Digitising public procurement

As customers, we are all used to digital systems as part of day-to-day business. We look after our personal finances through online banking and we find it easy to buy various kinds of products from online stores located in Finland and abroad. In Finland the society is highly digitised, and this has brought savings and boosted efficiency in many ways.

In public procurement, digitisation has not progressed quite as far, but the next few years will be interesting in this respect. A new Public Procurement Directive was approved by the European Parliament in January 2014. The directive requires that all public procurements be opened to tenders electronically after a transition period. I look forward to a more extensive use of electronic solutions in joint procurement procedures.

Here at Hansel, we are currently working on an electronic tendering system for use by the government. We believe that digitisation of the procurement process offers many benefits for customers and suppliers alike. It will reduce the administrative burden and increase the transparency of transactions. This may also cut down the number of complaints and appeals.

Digitisation is important also from the perspective of market functionality. According to reports by the European Commission, small and medium-sized enterprises in particular benefit from e-procurement. Faster information flows, wider tendering opportunities and simplified processes are bound to increase the willingness of SMEs to participate in public tenders, which in their current form can sometimes appear heavy and burdensome.

Another major trend besides the digitisation of society is the growing significance of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Buyers are emphasising CSR in their procurement processes, and we have taken CSR aspects into account in our operations for a long time. More on this in the Corporate Responsibility Report, which has been verified in accordance with the new GRI4 guidelines.

Our operating model and tools may change, but Hansel’s mission will remain the same: increasing government efficiency and saving taxpayers’ money through centralised procurement. Electronic systems will offer us increasingly interesting opportunities for this in the future.

Anssi Pihkala