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From 21 - 23 October 2015, participants in the IB2014 benchmarking exercise for Western Europe gathered in the ancient city of Jerez de la Frontera, in the most south-western part of Europe, for the annual benchmarking workshop. This year, the workshop attracted 88 utility representatives from around Europe and beyond, including delegations from the four regional benchmarking hubs in the Danube region.
Aqualia (www.aqualia.com), the water management company of the Spanish services group FCC, kindly offered to host this year’s workshop in the charming Spanish city of Jerez. The benchmarking event kicked off with a welcome reception in the Cloisters of Santo Domingo. Santiago Lafuente, Chairman of Aqualia Spain, Mrs. Mamen Sánchez, Mayor of Jerez, José Luis Hernández, Deputy Minister for the Environment of Andalusia and Peter Dane, Managing Director of EBC Foundation addressed the group with a word of welcome and an appreciation that the delegates took the effort to come to Jerez to jointly work on improving such essential services for society.
During two days, the group worked hard in a variety of breakout sessions to review the preliminary benchmarking results, identify performance gaps and good practices, discuss the topics that were raised by participants and define improvement agendas.
In the plenary part, Peter Dane memorised the somewhat different character of the workshop of this year, whereas emphasis was not only put on the assessment part but also on the next step in benchmarking: the roadmap to improvement and innovation.
The delegates appreciated the networking opportunities and the possibilities to learn from each other’s know-how and experiences. Participants called for an expansion of the new benchmarking platform with a discussion forum and an opportunity to share good practices, for an enhanced interaction between participants.
At the traditional workshop dinner, the Benchmarking Co-ordinator of the Year Award was handed to Øivind Ryenbakken (Oslo kommune VAV) and to Ryoichiro Orii (Yokohama Sewerage Utility) and Osamu Fujiki (Nihon Suiko Sekkei, Yokohama’s benchmarking consultant). The EBC-team congratulates the winners of this year’s award and encourages them to continue their good work!
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