A bold new venture seeks to revolutionise Sri Lanka’s tender and procurement system by automating the buyer-seller experience and easing the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. www.greentape.lk is Sri Lanka’s online procuring platform that offers a certified and verified vendor base. The Platform which aims to create a level playing field for procurement in the Country was launched in November 2020. Within a short time span it is already serving a base of over 30 high profile buyer companies. They have successfully concluded more than 700 tenders amounting to some half a billion Rupees in business for over 3000 registered suppliers. The Suppliers comprise a good cross-section from very small to large businesses and also businesses from overseas.
Green Tape is a multi-tenant cloud platform conceptualised, designed, developed and brought to market by Affno Virtual Market (Pvt) Limited (AVM). Buyer companies can enhance process and spend efficiency as well as institute an organisational change whilst sellers get easy and cost-effective access to these buyer companies.
Nissanka Weerasekera, Chairman of AVM and a pioneer in the tech institutional investor community in Sri Lanka, explained that procurement is the Cinderella of automation and productivity improvement in business. “Its relative immaturity compared to other corporate functions results in companies standing to lose considerably. The loss is not just financial but also reputational. And what’s worse, the loss is for the most part out of the view of business owners. As such, procurement remains the covert bane of business.”
“By attracting large volumes of B2B buyers and sellers to one place to transact, network effects would multiply the value of any one buyer or seller being present on the Platform, giving each buyer and seller far greater reach”, explained AVM’s Managing Director and co-founder of the Affno Group, Suren Kannangara. Effectively, buyer companies would be in a better position to get the best prices owing to their ability to attract and work with a larger number of suppliers; and suppliers would be able to grow their business faster and cost effectively by being able to easily access new buyer companies.
The Platform streamlines everything for buyers from tender creation, review and approval, to reaching the best suppliers, managing clarifications and submissions, and identifying the best bid. Among the buyer companies on-board are prominent groups such as Sunshine Holdings, Access Engineering and McLarens who have very large procurement functions and an elaborate process. “They need to get multiple approvals and control costs. With such tedious requirements, they now find business easier and smoother with Green Tape. Also, for suppliers, it also dramatically simplifies the process, encouraging them to place greater value on the opportunity to serve the buyer companies’ needs. This ensures buyer companies get the best product at the best price”, added Kannangara.
The initial registration to the platform is offered free of charge while for a nominal fee of Rs. 858 per month a supplier gets access to at least ten buyer companies. “We want to make the platform affordable and accessible to all suppliers irrespective of their size. With a simple, transparent and customizable system, we can reduce the inefficiencies and help buyers find suppliers, and suppliers find clients. Our aim is to make business smoother and to create opportunity”, concluded Amal Karunaratne, Chief Operating Officer of AVM.
Adapting to the new normal amid the current pandemic, Green Tape helps businesses to grow with faster onboarding mechanisms and submissions. Unique features of the system allow users to navigate with ease and allows convenient access to new partnerships and opportunities with minimal effort. Green Tape has set its objectives to streamline the current process of procuring with a more simplistic and transparent system that helps suppliers and buyers to reach out with the aim of creating more business opportunities.
‘Dollar reserves in SL plummet drastically, putting the economy in jeopardy‘
By Steve A. Morrell
Sri Lanka’s dollar reserves have declined from $ 7.15 billion in 2019 to $ 2.8 billion currently. The President conceded economic failures although reasons for such failure were not explained, chairman, National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Canisius Fernando said.
Fernando added recently at a forum: “Forex reserves are insufficient to expedite payment of import bills. More so that cost incurred on container traffic for imports and or exports was on a rising spiral. In comparison to cost of container shipping recorded at $ 2,800 earlier, it is now $ 12,000, indicating a rise in multiples of 250.
“Additionally, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP +) affecting our trade with EU countries, placed Sri Lanka’s reputation at a risk, meaning that countries could veer away from Sri Lanka prompted by a possible inability to honor our trade commitments. The clear example being trade with the US. Rather than await goods and services transactions with Sri Lanka, that could invariably take three months, US economists and their trade sector opted to transact trade with countries in close proximity to US shores.
“Dearth of container traffic and rising cost for on- loading and off- loading of cargo seriously affect trade imbalances. Consequently, the credit worthiness of the Sri Lankan economy is affected, which in turn seriously affects the GDP.
“Worker wages which were static because of trade shut- downs caused demands for increased wages. Wage demands of Rs 1,500 from employees became a major phenomenon in most sectors. The question at issue was the hypothetical position of business establishments of about 4000 employees demanding increased wages. This would cause closure of those companies resulting in unemployment.
“The proverbial domino effect of such repercussions would cause further chaos in the economy.
“There was no proper policy in most sectors. Suspension of the import of fertilizer and consequent confusion would, in the short run, result in famine and food shortages. Already this was evident in the public panic caused by having to stand in line to purchase essentials. That the crisis is upon us and the question of a quick solution is not feasible in the current context of the economy.
“Foreign investors are lured by the possibility of cheap labour in Sri Lanka to establish their businesses here, but in this instance too, this is only a hypothetical situation but not the reality.”
Supuni Products gives back by way of welfare initiative, helps to uplift the needy patients with chronic illnesses
Supuni Products first started in 2016 when the business proprietor, Supuni Lakmalie along with her husband only had Rs. 150 as investment. With that small amount, they purchased kollu (lentils) and kurakkan and ground them using a grindstone. This was the beginning for them and today, Supuni Products is a booming enterprise that specializes in ground spices and cereal, operating from the town of Nildandahinna, Walapane. Their products are of very high quality and 100% natural and consists of 15 different spice and cereal products including chilli, coriander, turmeric, pepper, curry powder, kurakkan, lentil (kollu) etc.
In 2018, Supuni Products received the opportunity to supply kurakkan flour and cereal to be included into the Poshana Malla, which is a nutrition package prepared for pregnant women, instigated by the government. The success of their business was such that they were able to gain an equity of over Rs. Four million during the past three years.
As part of a welfare initiative, they have also pledged to allocate one rupee for every kilogram of product sold, towards supporting patients with financial difficulties and require emergency surgery and for those with chronic diseases. While having had to run a business in the confines of their own home, the grant offering they received from the enterprise project allowed them to complete construction work of their new factory. She now hopes to expand the business, improve their supply chain, and create new employment opportunities.
Dialog Enterprise offers Dell Technologies Cloud IaaS in Sri Lanka
Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, is working with Dell Technologies Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) in Sri Lanka to offer Dell Technologies Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions to customers to innovate and scale rapidly, reduce costs and increase performance of business-critical infrastructure.
“Together, with our combined forces, we bring the only hybrid multi-cloud partnership in the country, giving access to private clouds as well as to our existing public cloud, and for on-premises infrastructure, robustly powered by Dell Technologies and VMWare. Envisioning a one-stop multiservice solution for all enterprise requirements, we strive continuously to keep to the changing landscape strengthening the cloud play in the arena,” said Navin Pieris, the Vice President – Enterprise Business and Large Enterprise Sales, Dialog Axiata PLC.
Rather than making capital investments in hardware, storage and servers to maintain them, enterprises can harness and scale IaaS resources when needed, paying only for infrastructure services they consume. Mitigating and allowing for any threat of data loss, the cloud partnership also offers cyber recovery as a service with a guaranteed uptime of 99.95%, end-to-end management of data centers and 24×7 support with zero operational burden on the customer. Ensuring the same standardization, self-service, automation and analytics capabilities that exist in the public cloud, the partnership facilitates secure private clouds for customers along with servers, storage and customized enterprise, private and/or public cloud solutions as required by enterprises.
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