Photovoltaic panels on the Administration Building at the Maia Site.
The environmental impact of Efacec activities has two essential components: the development of services and products with an environmental value and an attempt to reduce the environmental impact from its activities.
Efacec develops its businesses with a special focus on those that have a positive impact on the planet. This way, its activities range from the implementation of renewable energies (wind, photovoltaic, hydro and wave), to the development and implementation of intelligent energy networks, installation of support systems for electric mobility, water/air treatment and, finally, recovery services for the majority of equipments the company produces.
In the wind energy area, Efacec produces turbines, electronic converters and provides maintenance services for wind parks. In photovoltaic systems, Efacec has been responsible for some of the country’s most important projects, such as the MARL plant and the plants in Madeira and Porto Santo. Efacec also performs maintenance services of mini-hydroplants and recently acquired 77% of Badcock & Brown’s position in the wave park of Aguçadoura in Portugal.
Efacec is responsible for the development of some of the more vital components of future intelligent energy networks, such as the awarded SmartGate product (a controller for distribution transformers). Efacec, along with other partners, is also deeply involved in the development of the future public network for loading electrical vehicles (Mobi-E) and in the experimental development process of an electrical bus (a project carried out in partnership with Salvador Caetano). Regarding international projects for light and urban metro systems, Efacec implemented solutions to both innovate and integrate signaling, surveillance, communication, control and power supply systems.
The Environment Business Unit, which already operates in Algeria and Romania, wants to extend its water treatment solutions to Brazil, Morocco, Mozambique, Angola and Spain, a strategy that is already taking place. The Servicing Business Unit keeps performing important operations towards reusing the majority of supplied products (and also from other manufacturers). These activities, distinguished from conventional repair procedures due to the high level of intervention required, significantly contribute towards reducing the consumption of materials.
Regarding the environmental impact of its activities, Efacec follows certain standards, which establish the use of methods and processes towards spending natural resources rationally, minimizing emissions and waste, reducing environmental risks and fulfilling all applicable laws and regulations.
The fulfillment of the majority of these requirements is ensured by the environmental management systems certification program. Efacec has all its Business Units (in the national territory) certified by ISO 14001 and has already initiated this process for international subsidiaries.
Environmental certifications have contributed towards the improvement of environmental performances and infrastructures. Efacec has recently invested in the construction of waste disposal sites in Arroteia and Maia, in order to avoid leakage from impounding basins and allow an adequate segregation of stored materials.
Regarding electrical energy and natural gas consumption, between 2007 and 2009, Efacec accomplished in reducing nearly 40% of its use (energy consumed per invoiced million euros), namely by making employees aware of the situation, installing new equipments and other initiatives. At the beginning of 2006, Maia’s Industrial Facility began to use an electrical energy microgeneration system with photovoltaic panels. The reduction of consumed energy naturally led to the respective reduction of CO2 emissions. Also between 2007 and 2009, the average consumption of water (water consumed per million euros) was reduced to about half.
Mountain walk organised by Adefacec.
Concerning Social and Human Rights, Efacec establishes standards in order to reject discriminating practices, child labor, forced labor and promoting freedom of association, good relations between partners, code of ethics/integrity and respect for other cultures and local customs. Regarding Labor Practices, Efacec establishes standards in order to implement healthy working conditions, providing a fair reward process, supporting the development of personal skills, increasing work autonomy, fostering respect among employees, accepting suggestions without any type of retaliation and balancing work with personal life.
Efacec’s recommended practices have the objective of preventing situations of discrimination, with the only exception in cases of disabilities (Efacec currently employs about 20 employees with disabilities). This way, recruitment, development, assessment, progress and compensation processes are established in order to ignore sex, race, religion and other potentially discriminatory situations. The performance assessment process currently used (completely computerized) is a good example of the implementation of a non-discriminatory policy, since it already leads to an objective attribution of compensations (fixed and variable). Regarding a non-discriminatory policy concerning sex, 67% of Efacec Sistemas de Gestão’s (a company not affected by the traditional distribution of roles to men and women) management roles are carried out by women.
Efacec employees have a generally high academic training (82% of its employees possess 12 or more years of education and of this number, 40% have higher education), but it is necessary to ensure the continuous development of their skills. For this purpose, Efacec has an internal training service duly accredited and qualified to carry out training sessions on several areas. Between 207 and 2009, the training volume increased nearly 60%.
With the growing expansion and complexity of performed activities, the safety of the company’s personnel becomes an essential priority, based on different measures and extra cares. All Efacec companies in the national territory are currently certified by norm OSHAS 18001. Efacec frequently performs awareness programs concerning Safety, Hygiene and Health (SHH), by using several available internal communication means and supports (newsletter, HR Information, posters, Intranet announcements and leaflets).
Efacec is currently implementing the 5S (a philosophy created in Japan and with the purpose to make employees aware of aspects such as waste, cleaning, hygiene, health and organization) and empowerment methodologies, contributing to creating a work environment and culture that, among other things, promotes safety and increases productivity. It should also be mentioned the fact that Efacec provides health and nursing services at its industrial facilities, in order to ensure employees have access to medical care when needed. These services are responsible for providing admission examinations, periodic and occasional examinations and also medical assistance in case of accidents.
Efacec has been supporting several community causes for a long time. The support it provides ranges from technical and logistical services, to providing direct financial support or of other kind. Efacec gives special priority to social and cultural causes, specifically to communities where its activities are inserted and also in special situations in which it can provide the required products or services.
An example of Efacec’s social interventions is its participation in the Porto de Futuro and Junior Achievement programs, which included voluntary work and supply of human resources. Efacec is also involved in the Escolinhas program, which involves the supply and installation of photovoltaic equipments to schools in Mozambique. Efacec often donates used items to solidarity institutions that may need them. Culturally, Efacec frequently supports entities such as Fundação de Serralves and the Centro Nacional de Cultura.
Every year, Efacec sponsors a great number of technological events and encourages the participation of its employees in them in order to share their experiences. Efacec is a member of a great number of entrepreneurial associations and maintains close relations with several Universities. It also takes part on public projects such as the Redes de Competências (Skill Networks) and Pólos Tecnológicos (Industrial Facilities).
Efacec employees also take part in solidarity events, such as donating used items, blood, medulla and automatic discounts of small monetary amounts in favour of social institutions.
Finally, Efacec relies on the valuable cooperation with its Employee Associations, providing them with facilities, computer systems, materials and human resources. The objectives of these Associations are the interests, social-cultural development and spare time of the company’s employees and their families, carrying out a large number of cultural, sport and leisure events and other actions of social interest.
The current Internationalization project has been Efacec’s main economic sustainability strategy. Its strategic vectors are focusing on Efacec’s Markets (in a sense that each of them replicates the presence currently held in the domestic market), a proactive internationalization of businesses that may compete on a global scale and strengthening its leadership position in the Portuguese market. This project started by creating a new organization, focused mainly on seven target regions/markets (USA, Latin America, Spain, Central Europe, Maghreb, South Africa and India).
Efacec’s economic-financial results in the last years were extremely positive. In the last 3 years, orders increased nearly 78%, the business volume grew 83% and net income increased 56%. Efacec obtained greater economic values as well as distributed ones. In 2009, Efacec produced and distributed approximately 813 M€. These results are even more positive if taken into consideration that a part of Efacec’s activities range traditional sectors.
With the purpose of improving both its internal and external communication, Efacec is adopting the English language as its official language. So, the efaPI program was created, with the purpose of teaching the English language to a large number of Efacec employees.
Efacec invests great resources in Investigation, Development and Innovation activities. Besides a financial investment, Efacec has nearly 150 employees exclusively dedicated to Investigation and Development. It also has two Business Units certified by norm NP 4457 (Management Systems for Innovation), constantly develops programs to encourage its employees’ creativity and also develops relations between the most renowned teaching institutions. Some Efacec Investigation and Development programs take place in the scope of partnerships and other cooperation agreements.
Efacec has made great efforts to integrate all information systems in an international context. So, in 2009, its ERP BaaN system was extended to Efacec C&S in India, Efacec Power Transformers and Efacec USA, companies located in the United States. This effort is a result of the work already carried out in our international subsidiaries, namely Argentina, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Algeria and Ireland. This procedure standardization process, achieved by using the same tool in every worldwide management area, led to a significant increase of productivity, safety, information liability and greater efficiency of the teams involved. It is also important to stress that this method also ensures an availability and standardization of criteria, the basis for supporting vital information required for decision-making support tools.
The SiGefa (Information System for Efacec Management) corporate project, launched in September 2007, takes precisely advantage of the standardization of procedures concerning the expansion and internationalization strategy. Its main purpose is to provide, on several Efacec management levels relevant, precise, comprehensive and comparable information, covering the main functional areas (commercial, financial, human resources, quality, etc.). The main stage of the project, which took place in 2008, included the preparation of supports for the whole management information, implementing an analytical management organization in every national and international entity, a condition required to obtain management information through Business Units and Market Units. During 2009, two areas were considered to be a priority: information concerning business analysis and the automation of a monthly management report.
Innovation / Quality Aspect
In addition to the environmental guidelines described earlier, Efacec has established a set of guiding principles for ensuring the total satisfaction of its customers. As well as a general commitment to Quality, these principles include the systematic search for innovative solutions, the provision of accurate information about products and services, respect for the privacy of customers’ data, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and the provision of services for unforeseen situations. Naturally, all Efacec companies are certified to standard ISO 9001 (Quality).
The search for innovative and sustainable solutions for the businesses is one of the hallmarks of Efacec, which has invested around 10 M€ in R&D over the last 2 years and has around 150 employees concentrating exclusively on this activity. R&D activities have been crucial to the development of new solutions, products and services. Recent examples include the introduction of new concepts in rail transport management systems, new large scale logistics equipment, the design of the first Portuguese space hardware (currently in space), the first split-phase transformer and, more recently, the development of a 500 kV single-phase shell form transformer.
Efacec has a particular interest in environmental issues, where it is developing an important role. In the field of wind energy, Efacec is a member of the Ventinveste consortium that was placed first in Phase B of the public tender for wind energy. In 2007, Efacec also executed important water treatment works (for example, at the Pisão reservoir) and waste processing works (for example, at Leiria Organic Waste Processing Plant, where an innovative solution is used to produce biogas).
In order to underpin the success of its R&D activities, Efacec has extensive links with technological and sector organisations. It is a member of around 30 associations (and is directly involved in the management of 4 of them), serves on some 13 standardisation committees and participates in around 25 technological partnerships. In recent years, it has maintained cooperation programmes with around 15 higher education institutions, approximately half of them foreign institutions. Efacec also has a special relationship with COTEC (Business Association for Innovation) and participates in its projects, in particular those concerned with the Certification of RDI Management (Efacec Sistemas de Electrónica was one of the first 15 Portuguese companies to be certified to standard NP 4457) and the development of its Innovation Scoring methodology. Efacec has also supported a large number of events in the technology and management area (congresses, colloquia and debates), many involving international speakers such as Kofi Annan, Jack Welch and Bob Geldof.
Efacec has a dedicated team whose mission is to promote Innovation as a fundamental value of the organisation, by coordinating links with the scientific and technological community, leading the implementation of knowledge exchange systems and introducing methodologies that stimulate and reward creativity (suggestions, quality and performance awards). Around 100 internal workshops have recently been organised, involving around 700 participants, which identified 1200 ideas.