Print managers vying for $10m Centrelink contract

At least two print managers are vying for a $10m-a-year Centrelink contract that is up for tender after five years with Ergo Asia.

The contract is only open to the six members of the Department of Human Services communication products management panel and were invited to submit a proposal last month.

E-Bisprint, Ergo, OfficeMax, Rothfield, Staples and Stream Solutions are on the panel, which is restricted to firms that do none of their own printing.

ProPrint understands Ergo and E-Bisprint are have thrown their hat in the ring while two others have declined to tender. The status of the remaining two is unknown.

[Related: More printers winning government contracts]

Ergo chief executive Richard Wonders confirmed Ergo will seek to renew its contract, which it won from Stream in 2010, but would not elaborate further on an ongoing contract.

E-Bisprint managing director Paul Freeman says he can’t comment while the tender process is ongoing.

The major contract includes print management, design, and creative services and the $10m a year includes pass through costs to printers and creative outfits. Work can only be given to companies on the department’s multi-use list, which is up for tender until September 24.

However, sources from more than one of the six companies say the contract is mostly just facilitating the passing through of work to printers and questioned whether the contract is worth having.

The sources described it as mostly an ICT provision, with Centrelink handling most of the sourcing itself through the system and only about $250,000 of the $10m retained by the print manager.

They say the company only really makes margin on the four or five staff it deploys to handle the contract.

A DHS spokeswoman told ProPrint the contract “covers a range of services, which includes provision of ICT solutions for procurement activities and related services”.

“Costs for printing and creative work procured on the department’s behalf are passed through with no mark-up,” she says.

Applications closed on Monday and the new contract is due to be announced soon.

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