Customers and suppliers are the chief participants in any business relationship. For Abengoa, a fluid relationship based on trust with both stakeholder groups is of paramount importance because these stakeholders are effectively the company’s business partners.

For customers, it is essential that the products and services they demand are tailored to their needs and meet their expectations in terms of quality standards, deadlines, and after-sales service.

Abengoa works in partnership with its customers in developing their businesses and doing this successfully requires us to understand and address their needs, while forging forward-looking relationships based on trust.

Creating this bond of sustainable and lasting confidence with customers requires fluidity and transparency in communication, two elements which Abengoa considers to be key priorities in its customer relationships.

Abengoa Customer Commitment

Ever since its inception, Abengoa has always striven to ensure that its products and services are designed with full customer satisfaction in mind. This commitment was explicitly incorporated into the Common Management Systems governing all group companies.

Abengoa’s customer profile by business unit is as follows:

  • Solar

Abengoa Solar customers are large companies that require technology and installations; electric utilities, which are supplied with power; public administrations and society in general, as the end electrical power consumer.

  • Bioenergy

Abengoa Bioenergy customers are divided into three groups, according to the products they acquire:

    • Transportation fuel producers and distributors.
    • Livestock co-ops.
    • Food companies.
  • Environmental Services

Befesa customers by business segment are as follows:

    • Aluminum waste recycling for major European companies in the automobile and construction industries.
    • Galvanized steel recycling for major European companies in the iron and steel industry.
    • Industrial waste management for the pharmaceutical, chemical and petrochemical industry, and other small companies.
    • Given project magnitude and the significance of water resource generation and management, governments and the public administration are the chief customers in the water treatment and desalination segment.
  • Information Technologies

Telvent customers comprise businesses, institutions, and public administrative bodies associated with the energy, environmental, traffic, transportation, telecommunications and internet, and healthcare sectors.

  • Industrial Engineering and Construction

Telvent customers comprise businesses, institutions, and public administrative bodies associated with the energy, environmental, traffic, transportation, telecommunications and internet, and healthcare sectors.

Customer Service Management

In accordance with the principles governing company policy on quality and the environment, Abengoa understands that excellence in customer service depends on being able to understand and meet present and future needs. Thus, in order to ascertain and thereby anticipate customer expectations, Abengoa bases its approach on direct dealings with each and every customer.

To this end, Abengoa utilizes the Business Action application in order to:

  • Coordinate all customer-related processes with the aim of providing personalized service.
  • Promote synergies among Abengoa companies and thereby offer full customer service.
  • Prevent potentially detrimental duplication in processes involving different Abengoa companies due to a lack of coordination or information.
  • Anticipate customer needs.
  • Channel customer needs towards the group’s companies so they may be handled most effectively.

To complement the aforementioned tool, the sales areas, general management of the companies and the other departments involved maintain regular contact with customers in order to ensure that Abengoa’s resources are in line with their priorities and to pursue improvement in areas shown to have weaknesses.

Abengoa companies set up these contacts using a file system, which is available via the Abengoa Customers application, and includes a range of customer parameters, such as invoicing, interpersonal relationships, projects, main problems, etc. Guidelines for action and follow-up are drawn up on the basis of this information. In addition, these files help to obtain an overview of the customer relationship and history, which in turn aids in anticipating customer needs and expectations.

Finally, Abengoa evaluates the degree of fulfillment of the objectives set with each customer, and these targets are then revised and aligned for subsequent years.

Customer Satisfaction Processes and Results

The management systems that have been implemented in accordance with international ISO standards and the internal requirements described under the procedures establish the need to have processes in place for measuring customer satisfaction with the capability to analyze their needs and expectations.

This analysis concludes with the definition of specific objectives and action plans to meet expectations and improve customer satisfaction, which are taken into account by the management when establishing and defining strategy for each company. Implementation is reviewed and evaluated during the annual program of management system control and follow-up visits.

Given the diversity of Abengoa’s activities, products and services, and the customers targeted by the satisfaction study, the analysis is handled separately by each company.

Case Study Relationship with Customers in Inabensa

Inabensa, a company from the Industrial Engineering and Construction business group which conducts its activities in the industrial engineering, construction and maintenance industry, as well as the power, industry, transportation, services and communications sectors, employs the following tools to gauge customer satisfaction:

a) Customer satisfaction survey

The EPE (External Process Evaluation) satisfaction survey, submitted to all customers upon project completion, provides insight into customer perception of the following:

  • Levels of service delivered
  • Quality of the offer
  • Compliance with technical requirements
  • Fulfillment of project execution schedules
  • Flexibility when faced with modifications
  • Suitability of the company support partner
  • Personnel professionalism
  • Compliance with environmental and occupational risk prevention standards
  • Final documentation

The computer application used for managing the EPEs allows the company to generate the reports and graphs required for real-time customer satisfaction analysis and follow-up, both globally and specifically for each department or regional office.

At the quarterly Quality and Environment committee meetings of the different departments and regional offices and at general committee meetings, these results are analyzed to determine the measures to be adopted in cases where assessments fall below the control levels established for each year, and a study is conducted on where to direct efforts in order to meet the identified needs, always with a view to improving global customer perception. The analyses conducted are reflected in the minutes of these committee meetings.

b) Questionnaires on internal perception of customer satisfaction

To complement the direct survey (EPE), Inabensa carries out an in-house survey for evaluating processes involving customers (Internal Process Survey, IPS). This serves to determine the perception held by employees regarding customer satisfaction.

On a bi-annual basis, the results of the direct and indirect surveys are compared in order to validate the latter as an additional reliable method for determining customer satisfaction.

c) Handling claims and complaints

Las quejas y reclamaciones de los clientes permiten medir de forma indirecta su insatisfacción. Inabensa las registra en la aplicación Informe de Resolución de Problemas (IRP), a través de la cual también gestiona su resolución, buscando la máxima eficacia y eficiencia posible para todas las partes.

Durante el proceso de resolución, se analizan las causas que han provocado la queja y la evaluación del coste de no calidad, y se determinan las acciones correctivas para evitar su repetición. Para cerrar este proceso, es necesario que el cliente muestre su conformidad con la solución adoptada.

d) Letters of congratulation, signing of agreements on quality and customer contractor assessments

The information included in the letters of congratulation, signed quality agreements and customer contractor assessments are all analyzed by addressing the following aspects, among others:

  • Classification of each customer’s degree of satisfaction, according to the established criteria.
  • Evaluation of Inabensa’s most highly valued qualities, including those features that receive the poorest feedback.
  • Results related to customer response capability, including: number of questionnaires per key customer, invoicing proportion covered by the assessment, comparisons and trends for each attribute and customer.

In the event the company obtains results that fall below the minimum level established by the management team, a Troubleshooting Report (TSR) is generated for subsequent analysis and resolution. This report enables the company to follow up on the corrective and preventive measures adopted for each organizational unit, in order to improve the feature determined to be sub-standard. The management concludes the TSR process upon ascertaining that the steps taken have proven effective, and this may involve meetings and reallocation of resources for future undertakings.

At the end of each year, Inabensa prepares a Report on General Customer Satisfaction, which includes survey and questionnaire results for all customers with whom the company and its subsidiaries have worked over the course of the year, as well as a comparison with previous years (trends) and the status of each claim.

The following is worthy of special mention from the last available report (General Report on Customer Satisfaction – 2008 Study), as published in January 2009:

  • Los resultados, tanto a nivel general como por atributos, se mantienen en la zona de excelencia. Al igual que en 2008, continúa destacando el alto valor mínimo medio obtenido por atributo.
  • El índice de respuesta de clientes, que desciende respecto al año anterior, aún habiéndose incrementado el número de clientes respecto al 2007. Continúa, sin embargo, la tendencia al alza en cuanto al número de valoraciones recibidas, si bien estas pertenecen a un menor número de clientes.
  • Las felicitaciones recibidas, que casi han duplicado las del año anterior, y las quejas, que han descendido significativamente con relación a años anteriores.

The Key Customer Satisfaction Report, relating to customers that generate the most activity (up to 80% revenue coverage), is drawn up at the end of the second quarter of each year to supplement the previous report.

The latest available report is the 2009-2008 Comparative Report on Key Customer Satisfaction, as published in July 2009. The most significant aspects include the following:

  • Average assessment, which continues to be classified as excellent, increased with respect to 2007 and 2006.
  • The rise in the number of questionnaires received from key customers, and the increased sales volume covered by key customers.
  • The increase in the number of letters of congratulation submitted, and the drop in the number of customer claims with respect to 2007.

In addition, an in-depth key customer study was implemented in 2009. This provides trend analysis by customer and organizational unit, taking into account variables such as the following:

  • TSR generation
  • Assessment improvement; satisfaction
  • Invoicing; satisfaction
  • Product type; response rate
  • Customer
  • Department
2009 Milestones
  • The company successfully developed and extended the network of biofuel service stations in Spain and Germany, with each country now boasting more than 20 direct refueling points.
  • In addition to the awards outlined in the Honors and Achievements section of this report, Endesa expressed its appreciation for Abencor’s help in finding a solution to the transformer fault at the Expo Zaragoza substation. In turn, RTE (the French electricity transmission company) thanked Inabensa France for its assistance in restoring service on the 63 kV Facture-Parentis line, which had suffered an outage following a storm that destroyed two pylons and damaged a further two.

Ever since its inception, Abengoa has always striven to ensure that its products and services are designed with full customer satisfaction in mind