”We are very happy that we won the very difficult tender because the Finnish TULLI is one of the most respected customs administrations in the whole world. In 2016, the World Bank declared it the 4th best one in the world out of 160 examined customs administrations,” comments Petr Franc, SBS CEO.
An extensive team consisting of several dozens Czech and Finnish experts will work on the system, and they will face not only the project’s extensive nature, but also high security demands. The objective rests in the system implementation as per the new EU customs legislation by 2020, maximally automatize customs processes, and provide support and maintenance for the new system in the following years.
The new customs declaration project was prepared thoroughly and in the long term, and the contractor selection was carried-out in the form of the several-step tender dialogue. Therefore, the ordering party learned in detail about the know-how, solution, and background of each individual tenderer and gradually recognized their strengths and weaknesses. It projected its findings to the tender documentation’s final wording and at the end, it chose a contractor with the best prerequisites for the tender’s successful realization.
“Before commencement of the tendering procedure, a market research was conducted, and we expected that a non-Finnish contractor might win the tender. We knew that no Finnish company has created a complex customs information system in accordance with the reference standards yet,” emphasizes Leila Lappalainen, the TULLI project manager.
The tender's first phase started in November, 2015, and its objective rested in compilation of the short list, e.g. a list of companies that meet the required qualification prerequisites; for example, demonstrable extensive experience with customs issues and compliance with strict economic, organization, and human resources requirements. At the end, the challenging qualification criteria were met only by two bidders. SBS had a competitor in one of the Scandinavian IT companies.
In the tender's second phase, the ordering party was studying the offered solution in detail, met the solution team members, learned about their professional knowledge and the company's processes related to project management, software development, information systems support provision, and last but not least, the ability to meet the challenging security requirements. Based on negotiation with both the bidders, the ordering party produced the final version of the tender documentation and ask both bidders for their final bids.
At the end of October, 2016, the ordering party evaluated the bid submitted by Solitea Business Solutions as the most suitable. The contract with the Finnish Customs Administration amounting to almost 22 million EUR was signed on14/ 12/ 2016 by Jarkko Saksou, TULLI CEO, and Anu Autio, TULLI CIO.
“We were not surprised that the Czech company won the tender. We required that the contractor would have demonstrable experience, and Solitea has great references, as well as strong professional customs administration knowledge. A similar system is already being used in the Czech Republic,” says Anu Autio, TULLI CIO.
The information system under preparation
The project’s major part will be supplied by Solitea Business Solutions; however, the Finnish-speaking experts and information related to the Finnish environment specifics will be provided by Fujitsu Finland as the subcontractor. Another Czech company, Transoft, who has been the SBS long-term partner for the customs system’s specific part, will also participate in the project.
The supplied system will be based on the Microsoft technologies, and it should replace the existing technologically heterogeneous information system with a new integrated and technologically homogeneous solution. Mutually interconnected key systems for the individual customs modes for import, export, and transit of goods via the road, railway, air, and in case of Finland also extended sea transportation will be gradually implemented. A lot of support systems will be supplied as well, such as Quotas (protection of the country's economic interests by limiting amounts of imported/exported goods of certain kind), Surveillance (special overviews of a predefined good type), or System for the customs debt calculations (duty, VAT, excise tax).
Solitea Business Solutions and customs agendas
IT support of customs agendas is the key specialization of Solitea Business Solutions, and it has more than 20 years of international experience in this field. SBS realized projects for Customs Administrations of the Czech Republic, Serbia, and Turkey. In the customs systems area, it provides the comprehensive solution that covers all key parts of the customs declaration process (import, export, transit), including the supporting systems. Thanks to the long-term cooperation with the Czech Customs Administration (which is one of the European members active in implementation of eCustoms systems that is very particular in interconnection and automation of all processes), SBS already has experience with solution that will be implemented in some other EU countries only in the future. The fully-automated import system, which was implemented by the Customs Administration of the Czech Republic as one of the first in Europe, is the example of such system. Thanks to this initiative, SBS is one of the few European companies that has experience with this solution. SBS believes that its complex experience and the quality of supplied solutions played one of the key roles in selection of the company as the solution supplier in Finland.