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Developing an e-Auction platform for an Important e-Governance Initiative

Developing an e-Auction platform for an Important e-Governance Initiative

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Developing an e-Auction platform for an Important e-Governance Initiative

Synopsis

Get e-platforms or lose your competitive edge—our client was experiencing such a crossroad when they turned to us for efficiency and transparency in their auction system. The existing manual auction system was prone to human errors. We responded by developing an efficient e-auction system capable of carrying out the auction process using handheld devices in a wireless network environment. The system empowered farmers to directly sell their tobacco bales to the cigarette manufacturing companies through the client with benefits accruing to all stakeholders.

About the Client

The client, a recognized board, was established with an overall objective to help farmers reach the right buyers and ensure fair and remunerative prices for their produce.

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Business Challenge

The client strives to provide superior service to its customers—growers and traders—in a systematic manner. The existing manual system was incapable of handling the requirements because of the tedious process of consolidating data across various auction platforms. The system did not provide fair pricing to farmers, there was discrimination in allotment of bales, big buyers dominated small buyers, and scarce information was provided to the stakeholders. With no traceability and lack of transparency, the system was prone to errors.

The manual interference of employees led to unavailability of instant information, which further delayed the payment release process. Also, the client was not able to easily register growers, and the payment system was quite complex—reducing the overall efficiency.

The client chose us as a technology partner to automate the auction processes based on our capabilities and expertise to provide automated systems that increase employee productivity.

Our Solution

We developed a high performance, robust, and reliable e-auction system on a volume-based revenue pricing model. By providing 31 e-auction platforms—20 in Andhra Pradesh and 11 in Karnataka—we not only simplified administrative procedures but also envisaged the usage of handheld devices by farmers/bidders/client officials with a barcode scanner.

The new system made it simpler to access, process, and upload data. The following operations were activated on the system:

  • The grower brings tobacco bales and registers them for e-auction. Approximately 1000 bales are auctioned at each location each day (target time horizon of less than 15 seconds per auction).
  • Grower credentials are verified, bales are weighed, and a bale ticket is issued to the grower.
  • The client official (Classifier) grades the bale and updates the information in the system through the handheld device.
  • The bales are processed by another official (Auction Superintendent) and the starting price is fixed to initiate the bidding process.
  • The buyer submits and monitors bid submissions using handheld devices.
  • Buyers may update/increase the bid price, if required. After successful bid closure, the name of the bidder is displayed on the display system in the growers lounge area. If no bid is received for a bale, the bid is declared as ‘no-bid’, and the bale is not considered for future auctions.
  • The grower accepts the price and auction process is completed.

We partnered with the client to deliver rich functionality and MIS capabilities. We applied a flexible, modular, and maintainable architecture that helped us deliver a round-the-clock system that could conduct auctions on a real-time basis.

Our team was also engaged to provide infrastructure support, application development and management, project support—field support, data center support (pre- and post-implementation), and helpdesk support.

Delivering More Value

  • More Satisfaction: With market intermediaries excluded through e-auctioning, the farmers received fair pricing for their produce. The transparent bidding process also led to increased bidder satisfaction.
  • More Efficiency: We prevented buyer cartelization. Due to automation, there was no scope for human error, which increased the overall efficiency.
  • More Ease: We enabled easier and prompt consolidation across auction platforms.
  • More Improvements: Traceability of bales improved in the process. A level-playing field was provided for big and small buyers. The e-auction platform also facilitated a large number of bid submissions.
  • More Prompt: The system provided accurate and real-time information to stakeholders. Real-time collaboration between buyers and suppliers also reduced the inventory.

The NIIT Technologies Advantage

Approximately 50-100 villages covering about 2000-4000 growers were the major beneficiaries of the e-auction system developed by us. The system helped farmers get competitive rates for their produce minus intermediaries, with equal opportunity to small and big farmers to sell their produce at fair prices.

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