Kansas, 3M tangle over motor vehicle software

  • Article by: ADAM BELZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 2, 2012 - 8:31 PM

Jayhawk State withholds pay till 3M fixes problems tied to delays, but firm says the delays aren't its fault.

The state of Kansas said it won't pay 3M Co. for part of a motor vehicle software system the company built for it until the program is improved.

The Maplewood-based materials company won't be paid for the final 10 percent due on the $40 million system until 3M fixes problems that have caused long delays and lines at motor vehicle offices across the state since it was introduced in May, according to the Associated Press.

The Kansas Department of Revenue told 3M on Thursday that it needs to address problems with the system's response times, availability, breakdowns and maintenance. A 3M spokeswoman said in a phone interview Monday that 3M's software is not responsible for the problems that are causing the delays. Still, 3M has agreed to help Kansas with its data conversion issues, free of charge, she said.

The AP reports that treasurer offices in all 105 Kansas counties stopped handling motor vehicle registrations, driver's license applications and related business for about a week in May while the new system was installed. That caused a massive backlog when offices reopened as employees learned how to use the new system, which replaces technology installed in the mid-1980s.

The state's evaluation period for the system was supposed to end Saturday, but the timeline has been changed, Revenue Department spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda said in an e-mail to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

"While the State continues to work with 3M to improve the new motor vehicle system, we will not accept 3M's system until it operates according to the contractual requirements," Koranda wrote.

3M spokeswoman Jackie Berry said, "3M is committed to working with Kansas to resolve the issues and is not leaving until the system is fixed."

However, Berry also said that 3M was only responsible for developing the software for the motor vehicle department but was never responsible for training or the data conversion process of the project, which has caused the problems.

Berry added that "there are some technical issues" with 3M's software, but they are "small" and not contributing to delays.

Adam Belz • 612-673-4405 Dee DePass contributed to this article. 612-673-7725

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