With contracts of more than 270 000 products and services, the Bundesbeschaffung GmbH (BBG) is the procurement service provider of the public sector. By pooling purchases, the purchase price can on average be reduced by 18 percent, in some procurement categories even by a multiple thereof. The customers not only come from the area of federal agencies, but are also public clients of the federal states, municipalities, universities and health care facilities. Starting with the fleet, the product range via IT and office furniture, also covers textiles and cleaning material. BBG was founded in 2001. In 2013, approximately 1.2 billion Euros were made via the contracts of the BBG. All departments and organizations that are contracting public clients may use the services.
Product and supplier quality and a fair assessment of bidders are at the top of the list when issuing public tenders. However, prior to the introduction of ECLASS media breaks occurred during tender and procurement processes, causing data from multiple suppliers to be recorded and checked manually multiple times. Within the framework of the EU project PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online) uniform standards were developed for public procurement in Europe.
As an active member the BBG has been involved in the project in the Austrian PEPPOL consortium. The use of ECLASS for the definition of product characteristics in tenders was invesigated. Then the decision was made to introduce ECLASS for the future classification of product features and catalogs.
The objectives through the use of ECLASS are:
- Use of an established B2B standards for public procurement and the provision of standardized product features for tenders on the basis of ECLASS characteristics
- Standardization of the business documents and data formats in the tendering phase, as well as the order and delivery phase
The implementation of ECLASS was carried out by Paradine GmbH. At the same time the eCatalog service portal was introduced as a web-based solution for building and managing product characterisics.
In the pre-award, the tendering phase, the purchasing specialists BBG relied on a single application for creating product characterisics. Thus, the efficiency can be maximized when documenting them with the buyers. The specifications based on ECLASS are provided as an electronic catalog. In the tendering phase tenderers realize a reduction in processing costs and cycle times through the provided eCatalog. In the post-award phase the eCatalogs that are completed by the supplier are imported in the BBG e-Shop. The structured product feature description based on the ECLASS standard enables users to compare products.
With the implementation of the BBG eCatalog service portal BBG Europe takes a leading role in the integration depth of eBusiness standards in public procurement.
National tenders that go beyond the EU contribution limits have to be tendered Europe-wide. Because of the system used, all 16 languages provided by ECLASS are supported.
Thanks to the structured product feature description based on the ECLASS standard, it is easier for users to compare products. The avoidance of redundancy and streamlining the entire process led to an optimization of both processing time and transparency. Compliance and data security as well as the reduction of misunderstandings and queries resuling from clearly defined requirements throughout the process chain, have turned the use of ECLASS in the BBG into a success story.