Working as a team makes it easier to develop innovative projects that contribute to improving any company’s activities, including Sacyr. Carlos Montero and Gonzalo Herranz from Valoriza Medio Ambiente were named the winners in the most recent Natural Innovators awards for their collaborative spirit and joint effort; it led them to develop an innovative control system to optimise and improve mobility services and develop systems for regulated parking services. We asked them to tell us a little more about the projects which have earned them the appreciation of all their colleagues and what this award has meant to them.
Montero and Herranz have been working on ongoing improvements to the computerised management system belonging to Valoriza Servicios Medioambientales which is used to provide the regulated parking services operated by the company. The system offers traceability of fines and revenues and makes both employees' work and equipment maintenance easier. The improvement consisted of cameras and registration plate recognition software (Optical Character Recognition, or OCR) being incorporated into the mobility services, by loading them onto vehicles, to enable regulated parking data bases to be analysed, or locating them on fixed supports in Priority Residential Areas where only local residents and traders in the area are permitted to drive. “A system has been built into the vehicle removal and custody services which enables traceability of the tow truck service, from the point a vehicle has been fined to when it is collected by the user from the municipal depot after having paid the fee or fine set in the local municipal regulations”, explained the winners.
Their development of systems for regulated parking services involved “installing sensors for disabled parking, loading bay and special parking places, such as those reserved for taxis”. Carlos Montero and Gonzalo Herranz have also been working on incorporating screens showing the occupation rate for on-street parking for different areas with the aim of organising the flow of vehicles and calming the traffic.
For the parking payment app, Montero and Herranz used the technology currently available to increase flexibility and automate procedures relating to regulated parking, ranging from paying fees to providing service information and even cancelling any fines. “This is how we are attempting to harmonise day-to-day users, optimisation and better use of our systems. The fact you don’t have to be physically standing in front of the parking machine to interact with it and get a ticket for your vehicle, or to know in real time if it's been given a fine, is an advantage, which users appreciate and therefore use”, they explained.
The inclusion of this type of improvements also enables much more efficient monitoring of the service, providing a lot more information, such as the occupation rate in a specific area or the use made of the system in real time.
All Carlos and Gonzalo's success and good practice would not have been possible without the efforts of many others, as this is a multi-disciplinary venture in which working as a team is essential. “To achieve the objective of the service operating in the most efficient manner there are many steps which have to be taken, from the starting point of studying the terms and conditions governing the tender procedure, right up to programming the final computer algorithm, defining an optimum regulation and supervision model and planning the employee work schedule”, they explained. This is why the teams include IT engineers, civil engineers, telecoms engineers and industrial engineers. “We also have personnel who are experts in labour relations and human resources”, they pointed out.
The award winners said it was “a great joy to see the work performed by our teams rewarded, as well as being a boost for future challenges. Seeing that the company where you work takes into account this type of initiatives is extra motivation which, without any doubt, helps when tackling new projects”.
Talent and innovation are synonyms for success in any enterprise. Carlos and Gonzalo are committed to innovation as the lever for encouraging growth at Sacyr. “As competition is growing every day, we always have to offer our customers more efficient services designed to provide considerable savings, while ensuring the anticipated results”. The mindset of the award winners is very clear. “We have to use tools that improve our productive processes, and therefore we need to be at the forefront of current needs and trends”, they concluded.