The economy minister of the regional government of Aragon closed the awards ceremony that brought the intense week’s activities of the Pilot Forum to an end, highlighting the enhanced competitiveness that unified management will give to the Aragonese logistics platforms.
Minister Marta Gastón presented the Pilot Award for large companies to Jesus Soler, of Grupo Ágora
The Minister for Economy, Industry and Employment, Marta Gastón closed the ceremony this evening at the Zaragoza Convention Centre of the Pilot Awards for Logistics Excellence sponsored by the Aragon Institute of Development (IAF), which was presented in this edition to Grupo Ágora – more widely known for its trade name, La Zaragozana – in the large company category, and to Grupo Hierros Alfonso in the category of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Gastón presented the award to Ágora, a business group with 117 years of history devoted to brewing beer under the name La Zaragozana, making it the oldest brewery in Spain, although it has diversified its activity and also bottles water, produces soft drinks, and commercialises and distributes brands from other producers to customers in the hospitality and catering industries. With a thousand employees and turnover of €185 million, the company’s own distribution network allows then to reach more than 24,175 points of sale, with more than 81,000 orders delivered every month. The company is currently implementing a logistics development plan for the years 2015–2019 with a view to implementing a logistics 4.0 system.
In turn, the director general of IAF, Ramón Tejedor, presented the award to Grupo Hierros Alfonso, a company dedicated to the transformation and distribution of iron and steel products since its foundation in 1966. With 135 employees and a turnover of €25 million, the group currently comprises six business units, and is the leader in iron and steel product distribution in Aragon. This family-owned company, with deep ties to Aragon, has a total industrial surface area of 57,000 m2 located in the three provinces of Aragon, and a portfolio of more than 4,000 customers throughout the autonomous region.
The minister offered her congratulations to Grupo Ágora and Hierros Alfonso, and to the seven finalists in both categories, for the example they all set in supply chain management. Candidates for the large company category of the Pilot Award included the medical supply company Baxter Sabiñánigo-BieffeMedital, which produces sterile intravenous solutions in flexible packaging in Senegüe, province of Huesca, and Tevapharma, committed to the development, production and marketing of generic and innovative drugs.
There were three other finalists in the SME category: Asociación de Comerciantes del Centro Histórico de Teruel, a retailers’ association in the city of Teruel which offers different services to its 165 members; Comunidad de Propietarios Ámbito Funcional AF3 Puerto Venecia, a company that manages the Puerto Venecia residential and shopping complex in Zaragoza; and La Coruñesa, a company in Huesca that distributes fresh and frozen fish and seafood.
As an additional incentive to drive their quest for logistics excellence, all these finalists of the Pilot Awards in both categories will for the first time enjoy a year of free membership in the logistics cluster of Aragon, Alia.
Alia is an association of more than 40 companies and entities, jointly employing more than 18,000 people and with a turnover exceeding €4.5 billion. The finalists will join forces with the cluster for the purpose of improving the competitiveness of the companies it comprises through collaboration and logistics innovation in Aragon, while bringing value to society.
Before the Pilot Awards for Excellence were presented, the AEPLA (Asociación Empresarial PLAZA) Award was given to Javier Urquizu and Alejandro Mainar for their project ‘Redesign and optimisation of an intermodal platform (rail-road). The JCV Shipping & Solutions Case’, as was the Pilot Award for the best Master’s degree project to Fernando Lasaosa, Laura Lozano and Gastón Soler for the project ‘Optimisation of logistics costs at Decathlon’. For 16 years, IAF has been fostering the training and hiring of graduates specialising in logistics, and more than 180 students have been given work placements at companies that have been candidates for the Pilot Awards.
Prior to the award ceremony, a special lecture was given on ‘Innovation and Competitiveness’ by the former Spanish Minister for Science and Innovation, Cristina Garmendia, in her role as the chairwoman of the Cotec Foundation, a private not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to promote innovation as the engine for economic and social development.
Competitiveness is precisely the essential component of Aragon’s logistics strategy, making it a leader in Spain and southern Europe, and the latest advances in this strategy are the launch of the Aragón Plataforma Logística brand and the creation of a government-owned company with the same name that will take over the management of the Aragonese logistics platforms. Marta Gastón pointed out that this unified management will mean more competitiveness not only from a business perspective, but for the entire autonomous region of Aragon.
Gastón also called for the strengthening of competitiveness through improvements in connectivity and transport infrastructure, She particularly highlighted the need to improve rail infrastructure both with the Atlantic Arc and with the Mediterranean through Teruel, and with France through Canfranc. These axes, she added are ‘complementary and not mutually exclusive’.
The awards ceremony brought the intensive logistics-centred week of the Pilot Forum to a close. During the course of the event, the leading one of its kind in Spain, four visits were made for the purpose of promoting innovation, education and training and air and rail installations, and three days were devoted to the dissemination of logistics-based knowledge and the exchange of business experiences in supply chain management, with round table discussions, special interventions and lectures.