Step-by-step adoption of the Hanki Service
Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, adopted e-tendering in its daily operations with a positive attitude and on a well-planned schedule. In the transition to e-tendering, Kela’s Procurement Services benefited from discussions with others using the e-tendering system.
Kela invites tenders for many different kinds of procurements, such as IT systems, rehabilitation services, expert work and staff cafeteria services. Kela’s maternity package is also an annual procurement.
All tenders in excess of the EU threshold value must be handled electronically as from 18 October 2018. However, Kela decided to join the vanguard and adopted the Hanki Service at the beginning of 2016.
“As we’ll be obligated to change over to e-tendering in any case, we wanted to set aside a good amount of time for its implementation. We’re not worried about our technical expertise. Rather, we’re thinking more about how to integrate the Hanki Service into Kela’s processes, which can be tricky,” says Virpi Parikka, project manager in charge of the implementation project.
The experts of Kela’s Procurement Services participated in training for the Hanki Service in February 2016. Kela completed its first e-tendering process in March. Procurement Services had already selected several procurements that would be suitable for piloting e-tendering. This enabled the team to practice e-tendering in a test environment and then try it immediately after training.
“There was no resistance to e-tendering, as we had had time to get to grips with it in peace. Rather, we were curious and expectant.”
A good time for development work
The e-solution has sped up many work phases in the public tendering process. For instance, thanks to the Hanki Service, no time is wasted on opening tender envelopes and drafting minutes on the opening of tenders.
“In addition, we no longer have to send out procurement decisions manually. The Hanki Service sends them out automatically. Comparing tenders is now faster, too,” says Parikka.
However, not everything has to change. For instance, the most time-consuming stage of the tendering process, the preparation of content, will still be done outside the e-tendering system.
“We can do things in many different ways, but e-tendering has not significantly transformed our way of working. However, e-tendering opened up a natural window for development work. With the introduction of the e-tendering system, we have also standardised and clarified our calls for tender.”
No major stumbling blocks were encountered in the first phases of Kela’s e-tendering. Virpi Parikka says that they would not do anything differently if they had to start implementation from scratch.
“Of course, we engaged in a bit of trial and error at first, but both Hansel and the system supplier, Cloudia, provided us with good support. The Hanki Service is evolving constantly and its functionalities have improved while we’ve been using it.”
Virpi’s tips on implementation:
One slice of cake at a time
”There’s no need to be nervous about implementation. As we started out, we didn’t stop to worry about the challenges we might face. We trusted in the process and were confident that we would get answers to all our questions.”
Ask and discuss
”We visited a procurement unit that already uses e-tendering. This reference visit helped us understand how the process works. The peer network and clinics on Yammer are also useful. The Yammer group includes units that have already adopted e-tendering. There, one can ask other users for tips.”
Start with something easy
“You should think through your own procurement process beforehand and first try out e-tendering for a smaller, low-risk procurement. One of our first calls for e-tenders was for cleaning services for certain office premises. We were pleased with the first e-tendering results. Now we organise almost all of our tendering processes electronically.”