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Ana Valles

The last year’s edition was her first as President of BBConstrumat, the international trade fair of Fira de Barcelona. What is your assessment of BBConstrumat 2017?
Tremendously positive. It is a consolidation of an innovative proposal, very attentive to the needs of the sector. The numbers have increased significantly, especially those that interest us most, which are those related to visitors with an increasingly professional and prescriptive profile. In addition, the level of satisfaction of this type of visitor with the trade fair has grown significantly. Most visitors and exhibitors have rated their participation very satisfactorily, and recommend participation in the next event. We are all very happy, so we hope that 2019 will be a year of growth.

In this regard, 2017 was also the first edition in which the leading trade fair of the Spanish construction sector was chaired by a woman. How do you see the role of women in a predominantly male sector?

It is very significant that there are more and more senior management positions occupied by women in companies and organisations in our sector. We have to aspire to have proportional representation in our society. For me the presidency of BB Construmat is another example of what this trade fair can contribute, and is already contributing, to the future – and to the present – of our sector, and I hope it helps to promote other examples of female leadership.

Your management at the head of Sorigué has been characterised by a commitment to innovation. Can you explain to us what it has meant for your company? Is innovation one of the keys to recovery in the sector?

We introduced the commitment to innovation in our first strategic plan, in 2015. We had to make the whole company start thinking differently, and asked ourselves what could be done better, in different ways, to provide more value and to optimise the resources available to us. Now we are at the next stage: we are organising ourselves to create added value, we have an innovation department which acts as the core of the business, we are digitalising all our processes, and training all our workers to take advantage of all our capital of knowledge and experience.

In this regard, what role do you think digitalisation will play in the construction sector in the future?

Digitalisation is a real revolution for the sector. We are the least digitalised sector; even agriculture is more advanced than us. However little we do, the results will be immediate and very significant. What does digitalization offer? Efficiency, connectivity and knowledge. That is, cost-effectiveness, process improvement and flexibility and also easy connectivity in real time between all the stakeholders involved in the processes. From the combination of these factors arises access to knowledge, experience and know-how, the creation of synergies and the implementation of new proposals at an increasing rate.

Although BBConstrumat will not be held until next year, in 2018 it has launched the Barcelona Building Construmat Series debating and knowledge platform with a wide range of activities. What is the purpose of this new initiative?

BBConstrumat has traditionally been a meeting and exchange point for all the stakeholders who work in and have something to say about our sector. These are highly valued aspects, part of the essence of this trade show, to the point that there is a growing demand to hold forums in the periods between the trade fairs. And, on the other hand, there is an increasing level of interest in the sector’s issues, such as innovation, regulations, the new demands of cities… All this makes a proposal like the BB Series 18 ideal: a series of meetings and forums at which to come together, share and inform professionals in the sector.

So, work is already under way on the next edition for 2019. Could you tell us about the priorities and the focal points around which BBConstrumat will be structured?

The most important thing we have learned from recent editions of BBConstrumat is that the sector’s stakeholders want to feel that their voices are heard. We have already had meetings with many representatives to hear their demands, needs and concerns, and our desire is to outline a proposal that will include the most popular features from previous editions, in line with what the sector demands.

Finally, what role do you think BBConstrumat plays in the transformation of companies in the sector?

We want to continue being a meeting point, for the exchange of ideas and orientation of the sector. These are essential activities to achieve progress in the sector. Our intention is to continue growing, to extend this experience to a wider number of professionals, companies and institutions.