Tools for developing public procurement in Finland

Hansel is a non-profit limited company acting as the central innovator and developer of public procurement in Finland. Hansel aims to reduce public expenditure by increasing the public procurement productivity of central and local governments, universities and congregations.

Hansel and Inclus have together developed a tool for improving public procurement. The goal was to create a scalable solution, based on Inclus’ tools, to develop and support the public procurement process. The project resulted in a new Procurement Maturity Model (Hankintatutka in Finnish)

Inclus allows organizations to compare self-assessment results internally and across organizations. The technology provides the organization with data and insights about development areas in their procurement process. Together we have been able to create a helpful tool for public procurement, that is today used by the entire public sector in Finland.  

Self-assessment and scalability 

Hansel’s aim is to create scalable tools that helps develop their clients’ procurement process. Additional value in this project was created by developing the procurement maturity model as a visually intuitive tool. 

We also wanted to create healthy competition between procurement units by enabling both internal and cross-unit comparisons with the tool. Meaning that organizations are able to analyze their own development areas and results in relation to anonymized data from other public organizations. 

The tool created with Inclus allows Hansel to provide a service that they would not have had the resources to develop using internal software development resources. 

In the past Hansel has primarily served the central government, but in the fall of 2019 Finland’s public procurement competence was brought under Hansel after a merger with the municipal sector’s purchasing body, KL-Kuntahankinnat. After uniting their efforts, Hansel, now provides services across the whole public administration in Finland. Significantly expanding Hansel’s clientele and increasing the technical requirements, and the need for APIs, in the procurement maturity model.  

Development support

The procurement maturity model is a framework for assessing the current state of an organization’s procurement process. Inclus is used to conduct two separate assessments by the organization’s management and experts.  

The first and shorter assessment provides an overview of the organization’s procurement development areas, whereas the longer assessment features identified best practices within public procurement. Inclus’ scoring method is used to visualize the respondent's results in relation to others. 

Inclus’ quadrant plot was used in both assessments, and it proved to be effective for visualizing results. It allowed us to see results quickly. On average it only takes five minutes to fill in the shorter assessment. From a practical perspective it was the right call to split the assessment into two separate ones. 

In the report it is easy to analyze variability for instance based on categories or respondent groups and roles. 

Questions asked in the shorter assessments are subjective. We ask about contract management I.e.; how important it is for the organization and what its maturity level is. The results allow us to easily view people’s opinions. 

Procurement is often affiliated with money and power within organizations, and to develop these processes, it is critical to get a comprehensive understanding of people’s opinions and perspectives. 

The results tell us, for instance, if something is particularly important, but has a low maturity level in the organization. This could be considered as a development area where motivation is high to increase its maturity. In other words, the tool supports development work and helps allocating resources to the right development areas.  

Strategic planning 

Procurement maturity model, Hankintaluotsi, was launched in the Autumn of 2021 as a part of the HILMA public procurement service. Hankintaluotsi is a supporting tool for strategic thinking and collaborative procurement planning. Before launching, the concept was actively piloted by 27 public organizations.

Hankintaluotsi structures data that is added to the system, essentially refining thoughts throughout the process. It is a guideline towards strategic thinking and sustainability objectives within procurement. 

We have created a model that is based on self-assessment. Organizations are able to input successful procurements and compare their assessments with other similar organizations.

Pioneering solutions 

Hansel together with Inclus are developing something new that does not have existing solutions or answers. It is no surprise that the project has attracted interest outside Finland as well. 

We are solving challenges that no one else has done systematically before. This approach together with Inclus has been truly excellent. Our collaboration has been effective and customer-centric. We have also identified international potential, as the developed tools have generated awareness and interest abroad. 

Hansel has been satisfied with the collaboration and results gained together with Inclus. 

The most exciting thing about the process was that the end-result was unknown when we started. We are pleasantly surprised by the outcome, and we have exceeded our initial expectations. 

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