What July Fourth Means to Key Source International
A Government Approved Vendor (GSA) Celebrates 10 Years of TAA Compliance
On the Fourth of July, the country celebrates being independent, thus honoring the work of our forefathers. In this election year, and with all of the recent world news, we are especially reminded of our freedom and what it means to be American. We make no exception here at Key Source International; in fact, being a U.S. based company has special meaning to us and we have made strides to show it.
When the company was founded in 1979 in Oakland, California, founder Bob Schwartz committed to producing as much product as possible on a local basis. This became increasingly important as the country’s security priorities transformed after 9/11. For example, Presidential Directive 12 issued FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) Publication 201 in late 2004, mandating government employees and contractors to utilize certain security requirements such as biometrics and smart cards. KSI quickly adapted and became FIPS approved, passing rigorous GSA standards.
“Our next goal was TAA compliance,” said President, Phil Bruno. In 2006, KSI embarked on working with countries with approved labor practices and those that complied with the Trade Agreement Act and the GSA schedule that states all final product sold havs been “substantially transformed” in the United States or in a designated or approved country.
When asked specifically why we would then pursue this certification, the answer is threefold:
- To gain tax and other financial incentives earned when 51% of components and/or labor is TAA compliant.
- To do business with the government – including its many agencies and hospitals – and become an approved vendor on the GSA schedule.
- To improve the lead-times for customer orders, create jobs locally and gain more control over quality assurance.
Today, KSI is proud to say that engineering and product design of both the hardware and software as well as assembly, testing, repair, and shipping are all done from our Oakland, California headquarters. This year, we are celebrating our 10th anniversary of being TAA compliant. In fact, all compliance goals have been met and we have improved the way we interact with customers as well as internally:
- Jobs have been sustained in Oakland; we now have 17 employees, including two new hires in the past six months.
- KSI is on the GSA schedule, and the government is actively buying from KSI with several open contracts.
- We have improved our product shipment lead time to as little as two weeks by working with our vendors to maximize prompt service to our customers.
Now that you have TAA compliance and U.S.-made products on the radar, like we do here at KSI, you may want to find out if these practices and core values carry over to other companies with which you do business. In some cases, you just have to check for the symbol on the product or web site. You will see many of our keyboards have the FIPS and TAA compliant stickers on the bottom (though it should not be assumed if you do not see it that we are not approved). KSI is proud of our designation as a TAA and FIPS compliant supplier.
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