Federal Prison Industries, doing business as Unicor, operates a sign shop located in Lompoc, California. The Unicor Sign Shop has the capabilities to make quality signs to Corps of Engineers specifications. They make signs on routed wood, plywood, aluminum, and plastic at competitive prices.
Who may order signs from Unicor?
Unicor produces signs for all Federal Government agencies. Sign orders from the Corps of Engineers must be approved by the district sign program manager prior to sending to Unicor for a quote or for fabrication.
Unicor may fill orders from non-Federal entities as long as the outside organization is using the signs on federal property for federal agencies. In other words there must be a written agreement as to work being performed such as for land / property maintenance. Another occasion is when agencies are utilizing Federal Grant monies to complete a project or become compliant with a newly instituted program or law. As long as there is written documentation such as a partnership agreement or a contract to verify the work is for the Corps of Engineers, Unicor can produce the signs.
How to order signs
Create an order in Corps Sign Pro and have it approved by your district sign program manager. Be sure to enter the correct quantities of your signs on the sign order worksheet. On the main orders listing page you can use the e-mail icon to send a link to your district sign manager for approval, or click on the printer icon to make a hard copy or a PDF file. (Check “how to make a PDF file” in the help drop down menu.) You may e-mail the PDF as an attachment to UNICOR, or fax the proposed order to the sign factory in Lompoc. E-mail with orders as PDF attachments are preferred.
Once Unicor receives your order, a “detailer” will be assigned to create an estimate with a work order number and return it to you. The detailer is very familiar with Corps standards. Once you receive the estimate, follow your district's procurement procedures. Make sure the order number assigned by Unicor is on the PR&C and use it as the reference number for any correspondence with the factory. You may want to use that work order number as your order number in SignPro by changing the order number field on the order overview page, or enter it in the notes field at the bottom of the same page.
Unicor will move any order to the front of the line for a 10 percent expedite fee. They also love credit card purchases, which may also expedite things.
Problems After Delivery
- Do not accept delivery of damaged signs from Unicor. Signs should arrive properly crated. Unicor will receive restitution, on behalf of the Government, for damaged signs if delivery is refused.
- Make sure you are receiving the retro-reflective circular patch that goes over the bolt holes in HDO-8 signs (Park Hours, Campground Hours, Ranger Station Hours, etc.)
- Check the support braces on HDO-9 signs when they arrive. They may not be drilled properly and will not fit the sign ordered.
- Check HDO-2 signs with the hex bolt and receiving keyhole plates. Some hardware has been located too close to the top of the panel and that may cause the wood to split.
- Unicor will no longer provide bolts, except by special arrangement.
- If you have problems with signs from Unicor, please contact the Sign Standards MCX.
Buy signs from others, or buy from UNICOR?
- If a sign order is less than $3,000, you may buy the signs from Unicor or from a private vendor without consulting your contracting office.
- For larger sign orders, each district’s contracting office will do market research to determine whether Unicor signs are comparable to private sector signs in terms of price, quality, and time of delivery.
- Market research is not the same as taking bids. It is a more general process, and it is up to the contracting office to decide how to do the research.
- If the contracting office decides that Unicor’s signs are not comparable in any or all of the three criteria, then standard bidding procedures will be used to buy the signs.
- Unicor must be offered a chance to be one of the bidders.
- Bidders must assure the Corps that they can meet the sign standards exactly, including proper formatting and color shading.
- More info at http://corpslakes.usace.army.mil/employees/news-archive.cfm?Id=signprog
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