Espoo earns award for best developer of public procurement practices

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2019-03-28 10:35

Procurement experts in a meeting in front of a wall with lots of post it notes
Ari Erkinharju, Procurement Director of the City of Espoo, gives credit for the award to the competence and dedication of his staff. 

The City of Espoo has earned the award for best developer of public procurement practices. First of its kind, the award will be presented annually to a municipality or another public community best in developing their public procurement performance.

The winner was chosen by the Procurement Days event organization of Junior Chamber International Tampere in collaboration with the public procurement team of the Finnish Association of Purchasing and Logistics LOGY. The award was presented at the Procurement Days event continuing in Tampere.

What impressed the award givers most was Espoo’s recognition of procurement as a part of the city’s strategy and a strategic tool. Compared to other cities, Espoo has managed to elevate their procurement strategy to a completely new level. Espoo was praised as an excellent example of how to develop procurement and its effectiveness exploiting the resources of a large organization.

Ari Erkinharju, Procurement Director of the City of Espoo, gives credit for the award to the competence and dedication of his staff and to the city’s management team for recognizing procurement as a strategic activity involving the entire city, with cross-sector and cross-unit collaboration as the key element.

– Procurement plays an important role in the organization of services. We have been collaborating across all units in order to improve the processes. Therefore credit should be given not only to the staff of the procurement centre but also to the entire city, Erkinharju says.

Managers designated for internal customers

One of the selectors of the award winner, LOGY considers the resources of a big city as one of the assets of Espoo in developing their procurement practices. On the other hand, an organization with 14.000 employees producing an extremely wide range of services provides a challenge to creating uniform, well-functioning ground rules for all.

– Since August 2016 we have been systematically developing our procedures, the designation of service area managers being one of our most successful innovations. In other words, all Espoo’s service areas now have a manager responsible for procurements, reinforcing our ability to take the specific needs of each service area into consideration, Erkinharju explains.

By virtue of investment in the development of best practices, consistent long-range planning is being increasingly employed in the procurement of the City of Espoo today. Monitoring and evaluation of procurement decisions has also improved significantly.

Instead of ending with this award, our good work will continue. This year, among other things, a new smart procurement management system enhancing both the processes and data collection will be introduced in Espoo. Additionally, concrete plans and specifications of how to integrate procurement management into the city’s management organization will be prepared.

– Changes as significant as this take time, and we keep learning new things all the time. We will continue to improve our procurement performance consistently with regard to larger entities and by upgrading the processes and working methods currently in use, Erkinharju states.

Additional information

Procurement Director Ari Erkinharju, City of Espoo
tel. 040 759 8743,

CEO Markku Henttinen, LOGY
tel. 044 336 7083, (award and grounds for the award)