Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom is testing a system of electronic purchasing to make the supply chain within the nuclear industry more efficient. The new purchasing method was presented to suppliers at the VIII International Forum of Nuclear Industry Suppliers "Atomex 2016.

Over the past seven years Rosatom has managed to significantly increase its portfolio of orders, both in Russia and abroad. The volume of goods and services purchased by enterprises of the nuclear industry through competition has increased some 40-fold over the years from RUB20bn ($320m) to RUB800bn and the number of procurement procedures carried out each year is more than 60,000. However, each procurement procedure involves a large amount of paperwork and takes a lot of time.

"The world has changed. We cannot work in the old way to fulfil all existing and future orders in time, we need to engage in procurement faster”, said Roman Zimonas, Rosatom’s director of procurement, logistics and quality management. “The challenge now is to reduce the time taken in paper processes 10 times." He added that currently more than 50% of the total number of competitive procedures Rosatom undertakes involves small purchases costing less than RUB1m. But they represent just over 1% of the total value of purchases. “We spend more than half of all our effort implementing a tiny part of our tasks."

In order to restore the balance of the distribution of effort it should be possible to facilitate the procurement process for simple standard products, such as office equipment and supplies, clothing, office furniture, etc. In this connection, Rosatom has carried out a pilot project to introduce a new electronic trading platform (ETP) enabling such purchases to be made with just a few clicks. Currently, this method of procurement is being implemented in Moscow City Hall. If the customer needs to buy a printer, or a chair, he selects an appropriate code for the product, and describes the qualitative, quantitative, and technical requirements. In response to this request, the customer receives from the ETP a selection of proposals. The winner is chosen by one criterion – the price. To participate, vendors need to go through a simple registration on the ETP and confirm their readiness to sign a model contract.

At present, the time Rosatom needs to carry out a method of procurement such as a "request for quotation can be 25 to 78 days. By comparison, procurement through the "E-shop" needs an average of only two days. Forum participants, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, reportedly showed great interest in the system.