Purchasing client for Umeå Municipality - Implemented 2015

Completed: Summer 2014  Duration: 8 weeks  Employer: Umeå municipality


 

Challenge

The project had several challenges. One was to create a workflow within the, already decided, process map that could be used to purchase anything in the world, and that also would provide a great user experience.

Background

After a collaboration service design UID-course with the municipality, they hired me as a consultant for the summer to work on their future procurement system. The new system was was based on a radically new principal. In this system, all 11.000+ employees should have the possibility to express their purchasing needs and participate in the procurement process. The new system would be accessible for everyone and be used for everything. If they needed to buy shoes for a newly arrived refugee or a new car, they would have to start by communicating this in the new system.

 

 
 
 

Communicate your need in three steps

The final result turned out different from what myself and the project team had imagined in the beginning. However,  since it was a flexible solution that solved the big problems in simple ways, they chose to develop and implement it.  

This scenario contains all screens including tutorials and conversation between employee and purchaser.

 

 

Research

 

The project relied heavily on user studies and co-creation session. This was done to make sure that the needs of the real users were understood and stayed central throughout the process. These pictures were taken when I spent the day at different work places within Umeå municipality such as schools and refugee centres.

The image shows a paper system that was used to keep track of orders placed using the previous system

The old system required the staff to use third party software and websites to find the items and services they needed

 

 

"The local government has decided it's going to work like this. Now you just have to make it work" 

- Gabrielle Eriksson, Project manager

 
 
 Original process map of the new procurement system

Original process map of the new procurement system

 

Co-creation

 

"The most important thing for me is good feedback and to be able to talk to a human being"

- Answer found in evaluation forms used in workshop one and two

 

 
 
  Co-creation workshops were used to understand the diversity of Umeå municipality's employees daily situations and needs. 

Co-creation workshops were used to understand the diversity of Umeå municipality's employees daily situations and needs. 

  Four main concepts were created and evaluated together with the users.   

Four main concepts were created and evaluated together with the users.   

 
 

 

Simplifying a complex process

The simplest way - The final concept was based on what the users expressed and created during the co-creation sessions, and what was possible to implement. From a UI perspective it turned out that it was possible to create a direct link between the users expressing their needs and the dedicated purchasers. This greatly reduced the need to create and maintain communication barriers between the two. Items and services from Umeå municipality's subcontractors could now be located and shown directly to the employees, based on their needs.