The U.S. Mint is trying to determine the most cost-effective way of producing coin blanks.
To that end, the Mint plans to solicit bids from independent, outside companies to see if in-house production is cheaper than going to other suppliers for ready-to-strike planchets.
So far, the Mint reports approximately 450 inquiries since beginning the search in 2005.
Overseeing the study, aimed at finding out the costs associated with blanking, annealing and upsetting of all circulating denominations, is the Office of Management and Budget, which received authorization for the project from the House Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology.
Mint spokesman Michael White explained the competition between the government and companies bidding for the work: ?A public-private competition is handled much like a procurement action ? private sector bids are compared against the in-house most efficient organization?s (MEO) bid much as if the MEO were just another vendor. The U.S. Mint will evaluate the bids based on bottom-line costs, or what is best value to the government. This evaluation is conducted under the provisions of OMB Circular A-76 (revised May 29, 2003) which, among other requirements, mandates the use of a standardized OMB-approved software package in the process. Procurement integrity rules also apply, as they do in all public-private competitions.?
As of press time, it was not known how long the Mint would be accepting external bids; however, results of the study are expected to be known later in 2006.