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Innovating every year, at every attraction, at every opportunity to improve what is done. The challenge of changing without losing identity moves the Ponto de Partida Group and inspires Copasa to seek, in a continuous and systematic way, improvements in its processes and in its management, upgrading every year the way it handles the offered products and services.
MANAGING FOR EXCELLENCE
COPASA uses the Management Excellence Model (MEG) introduced into the country by Fundação Nacional da Qualidade (FNC) (Quality National Foundation) and recommended by Associação Brasileira de Engenharia Sanitária e Ambiental (ABES) (Brazilian Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering).
Management Excellence Model
The strategic planning demonstrates the emphasis give to the sustainable growth to which converges all of the Company’s strategy. COPASA’s commitment with the quality of its management is explicit in its vision: “to be acknowledged as a reference of corporate excellence”.(GRI 4.8)
Strategic Management: COPASA uses the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) as a monitoring tool of the principal strategic challenges by following the performance of the indicators established in the Institutional Performance Measuring System (SMDI) and of the plans of actions developed to ensure the achievement of the expected results.
The Corporate Management Development Support System (SADGE) subsidizes the performance assessment process of the organizational units, the variable remuneration and the improvement process of the management practices.
Variable Remuneration: COPASA uses a variable remuneration model applied to all organizational units which rewards the collective endeavors of the employees in case the targets defined for the performance indicators are reached. This remuneration consists of the following processes: Institutional Performance Bonus (GDI), the Employees Participation Program of the Company’s Profits (PL), Managerial Performance Bonus (GDG) and Responsible of System Performance Bonus (GDES). (See Remuneration per results)
Performance Assessment: The corporate Management Development Support System (SADGE) is used to promote and measure the implementation level of the excellence culture at COPASA. The percentages of attendance to the management assessment model compose the index indicators of the Management System Performance (DSG) and the Process Practices and Results Management (GPRP) that affect the variable remuneration of the managers.
The technical staff’s knowledge and experience is one of the Company's competitive advantages which encourages actions to preserve documents, information, and technical and operational expertise of its employees.
COPASA encourages creativity, in order to improve or modify processes, facilities and equipment, to ensure a knowledge-conducive environment through the following practices:
Technical Archive: collection of approximately 185 thousand files consisting of projects, designs, descriptive memories, COPASA technical norms and standards, providing a source of the Company’s historical and technical-operational aspects.
Corporative Library: gives employees the opportunity to broaden their knowledge, from a collection specialized in Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences as well as materials that cover administrative areas of the Company. Its management is computerized allowing employees to search the collection through the intranet. Requests are answered daily and in 2011 there was an average of 751 loans per month. Due to the quality and comprehensiveness of the collection of approximately 37,250 records, the Library has established itself as a reference in the city and state, also serving outside public, especially researchers, teachers and students, as well as professionals of related institutions.
Work Groups: formed by professionals fully knowledgeable of issues relevant to the work objectives to be developed and submitted to the Executive Board for review COPASA
Technology Link/Technological Research and Development: To improve the knowledge-sharing practice, there is a link in the intranet called Technology/Research and Technological Development, which gathers the technologies introduced and/or prospected, trademarks and patents registered by COPASA at the Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial (INPI).
Internal Multipliers: employees who act as facilitators and multipliers of information to other employees, aiming to expand the acquired knowledge and improve processes.
Payment of royalties: for any marketed patent, the inventor employee will receive 50% of the royalties levied on the net sales of licensed object.
Corporate Education Program (PEC): annual planning of corporate education actions, which are focused on the needs, goals and achieving results established by COPASACOPASA. Its development is subsidized by the Levantamento de Necessidades de Treinamento [Training Needs Assessment] (LNT), with the participation of all organizational units.
Trainee Program:designed for employees who wish to develop a systemic view of organizational processes and COPASA COPASA’s management model. (See Opportunities for All).
Rates: Services such as water supply and sewage collection and treatment are paid through rate calculations. The pricing policy applied by COPASA is regulated by the Regulatory Agency for Water Supply and Sanitation of Minas Gerais (ARSAE-MG).
Rates are differentiated by categories – social, residential, commercial, industrial and public – and consumer levels. Application of rates takes into account the economic and financial equilibrium of the utility company and the preservation of the social aspects of basic public sanitation services operated by COPASA.
Rates are progressive in relation to the billable volume, that is, those who consume more pay more per liter than those who consume less. This pricing policy benefits the population, which is aware of the need to preserve nature, reflected in water consumption education
Following the provisions of Ruling No. 004/11 from the Agência Reguladora de Serviços de Abastecimento de Água e de Esgotamento Sanitário do Estado de Minas Gerais (ARSAE-MG), in 2011 rates for sewage collection and treatment services, increased from 60% to 75% of the water rates applied to users with this type of service. In 2012, it will increase to 90%. Sewage collection services with no treatment rose from 40% to 45% in 2011, and in 2012 it will increase to 50%.
Rate Readjustment: Rate readjustments are annual and previously approved and authorized by ARSAE-MG.In 2011, an average rate readjustment of 7.02% was applied, approved by Normative Resolution No. 004/2011 ARSAE-MG, of March 23th, 2011.
Billing: COPASA has a diversified customer base, which helps to reduce dependence and exposure to a particular client or consumer group. In 2011, large clients – those who hold specific contract and volume demand, accounted for 5.7% of all billings.
COPASA works with different billing cycles, depending on the variation of time between the water meter reading and account due date, which impacts collection speed. There were two kinds of cycles in 2011: the shorter cycle (13 working days) was applied to 94% of all billings, corresponding to locations with better infrastructure access. The greater cycle (20 working days) was applied in locations with poor infrastructure access, representing 6% of all billings.
Delinquencies: COPASA has a collection policy that allows for one of the lowest delinquency rates among sanitation utility companies. At the end of 2011 the rate was 1.29%, one of the smallest in the country in the sanitation sector.
Collection: COPASA’s constant delinquency index decrease in recent years demonstrates the efficiency of the collection system and the policy of negotiating debts with large clients.
In 2011, COPASA issued an average monthly debt notices of approximately 19.5% of all bills issued/month. The monthly average water supply interruption during that period was approximately 2.6% of all bills issued/month.
Individualized Measurement: the individualized measurement system can be deployed to any category such as residential, commercial, industrial, public or mixed. Locations that opt for individualized measuring receive one main water meter, and individual water meters, corresponding to the number of existing units. Reading can be done visually or remotely depending on the chosen model. In 2011, COPASA implemented individualized measurement systems in 52 locations.
COPASA’s Hydrometer Park Statistical Management System (SIGEPH)
COPASA implemented a computerized system for analysis through statistical techniques, of specific databases of installed hydrometers.
The system was developed in partnership with the Economic, Administration and Accounting Research Institute Foundation of Minas Gerais. Hydrometer data is stored for 24 months, which helps obtaining performance indicators relating to the park’s age, the need for resizing, results of the impacts of hydrometer replacements, the reasons for moving more relevant hydrometers, and allows for conclusions regarding meter performance and potential fraud and violations.
SIGEPH is housed in the Micro-measurement Quality Improvement Program (PMQM), consisting of a set of actions for managing COPASA’s hydrometer park, including preventive maintenance of meters and replacement of hydrometers with low performance in measuring customer consumption volumes. Hydrometers are subjected legislation from the Legal Metrology (INMETRO Ordinance No. 246 of October 17th, 2000), which provides that “Periodic checks of hydrometers in use are made at intervals established by INMETRO, not exceeding five years”. The PMQM will include the following segments:
- replacement of meters by age;
Certified Management Systems
The Central Laboratory Quality Management System, located in Belo Horizonte, and the Integrated Service System (SATI) of the Araxá Operating Unit are both ISO 9001:2008 certified, audited by British Standards Institution (BSI). This certification indicates that products and services meet strict quality standards and specifications.
COPASA’s Central Laboratory is ISO 9001:2000 certified since 2000. Since then, it has renewed the certification every six months. The last ISO 9001:2008 certification version was obtained in December 2011. Also in December 2011, the National Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality Institute (INMETRO) audited the Central Laboratory to verify adherence to the procedures, both to the management and technical systems, adopted by the Unit according to the requirements established by ABNT NBR ISO/IEC 17025:2005 regulations. This review is part of the ongoing process to maintain the initial accreditation obtained by the Laboratory from INMETRO in January 2010, which helped obtaining the Accreditation Certificate No. CRL 0474. The certificate is the formal recognition of the Central Laboratory’s technical competence to perform tests on water and sewerage samples, according to Normative Resolution No. 167/11 from the State Council for Environmental Policy (COPAM) and the Health Department Ordinance No. 2914/11, which replaced Ordinance No. 518/04.
In February 2009, COPASA’s Hydrometric Laboratory obtained INMETRO specific certification number PMG-68 as an Authorized Test Station (PEA), according to requirements established by INMETRO Ordinance No. 066/00. This certification, issued by INMETRO Ordinance No. 072/09, verifies and ensures recognition of the Hydrometric Laboratory’s ability and competence in performing the metrological tasks prescribed for recovery, assembly and verification of hydrometers. This laboratory is equipped with the latest equipment in a modern structure with control processes of the activities and computerized tracking of results, which ensures quality and reliability of services performed within the required quality standards.
In order to consolidate its recognition as a unit of excellence in its market, the Hydrometric Laboratory is implementing its quality management system as established by the most stringent technical and management requirements, in order to enhance its competence in carrying out activities and generating technically valid results which are recognized by INMETRO. After an audit in December 2011, INMETRO indicated the Hydrometric Laboratory for the NBR ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation, confirming at an international level its standardization and harmonization of services, and increasing the reliability of results.
RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION
COPASA invests in the search for alternative technologies to solve problems related to water supply and sewage collection and treatment. The initiatives involve ongoing research which represents an enormous contribution to the improvement of Company’s processes and methods, resulting in improved health for the population.
To improve the dissemination of knowledge and application of these solutions, a link discussing this specific subject was made available on an intranet. Besides disseminating the technologies and methodologies throughout the Company, this link allows for cost/benefit analysis of the development and reactivation of project portfolios as a basis for conducting research and/or prospects of new technologies and methodologies.
Automation Projects: COPASA invests in automation systems for water distribution and treatment processes, and sewage treatment as a way to leverage its technological development, optimize processes and reduce operational costs. In 2011, improvement to the data collector solution in the city of Varginha stood out under the Electromechanical Maintenance Management System (SIGMA), through sizing of the electromechanical maintenance teams, review and suggestions of improvements to electromechanical maintenance facilities of operating districts, enabling the restructuring of teams and departments for the proper execution of electromechanical services. In 2011, there were 23 teleoperation contract jobs and two automation contract jobs. Currently there are eight ongoing projects.
Some highlights in innovation and prospects:
COPASA’s Information Technology (IT) infrastructure consists of equipment configured to serve the locations where the Company provides services in the State of Minas Gerais, enabling greater integration, data security and agility of Company processes. IT solutions are constantly evolving, adding technological improvements to the needs of its stakeholders. Through the COPASA website – www.copasa.com.br, customers and the general public have access to various services provided by the Company.
In 2011, COPASA started building a new data center, designed according to the best worldwide market practices, aiming to increase safety and availability of the Company’s information systems such as:
Balanced Scorecard (BSC):enables the monitoring of strategic and operational indicators results, goals, comparative internal benchmarks and the performance of action plans developed by the organizational units.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP):management system for departments such as: finance, accounting, controlling, procurement, supplies and electronic purchasing, human resources, asset management, crisis management, fleet maintenance and management, self-service portal and new developments.
Electronic Document Management (GED):enables management, control, storage, sharing and retrieval of COPASA documents.Intranet: enables publishing of contents, organizational unit sites, communication and applications for the entire company.
Commercial System (Sicom):enables control and monitoring of COPASA business processes such as metering, billing, collections, collection, among others. The Mobile Billing, a SICOM subsystem implemented in 2003, controls the reading, billing and issuance of online customer accounts. This technology was pioneered in Brazil and it was developed by COPASA technicians.
Business Management Development Support System (SADGE and SADGE Unit): allows for management practices according to the criteria that evaluate the adoption of the foundations of excellence established in the methodology of the National Quality Award in Sanitation (PNQS). The system was developed with internal technical resources and knowledge.
Electricity Control Information System (SICOE):allows control and management of energy expenses.
Water Quality Control System (SICQA):enables control of water quality analyzes results made by COPASA laboratories, as per specific legislation and regulatory agencies.
Water Production and Control System (SICPA):enables control of measurements the made in water treatment plants, monitoring the quality of treated water and the produced volume.
Geoprocessing System (CopaGIS):Geographic Information System (GIS) which captures, models, manipulates, retrieves, queries and analyzes geographically referenced data. In a web environment, it provides urban mapping registration, water and sewage network systems, project management, supply interruptions control, customers and operational services data.
3T Program – Telemetry, Telesupervision and Telecommand:remote, real-time monitoring of water supply in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, allowing measurement and transport of operational data.
WEB-Energy:electricity use on-line information system. Enables real-time access to information on consumption, demand and potential savings opportunities for the Company’s 50 most representative units of monthly electricity expenditure.
MANAGEMENT AND STRATEGY
Inventions at the analysis process at the INPI:
Trademarks filed with the INPI:
Computer software registered at the INPI:
The Social Communication Policy is one of the highlights of Copasa’s Strategic Planning, demanding and valuing the promotion of clear, efficient and transparent communication with the public. This strategically focused policy enables the creation of some intangible assets, as shown in the table below.
Intangible assets account for a significant portion of Copasa’s value – intellectual capital, trademarks, copyrights, patents, franchises, internet domains, software – and gained credibility in the market, among others.