A Bangladeshi woman smiling at her smartphone
#Identity Technology

Service and maintenance: a passport to success

6 Mins.

Bangladesh’s transition to next-generation electronic passports is well underway. But how do you keep such a mammoth project running smoothly throughout its 10-year life cycle and beyond? The answer lies in service and maintenance.

When the first ePassport was presented to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, in Dhaka on January 22, 2020, it signaled a new era of border security for the South Asian nation. It was the first milestone in a €340 million project that would see Veridos provide holistic ePassport solutions over the next 10 years. 

The project began in 2018 when the Bangladesh government commissioned Veridos to supply ePassports and sophisticated border control systems, including eGates, across the country to counter identity fraud and streamline border logistics. They were also looking for a partner to help them establish a local production and personalization facility in Dhaka. Five years later, that facility is up and running at full capacity, producing up to 25,000 ePassports daily. In addition, more than 180 sites – of a planned 261 – have been established across Bangladesh and worldwide, including enrollment offices, special branch offices, data centers, and global missions.

Managing high production volumes and distributing secure documents to citizens in the eighth-most-populous country in the world is not without its challenges. Unexpected disruptions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters, as well as challenges with IT and machinery, can all destabilize production levels. As with any project of this scale, it is essential that these risk factors are taken into consideration and necessary steps are put in place to mitigate them. That’s where the service and maintenance team comes in.  

Close-up of a Bangladeshi passport

The importance of service and maintenance

Building of Passport Personalization Complex

Service and maintenance, in the context of this project, refers to the provision of support for the entire ecosystem, as well as the delivery of goods such as spare parts and consumables, for a 10-year period. The service and maintenance phase of the project in Bangladesh began as soon as the first ePassport was issued in January 2020.

Maintenance services, which encompass all machinery and IT infrastructure – both software and hardware–can be split into two pillars: preventive maintenance and corrective maintenance.  

Preventive maintenance is a proactive approach that involves routine inspections of all machinery and IT systems. The goal is to keep the system healthy and prevent as many incidents as possible. The frequency of these inspections depends on operational needs. For example, at the production facility in Dhaka, which is the most important part of the whole system, inspections are carried out weekly to ensure the machinery is functioning well and can consistently meet our goal of producing 25,000 ePassports each day. The same applies to the data center, where regular checks are carried out to assess the condition of the IT systems, network, databases, and application software solutions. At the regional and border control sites, however, IT infrastructure inspections take place quarterly.

Corrective maintenance is a reactive form of support that is employed when machinery or IT systems break down. In such cases, the 40-person local team steps in to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, based on defined response and resolution times. Depending on the urgency and severity of the failure, response times range from one hour to 12 hours, while resolution times – the more important of the two SLAs – can vary from 24 hours to five days for major incidents.

“Customer proximity is crucial. Having teams on customer premises that can deliver quick solutions to complex problems helps keep operations running smoothly.“
Igor Jovanović
Project Manager for Service, Veridos

Meeting these strict resolution times depends on several factors. Having close proximity to the customer with a team of 40 Veridos engineers providing level-two support is the first essential pillar. The second is ensuring international hardware and software vendors – in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Serbia, and Portugal – are also on hand to provide level-three support during non-standard office hours and on weekends, irrespective of time-zone differences. This ensures that issues too complex to be taken care of by our local teams are handled remotely, without proximity being an obstacle. 

Facilitating success with agile processes

“The professional work of the service and maintenance team has helped us achieve incredibly high productivity levels.“
Shankar Pahari
Operations Manager, Veridos

Since ePassport production began three years ago, the service and maintenance team in Bangladesh has resolved more than 20,000 incidents, ranging from unexpected parts failures to software bugs. “That doesn’t mean the system is unstable; it simply highlights how huge it is,” says Igor Jovanović, Project Manager for Service, Veridos, who is responsible for creating all maintenance processes and assembling the team in Bangladesh. “In terms of scope, this has been more of a program than a project, but we have now reached very high maturity levels in terms of team and system stability.”  

The results speak for themselves. “The professional work of the service and maintenance team has helped us achieve incredibly high productivity levels,” says Shankar Pahari, Operations Manager, Veridos. “In some respects, we are even overdelivering, because not only are we producing 25,000 passports per day, but we are doing so while maintaining a scrap rate below 1%. This makes the customer very happy because they can keep up with the high demand for ePassports while keeping costs low.”

Facts & Figures


the cost of the 10-year Veridos project


ePassports are produced every day at the production facility in Dhaka – an industry benchmark

0 0%

ePassport production scrap rate


incidents were resolved by the service and maintenance team during the first three years of the project

Success didn’t come overnight, however. Building a qualified local team played a critical role. “Customer proximity has been crucial,” says Jovanović. “Having teams on customer premises that understand the needs and can deliver quick solutions to complex problems helps keep operations running smoothly.” Another success factor is the team’s agile approach. “Although we work in a very process-oriented environment, we’ve had to be agile to react to shifting needs and unexpected events,” adds Jovanović. “The project requirements have changed so much over the last three years, but we’ve adapted.” Even the COVID-19 pandemic and seasonal flooding couldn’t throw the service and maintenance team off course. “Our team in affected regions really went above and beyond to make it to the sites and carry out inspections,” says Jovanović. In some instances, the local teams are even capable of offering level-three support, further reducing the need for international vendor assistance.

Looking ahead: challenges and opportunities

With the project running smoothly and delivering its targets, it’s tempting to assume that the service and maintenance team can sit back and comfortably manage the team’s established processes for the next seven years. However, there’s another form of preventive maintenance that needs to be considered: “One of the biggest challenges and priorities in the coming years will be managing the delivery and stocking of parts,” says Jovanović. 

As machinery suffers from wear and tear, and IT systems reach end-of-life or end-of-support, significant resources will be required for upgrade projects. Not only that, but these projects will also demand complex planning, since the majority of the required parts aren’t available locally. “If we don’t have the parts in Bangladesh, we can’t fix and upgrade machines quickly, so we can’t deliver our service effectively,” says Jovanović. “The process of shipping parts from Europe to Dhaka can be quite challenging, so we have to plan ahead as much as possible – at least six to 12 months in advance.”

It’s clear that the service and maintenance team will have their hands full throughout the project. But just as new challenges can arise unexpectedly, new technologies can also emerge. Inevitably, artificial intelligence is on the agenda. “Veridos’s innovations team is already developing AI-based solutions for the Bangladesh project,” says Jovanović. From managing stock more efficiently to improving response times using data from previous incident reports, there’s certainly no shortage of potential use cases. 

Whether these solutions are implemented or not, one thing is certain: the Veridos service and maintenance team is on the right path as the project enters its middle phase. Having succeeded in the initial implementation phases, the task now is to continue providing high-level support to operational teams and staying agile in order to maintain the system’s high productivity levels. If the Veridos team manages this, Bangladesh’s ePassport transition will likely go down as a success and serve as a blueprint for other countries.

Key takeaways

  1. Service and maintenance is crucial to the success of a major project like Bangladesh’s transition to ePassports. Maintenance consists of both preventive and corrective measures.
  2. A qualified local support team and an agile approach are required to meet strict resolution targets and adapt to unexpected events.
  3. Managing stock of spare parts and consumables will be critical to future machine repairs and IT upgrades – can AI lend a helping hand? 

Published: 30/06/2023

Share this article

Subscribe to our newsletter

Don’t miss out on the latest articles in G+D SPOTLIGHT: by subscribing to our newsletter, you’ll be kept up to date on latest trends, ideas, and technical innovations – straight to your inbox every month.

Please supply your details: