The city of Gijon in northern Spain has made demonstrable savings of 27 percent across its tenders since its adoption of Vortal’s electronic procurement platform to manage all of its public contracting. While Vortal’s eProcurement suite is not the only big name on the market, with a presence throughout Europe and South America, it is one of the world’s largest, boasting a complete end-to-end eProcurement management system, dealing with 3000 buying organisations involving 120,000 customers and has seen 2 million proposals go through the system. What does set Vortal apart is its heavy investment in research and development as a proportion of revenue.
Gijon city council had already taken on board an integrated global management model, which led to the adoption of an eGovernment policy. So, unlike many public administrations still falling short of the full EU requirement, it is fully embracing eProcurement. What the city did not have within its existing model, however, was a procedure for eTendering that was fully integrated with the municipal ERP (enterprise resource planning) system. It implemented the module in its civic administration as mandatory for all its smaller contracts, as well as across nine dependent public organisations.
Gijon had four key aims:
- increase competition through greater publicity and bidding activity, while decreasing procurement costs
- increase openness and transparency through improved tender advertising and responses from suppliers
- give fair and impartial treatment to all suppliers, both local and regional, ensuring that each supplier had equal access to tender information and a transparent submission process
- realise cost savings for both the supplier and the council, as a result of a simplified and more efficient procurement process
And it has managed to go a long way down the road of achieving its strategic aims. In 2014 a total of 477 contracts were managed through the platform, with 1732 offers submitted electronically. This led to a 27 percent increase in savings compared with original tender prices, and €6.53 achieved per document in materials alone by automating the document delivery process. Apart from money, the platform also saved time and resource, with almost one-third less time spent on administrative tasks. In the same year, 73 percent of awards were made to local and regional SMEs.
Fernando Alvarez of Gijon City Council said the implementation of the platform had been fast and efficient. The solution had also created a community of suppliers, who are able to sign up for free and automatically receive information each time a new tender is announced. He added that all suppliers are equally aware of award criteria at the same time, regardless of location, thanks to the improved openness and transparency of the tenders.
The adoption has meant that suppliers can compile customer performance ratings and reviews online, building their reputation, and gain access to hundreds of public and private tenders every day. They get automatic business alerts set for their particular sector and can generate leads by connecting with decision makers at the exact moment they have the budget to buy. For thousands of buyers the open eMarketplace has enabled them to connect with an international community of qualified suppliers. The tendering process is open and competitive and buyers can achieve savings in money and time with fewer administrative costs, competitively priced proposals and less time spent analysing and comparing.
Isaac Garcia, representing a supplier to Gijon City Council, Ofintegral, said that by adopting the solution the council demonstrated its commitment to full transparency and promoting greater competitiveness among SMEs. Alejandro Roces, Councillor for Gijon City Council Treasury, hailed the new measures as a completely new way of managing procurement efficiently and fairly.
Vortal has produced a succinct infographic/case study which sums up the key benefits to public procurement of using the system, which you can download here.