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DTVP Interview: City of Rottweil

Logo Rottweil

Some 90 km south of Stuttgart, and with a population of around 25,000, Rottweil is the oldest city in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. It is the largest city in and administrative centre of the District of Rottweil and a hub for the surrounding municipalities.
There are some 350 employees of the municipal administration who look after the concerns of these municipalities. The municipal administration of Rottweil has opted to use DTVP for its tendering procedures and has been using the German Contracting Portal since 2013.
Curious to learn more about the reasons for and experience with DTVP, we asked Mr Christian Frisch of the Audit Office of the City of Rottweil for an interview.

DTVP:
What motivated you to introduce an electronic contracting solution?


Mr Frisch:
With the announcement of implementation of the EU procurement directives and the revision of the lower threshold, it was clear to city administrators that this would gradually become mandatory. In 2013, the Audit Office – we were already aware of electronic tendering procedures – proposed the introduction of e-procurement to top-level officials, identifying not only the many advantages but also the few disadvantages involved.

DTVP:
How were tendering procedures normally handled in the past?

Mr Frisch:
These were always in accordance with VOB/VOL or supplemental to our instructions. Specifically, there were publications in the regional newspaper and the State Gazette, and documents were sent by post. So there was therefore a high demand for printed copies of the bills of quantities, which we had to keep on hand. For the public tenders, clearing was carried out with clearing checks, which is complicated. Plans, bills of quantities, etc. were copied to CDs, which is always a time-consuming task.
The submissions were inspected according to the principal of dual review, and the documents were then punched using hole punches with dates. To prevent corruption, the bills of quantities were scanned and sent to an external consultant prior to submission. Further reviews were performed in accordance with the regulations of VOB/VOL.

DTVP:
How did you find out about DTVP?

Mr Frisch:
We average about 80 contracts a year and have searched the Internet for various providers to simplify the procedures. We were primarily focussed on introducing an electronic procurement solution. In our opinion, DTVP scored best in terms of price/performance ratio, user-friendliness and its hotline for customer support.

DTVP:
What standards, criteria and objectives did you associate with the introduction of DTVP?

Mr Frisch:
We systematically considered requirements as to the standards and established parameters a tendering platform must fulfil. On the one hand, our objectives were to reduce costs by saving paper documents and the burning of CDs, as well as the complicated clearing of clearing checks at the cashier’s office. On the other hand, we wanted to digitally secure the tender documents in the effort to prevent bidder corruption. We don’t use scanning or hole punches any more.

DTVP:
Did your specifications also take the interests of the bidders into account?

Mr Frisch:
Ensuring that bidders would generally not bear any costs was a knockout criterion for us. Documents also needed to be easy to download, without much effort.

DTVP:
How important were the framework conditions of bidders of e-tendering solutions for you?

Mr Frisch:
The short notice periods with DTVP were very positively received by our administrators. Other providers want 24-month contracts. This gave us an opportunity to test DTVP thoroughly without incurring any cost risk. The links to the tender and the free automatic display of our announcements on the homepage of the City of Rottweil were another positive aspect. Before that, the homepage featured a table that required regular updating.

DTVP:
What was your experience with DTVP like, from the start of the project to the first electronically conducted tendering procedure?

Mr Frisch:
The first contact, and some that followed, was made by e-mail. It wouldn’t be so good to resolve contractual issues over the telephone. The next step was to create the clients, and DTVP assisted us with that. There was no need for a separate interface to display announcements on our homepage; it was included as part of the package instead. There was no need for assistance with first-time use or for assistance with the procedures.

DTVP:
How quickly did DTVP respond to queries?

Mr Frisch:
On contract issues, there was usually a response within 24 hours. The hotline is always easy to reach. A solution is available on the spot or by callback within three to four hours. There’s nothing to complain about there. We feel sufficiently informed at all times.

DTVP:
How did your bidders respond to the changeover?

Mr Frisch:
Initially, in 2013, participation was very subdued. Acceptance is now very high.

DTVP:
How did the training of employees go and what was their reaction?

Mr Frisch:
After DTVP was set up, I took care of the introduction and training of the employees. In the process, I notified DTVP of their assessment of electronic worksteps. All in all, there weren’t any problems. Because the solution is Internet-based, no workstation installation was required. It wasn’t long at all before the employees were able to work with DTVP.

DTVP:
Are you satisfied with the German Contracting Portal and the implementation of the specifications in line with EU procurement directives?

Mr Frisch:
Yes, we feel very secure with the solution by DTVP.

DTVP:
Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for improvement?

Mr Frisch:
Individual aspects are in need of improvement at DTVP. Linking to other platforms is somewhat cumbersome, for example; each platform has to be clicked individually. That could certainly be simplified.

DTVP:
You probably mean the function for forwarding the announcement to other private publishing platforms (except TED and bund.de). Thank you very much for that suggestion, Mr Frisch. Of course we’re glad to take that into consideration.
And last but not least, the most important question: After around six years of experience with the German Contracting Portal, are you satisfied? Have you achieved your objectives?

Mr Frisch:
The savings of time are particularly evident in the case of large-scale projects. There’s no longer any need to keep bills of quantities on hand. The need to burn CDs has vanished. Clearing checks don’t exist any more. Documentation of communications with bidders is ensured, and the scanning of bidder documents has been eliminated. Tenderers can download the bills of quantities around the clock and free of charge. And finally, we save ourselves the cost of publishing in newspapers. All these arguments were actually described by DTVP in advance, and that is exactly what happened.

We want to thank Mr Frisch for the interview!

 

 

 

Date: Monday, March 11 2019