Digital Processes Begin with People in Paraguay

Plant and Seed Quality and Health organization slashes redundancies to improve trade

Inefficient paper processes used to severely delay operations at Paraguay’s National Plant and Seed Quality and Health Service (SENAVE). Staff could not process importer and exporter client requests at the brisk pace of business, weighing down commerce and reducing Paraguay’s global agricultural competitivity.

Participants from SENAVE’s 14 departments review workshop materials

In February 2021 the T-FAST project purchased three Nutanix hyperconvergence servers for SENAVE. The project complemented hardware improvements by leveraging an expert team of trainers to host a workshop series with the institution’s staff. The goal was for SENAVE’s staff to review their paper-based processes and reengineer them for a digital transformation.

This five-month workshop series was a technical capacity and team-building space. SENAVE staff used the workshops to share experiences among colleagues from different departments. As they documented their own paper-based processes and migrated them to digital workflows, the teams grew to understand cross-departmental challenges and opportunities. Through their teamwork, 103 participants designed the new workflows to cut redundancies across the institution. As a result, they reduced times by anywhere from 12 to 51 percent, depending on the process.

“It used to take us up to 3 days to complete the process of Registry of Technical Advisor. Now documents are uploaded immediately and if the user pays the fees, it is approved instantly,” said Magali Delgado, SENAVE’s Input Control and Evaluation Department Head.

“These workshops enabled us to create new solutions and installed [in us] the capacity to replicate these trainings to improve other processes as well,” added Olga Pavon, SENAVE’s Quality Management Department Head. Replication is an important piece of the digitalization puzzle for SENAVE. T-FAST equipped the institution to reengineer five processes in 2021. Using best practices and lessons learned from T-FAST staff and consultants, SENAVE plans to reengineer and digitize a further six processes of its own accord in 2022.

T-FAST is a USDA Food for Progress initiative in Paraguay implemented by IESC. The project aims to simplify, modernize, and harmonize agricultural trade processes in Paraguay. The project motivates and incentivizes collaboration across the Paraguayan government, the private sector, and donors to achieve maximum impact; builds organizational and human capacity of the National Trade Facilitation Committee and institutions involved in regulating and facilitating agricultural trade; and addresses Category C Notifications of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) while fostering a culture of continuous improvement to enable Paraguay’s overall compliance with TFA standards.