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Basic information about supplier qualification

You can get basic information about supplier qualification at Deutsche Bahn here.

The following criteria determine whether your company is basically suitable in terms of procurement law to become a potential contract partner of Deutsche Bahn

  • Expertise
  • Capability
  • Reliability (including law-abidance)

Supplier qualification is carried out according to product group and is usually independent of any specific award procedure. A product group defines a specific range of products or services. A company can be qualified for several product groups.A special, more formal type of supplier qualification which again is independent of any specific award procedure entails the setting up and management of an auditing system pursuant to Section 24 SektVO (Sector Regulation) for reviewing the suitability of potential applicants (prequalification). This is carried out for selected supplies/services.

Supplier qualification is a component of supplier management at DB AG. Its goal is an optimum selection of suppliers based on objective results from supplier qualification, appraisal and development and considering aspects of procurement and public funding law.
Supplier qualification serves to verify minimum suitability of suppliers for supply/service in DB Group product groups.
This verification is independent of any specific tender and must be repeated regularly in a requalification.

All companies wanting to become suppliers for the DB Group must qualify.

For selected product groups (product/service ranges) in the "low" requirements class, the qualification is done during the actual award process and via the WebPortal. This also applies for purchasing by foreign subsidiaries of the DB-Group.

During supplier qualification, every supplier must select the product/service ranges (product groups) for which it wishes to qualify. Based on its included supplies and services, each product group is assigned to a requirements class.

Different review modules are used, depending on the individual classification:

  • Low: basic data such as contact, bank and tax information (request in the process of a specific award)
  • Normal: as for "low" plus expertise, capability, reliability (qualification via WebPortal)
  • High: as for "normal" plus quality capability classification etc. (qualification via WebPortal)

Depending on the requirements class, companies are qualified for each product group at differing depths with differentiated requirements in each case.

review modules supplier qualification

Possible results of supplier qualification are:

  • qualified / not qualified
  • qualified, conditional on valid quality capability (Q) classification
  • prequalified / not prequalified (pursuant to Section 24 SektVO)

Following successful supplier qualification, your company will be accepted in the pool of potential contract partners. This is a prerequisite for entering into business relations with Deutsche Bahn.

Supplier qualification via the WebPortal is not required for supply/service for product groups in the "low" requirements class.
Suppliers are assessed during the award process and added to the product groups as qualified suppliers on acceptance.
In the following product groups, suppliers qualify during the actual award process and need not register in advance in the WebPortal (see list, only available in german): 

The validity of supplier qualification for product groups in the "low" requirements class is extended after every order

The supplier qualification is usually valid for four years. Before expiry of the validity, the supplier must apply at its own initiative for requalification via the WebPortal.

In justified cases, it is possible for the DB Group to withdraw a supplier's qualification. In this case, an application for requalification as a supplier is only possible after the end of a six-month blocking period. This also applies for failed supplier qualifications.

General supplier qualification is free of charge for you. However, costs will occur for specific supplier qualification such as the prequalification procedure. You can get detailed information from our supplier hotline and during supplier registration in the WebPortal.
Independent of supplier qualification, further costs can result from audits and certifications (such as manufacturer related product qualification) from DB quality assurance for suppliers in individual product groups.

A prequalification process is a verification system pursuant to Section 24 SektVO (Sector Regulation) and can be set up and applied independently of a specific tender process. With the prequalification process, suitability checks in a specific tender process can be replaced or shortened because it can be used for procurement processes as a call to competition, so it is similar to a preceding competition independent of an tender process. The checks in a prequalification process involve an assessment of whether a company is generally suitable for performing certain services. If specific tender processes occur later, then DB AG does not need to repeat the suitability checks for prequalified companies. The examination criteria can go beyond expertise, capability and reliability and must be clearly related to the impending orders; here DB AG may set up various assessment or qualification stages depending on the complexity of the respective subject matter. Prequalification processes established by DB AG are publicised throughout the EU.

Small companies:
Sole proprietorships are not required to provide a DUNS number during the supplier registration. Small businesses (all natural persons and small companies not subject to Section 1 (2) HGB (German Commercial Code) and thus not listed in the commercial register) should enter "KleinGW" in the corresponding field instead of a DUNS number.

Large enterprises:
In the DB Group, only one creditor per company (with its own legal entity and DUNS number) is kept. For supplier qualification, this means that for a branch (e.g. Northern Germany branch) a separate supplier qualification is neither necessary nor possible.

Subsidiaries with their own legal entities must qualify on their own if interested.The data provided in the qualification process should always refer to the qualifying company. If a subsidiary is involved, its own numbers such as sales, number of employees etc. must be provided and not those of its group as a whole.

In individual tender processes, supplier qualification will lead to simplification since it will not be necessary to resubmit all declarations/documents (e.g. extract from commercial register) for suitability checks for every tender process during the validity period of the supplier qualification.
In the tender process, a valid supplier qualification can be a decisive factor for being selected. Ongoing and future prequalification processes remain in force and are performed via the WebPortal during supplier qualification.

Manufacturer-related product qualification is part of the quality policy at Deutsche Bahn AG and consists of a facility assessment and the examination of products at an external test laboratory (DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025).

You can get more information at the following links:

Product groups with identical supplier qualification requirements are grouped into product categories.

Process flow

Here you will find an overview of the supplier qualification process. You will also get extra information on the supplier qualification process start and process alternatives.

supplier qualification_eAward

Supplier qualification is the entry to supplier management at DB AG and will be a condition for participation in tenders at DB AG in future. It does not matter whether tenders are granted via DB AG's electronic tender platform or the conventional way.

Qualified companies can extend their supplier qualification to other product groups at any time. To this end, they must apply for a new supplier qualification.

A requalification is the extension of supplier qualification for a specific product group.

Your company must submit an application for requalification in time before expiry of the supplier qualification, which is always of limited duration.
The process is similar to that for the initial supplier qualification. Your company submits an application for requalification in the desired product category with the registration in our WebPortal.

Categories in the "normal" and "high" requirements classes
For product groups in the "normal" and "high" requirements classes, your company can register on our WebPortal and apply for supplier qualification.

in the "low" requirement class
Supplier Qualification via the WebPortal isn’t required for supply/services for categories in the "low" requirement class. As part of the tender process, you will be added as a qualified supplier for the respective category once you are awarded a contract.

Information and access to the current tenders of Deutsche Bahn are available via the “DB tender Portal” or for example via the SIMAP-platform of the EU (see ‘further information’, right side).


Qualilfication process

During registration on our WebPortal, your company selects the product categories for which it wishes to apply for supplier qualification.

For confirmation of the registration application and acceptance of any costs resulting for you, your company will receive a confirmation mail with a link to your completed registration. The data entered there must be confirmed again by you. In this step, your company can also abort the registration; then your data would be deleted.

After successful confirmation of the supplier registration by your company and examination of your information, your company will receive an e-mail with a link to the questionnaire for the selected product category. For each product category, you will receive a separate e-mail with a corresponding link.
This questionnaire must be answered entirely and submitted online; then you will receive an e-mail with links for uploading supporting documentation.

In the next step, we will assess the information in the questionnaire and the supporting documents.
If all documents are plausible and complete, your company will be requested by e-mail to select the specific products/services (product groups) for which you want to qualify within the product category.
Now, your company must upload references specific to the product group into the system.
After final examination of your references, the decision about the qualification follows.

Your company receives the results with a supplier qualification certificate by e-mail.

In the product groups for which you receive no qualification, you can apply again for qualification after at least six months.
Following successful supplier qualification, your company will be accepted in the pool of potential contract partners.

Please note, however, that acceptance to the DB Group's supplier pool results in neither a direct claim on participation in a tender nor in an order. In addition, we reserve the right to request the submission of further or updated documents before participation in a tender.

For supply/service for product groups in the "normal" and "high" requirements classes, you can register your company on our WebPortal since 2013 and thereby submit an application for supplier qualification. The qualification process includes completing questionnaires related to supply and service and submitting any required documentation and references.

For suppliers in the "low" requirements class, advance registration on our WebPortal is not required. They are assessed directly during the tender (e.g. via the tender platform) and added to the corresponding product group as qualified suppliers once contracted.


Our documents about supplier management are available on this page.