By Edward G. Keating
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Extra resources for Challenges in Defense Working Capital Fund Pricing : Analysis of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service
We think this pricing policy sends the wrong message to customers. Instead, specific customers should be rewarded if they impose less of a burden on DFAS, whereas customers who want enhanced finance services should have to pay for them. The current message that DFAS finance output prices send to customers is “you are all the same” despite the considerable cost-workload evidence that says they are not. In Chapter 5, we showed that DFAS’s linear, expected-average-cost pricing structure sends customers a message that DFAS probably does not intend to convey.
47 For some outputs, prices lower than current levels that reflect DFAS’s incremental costs could be valuable, however. For example, discounting of automated services can hopefully encourage customers to adopt more-efficient processes (even if they prefer current approaches that are more expensive for DFAS). In addition, cross-customer subsidization should be minimized. Ultimately, DFAS cannot and should not tell its customers what to do. Instead, DFAS should provide customers with a price “menu” that is more detailed and customer-specific than the current list of prices and that reflects DFAS’s incremental costs of various approaches.
A reallocation of workload would be only, on net, beneficial to DFAS and, ultimately, the DoD (holding quality constant) if the cost decrease at the losing location exceeded the cost increase at the gaining location. Based on our findings presented in this chapter, we urge • further examination of the feasibility and desirability of location-specific pricing • investigation of the costs of enhancing RADSS to collect customer-specific expenditures. 23 5. Why DFAS’s Cost Structure Points to Nonlinear Pricing In the preceding chapter, we suggested that simple “every customer pays the same” finance output prices result in considerable cross-customer subsidization.