporate comments and suggestions for upcoming requirements. The United States Mint may not answer every question submitted under this RFI, and may use the questions to help better define requirements for use in the final RFP.”
In the cover document, the Mint explains, “The primary day-to-day user of the order management system is the United States Mint’s Call Center and Fulfillment Operations service provider. The call center has a capacity of ~125 seats, receives 300,000-500,000 calls per year, consistently answers 80% of calls within 20 seconds or less, and takes in $15-35 million in revenue annually. Customer satisfaction with the center is 80 on a 100 point scale as measured by the ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index), besting all government and private sector benchmarks. The fulfillment center ships 1.7 to 2.0 million orders a year, 600 active sku’s generating 5.5 to 7.5 million units a year of gold, silver, platinum, palladium and cupro-nickel based coinage to a customer base of over 500,000. ”
The e-commerce giant PSFweb currently handles the Mint’s customer service call center and manages the website from Plano, Texas, outside of Dallas.
PSFWeb’s order fulfillment complex from which U.S. Mint numismatic products are shipped to fill orders from Mint customers is located in Memphis, Tennessee.
PSFweb succeeded the previous order fulfillment and customer service provider, Pitney-Bowes Government Solutions, which operated from Plainfield, Indiana, southwest of Indianapolis International Airport.
The U.S. Mint’s current order management system was introduced in October 2014 to replace a significantly outdated system that often crashed if flooded with customer orders when limited-edition numismatic product sales launched.
The Mint still encounters order processing obstacles with its current, updated system. The Mint is hoping to overcome these obstacles by addressing the issues in Requests for Proposals. Once interested potential vendors submit their responses to the requests for information, the Mint will develop the criteria for receipt of contract proposals.
Among the obstacles the Mint rectified, case by case, were electronic efforts by bots — used by marketers attempting to circumvent the Mint’s established household ordering limits on limited-edition products and corner the market.
Bots, short for robots, according to online definitions, are programs designed to “typically imitate or replace human user behavior. Because they are automated, they operate much faster than human users. They carry out useful functions, such as customer service or indexing search engines, but they can also come in the form of malware — used to gain total control over a computer.”
Complete details for the U.S. Mint’s Request for Information can be accessed online at https://sam.gov/opp/4347eb3c130b4a8eaea3a4780d24489e/view.
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