DPD GeoPost Service GmbH

Projectplace has brought transparency and thus efficiency to our project – for us a concrete benefit
Lothar Preis, DPD GeoPost Service GmbH

Transparent record of project progress

The company

Parcels for business customers

With around 7,500 employees in 75 branches, DPD is the market leader in the field of B2B parcel shipment. Founded in 1976 by 18 medium-sized freight companies as Deutscher Paket Dienst, DPD now stands for Dynamic Parcel Distribution and is part of an international network: the DPD majority shareholder since 2001 had been GeoPost, a subsidiary of the French company La Poste. After the entry of GeoPost the decentralised structure of the company in Germany initially remained intact. This also applied to the Finance area. Thus different independent accounting systems from the early days still existed. "Everyone had to settle up for the same items – parcel shipment and ancillary services – but everyone did it their way," explains the authorised signatory Lothar Preis.

The requirement

Internet-based data storage

With different systems in place an increase in efficiency would have been hard to achieve; individual programs, hardware and processes tied up resources and cost money. Lothar Preis was responsible for the change to a uniform software. For him this also meant coordinating collaboration with various branches and external advisors on site. Using a centralised data storage, relevant documents were to be made available and the open-items list was to be kept and made accessible. Initial attempts with a dedicated server and VPN access did not, however, run as well as they might have done. "Reliable integration of the external partners was not successful. Firewalls usually prevented the connection with the server," explains Lothar Preis. The authorised signatory then tried out the project software of a well known company. "As a tool it was unsuitable for us." The complex handling meant that users would first have to acquire great expertise before being able to use the software; it was not intended for transmission of data to external third parties. "The solution was also very expensive." So Lothar resorted to emails, kept the open-items list in Excel and sent documents as attachments. This was often complicated and required great administrative outlay: Had every employee been informed, and had all the requisite data been received? Did everyone know about their assignments and the progress of the project? "And you had to be careful to actually use the current version of a document." A colleague then brought Projectplace into the equation.

The solution

Transparency in all project areas

Lothar Preis had clear requirements regarding functionality. "The centrally filed documents should be versionable, and access to them should feature different rights, depending on the user." As a web-based solution, Projectplace met the basic requirement. Internet access and a web browser suffice, and joint data storage can be achieved regardless of the location.

With their password it was easy for the project participants to log in, external staff could also be connected straightforwardly. Their access rights were set beforehand by Lothar Preis, and the authors were able to lock their documents against further processing. "That was also important to us, because as well as the active employees we also had many stakeholders. They were then able to view the documents but not change them." The authorised signatory was thus able to make his project transparent for everyone. The possibility of versioning also contributed to this. Whilst the open-items list continued to be kept in Excel – "the system was recognised amongst the employees" – it was now centrally stored and was guaranteed to be in the current version. The progress of the project was incidentally recorded. Lothar Preis found that this contributed towards efficiency. "Documentation of the individual steps also prevented us duplicating work. The information is also binding and the content is safeguarded." The project manager extended the original area of application in the course of time. "Projectplace also proved very useful for assignments and resource planning and for member administration." He thus created the area Factual Documentation, which was so to speak the project library, including basic documents such as training data and memo lists, whilst in the area Project Management documents regarding daily business were to be found, e.g. open-items lists, invitations, records and member data. Initial doubts regarding storage of data on a foreign Internet server were quickly dispelled. One of the things that convinced Lothar Preis was Projectplace's security features. "And you furthermore make your own decisions as to which documents you make available. Sensitive customer data, for example, remains on our closed company servers."

Overall, the authorised signatory thinks use of Projectplace has proved its worth. "Not least because of its transparency, there were fewer misunderstandings and thus fewer delays – a concrete benefit." In the project follow-up phase he is using Projectplace for smaller assignments. "And when it's time for roll-out of the accounting system at branches abroad, Projectplace will doubtless be a boon."

Lothar Preis

DPD GeoPost Service GmbH's authorised signatory has introduced a uniform accounting system for DPD in Germany.