Better procurement with a new set of e-tenderingJan 13, 2015
In October 2011, UNDP launched its efforts to digitalize tender procedures. The ensuing years have seen the spread of this practice throughout UNDP operations all over the world. Through e-tendering, UNDP aims to better serve citizens and businesses in the digital economy, to achieve increased efficiency, cost savings and improved transparency in procurement services.
The UNDP office in Azerbaijan joined in this process in 2012 and was the first office in the region to incorporate e-tendering into its procurement system. The office’s procurement unit staff participated in a pilot workshop on e-tendering on 12-15 November 2012 in Bratislava, Slovakia, and learned relevant procedures for the transition.
This was a great chance for UNDP in Azerbaijan to increase the efficiency and ensure the integrity of its procurement processes. Moreover, it was also a necessity: less efficient systems based around hard copy material had been a pressing issue for some time. The office needed a more open procurement system that would demonstrate its transparency to donors and partners, as well as a more user-friendly system to foster an environment of individually capable office workers. The newly established tender system also improved the decision-making procedures of the Evaluation Committee, the Bidding Operation Committee, and the Contract, Assets, and Procurement Committee. It transformed all archiving activities into electronic system, as part of the office’s paperless strategy.
In the beginning of the transition to e-tendering, UNDP Azerbaijan faced challenges regarding training staff and bidders as well as overcoming language barriers. The adaptation and transition period initially slowed the office functioning, but the new e-tendering system ultimately increased the levels of responsiveness for both users and bidders. Now case-by-case trainings for each bid and pre-bid conferences are organized upon request. Such trainings also include project staff and have helped the procurement unit staff to handle the challenges raised during the transition period.
Overall, the shift to e-tendering had a positive impact on the bidder community. “Businesses have become more confident of the integrity of UNDP Azerbaijan’s processes and the quality of communication between UNDP Azerbaijan and bidders improved.” – Mr. Subhan Ahmadov, Operations Manager of UNDP Azerbaijan says.
Currently, the system is working in full capacity. Already, more than 17 e-tender cases have been announced and successfully completed. There are nearly 50 local bidders who are registered in the system and with whom the procurement unit staff works closely to help in case any issues arise.
Harnessing e-tendering practice earlier helped the UNDP Office in Azerbaijan to share its best practices with other offices in the region. One such example was a workshop organized in Bonn, Germany in 2014 where our staff members trained other country offices on how to implement e-tendering.