Bulgaria's Black Sea Coast has world class beaches and resorts
The Republic of Bulgaria’s Port Infrastructure Company (BPIC) is a governmental enterprise which manages the infrastructure of the most important Bulgarian ports from offices in Sofia, Burgas, Varna, Rousse and Lom. It is responsible for managing security, access, construction, navigation, dredging, communications, erosion control, and virtually every other important activity related to port and river traffic in the country.
World class beaches along Bulgaria’s coast
Known as the Bulgarian Riviera, there are world class beaches along the Black Sea, a dozen of which have earned Blue Flags, and many that offer accommodations and experiences that rival the most famous in the world. Two of the most famous are Sunny Beach and Golden Sands Beach.
Sunny Beach is probably the most popular beach in the country among foreign tourists. it was built out of whole cloth just a few kilometers north of Nessebar. Just like Cancún, Sunny Beach is a planned community whose location was determined by the wide, pristine beaches (and the nearby water wells used since Roman times) which stretch for 8 kilometres. Practically everything is brand new, and it is packed with nightclubs, bars, and high rise hotels. The area is famous for its nightlife and is the destination most likely for people who want to party.
For those who are less interested in glitz and glamour, the town of Nessebar offers sights and experiences that can only be found in an ancient city -- it was already a well established Thracian settlement when the Dorian Greeks invaded in the 6th century B.C. Today, Nessebar has about 11,500 inhabitants, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is home to Greek and Roman temples, an Ottoman Basilica, and world class views of the sea.
Golden Sands (Zlatni Pyasatci) Beach.
Just to the north of Varna, Bulgaria’s largest seaport, Golden Sands Beach is surrounded by a national park, but has amenities similar to its more famous neighbor to the south. The sand is famously golden and fine, stretching 4 km down the coast. Legend has it that pirates buried treasure in the area and the land responded by turning the gold into dust and spreading it on the beach.
Just like Sunny Beach, there is a venerable town within a few minutes. Varna is an ancient Thracian city with spectacular ruins, Medieval architecture, museums and first class restaurants. An added feature to a visit to Golden Sands is the hot mineral springs found just off the beach. The eponymous natural park is a natural paradise, with lush vegetation and wildlife found in few other places. Planning authorities around the beach have also made a conscious effort to keep automobile traffic to a minimum, golf courses were built just north of town, and the beach has a more established feel than Sunny Beach.
The Port Authority Works so that others may Play
The beach isn’t just a playground. Real work must be done at ports, and BPIC works around the clock to ensure that it runs smoothly. In order to manage such a vast system, BPIC has implemented systems of quality management, information security management, and occupational safety and health management.
The gold standard of organizational governance and quality management is ISO 9001 certification, which BPIC has held since 2007.
Obtaining and keeping this certification isn’t easy. In order to do so, the organization must have written procedures in place and must follow them carefully. Periodic audits are designed to verify compliance and identify areas where improvements can be made. This is the essence of continuous quality improvement and Total Quality Management.
Specifically, BPIC has defined firm objectives for its quality management system. While it is possible to divide the objectives of the system into categories, the underlying theme is that all of the parts of the quality management system work together. For BPIC, their quality management system in general requires that the organization maintain strict compliance with applicable law, anticipate and meet user expectations, identify processes to be added, set protocols for delivery of service, establish preventive processes, ensure availability of adequate human resources at all time, and measure results of the system. Within this general scheme of total quality management, BPIC has implemented specific management tools in the area of information, human resources, and client and stakeholder satisfaction.
Every organization depends upon the proper management and updating of data. At BPIC, data security and accuracy is critical to the safety of the passengers, ships and cargo which pass through the facilities it manages and supervises every day. This information falls mainly into the categories of distress and safety systems, routine telecommunications from vessels, traffic management communications, and weather.
This much data traffic requires a robust, redundant and modern IT infrastructure, and highly trained professionals to manage it. An essential goal of an information management system is to minimize the risk of loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of information assets. In order to do this, the organization must be aware of potential threats, work to strengthen weakness in the system, and assess the impact of data compromise.
At BPIC, information security and reliability is taken seriously, and the organization earned ISO/IEC 27001:2006 certification after a thorough audit of its infrastructure and protocols.
Human Resources Management
The goals of human resources management at BPIC are to identify, train and retain the best personnel, motivate staff in order to achieve the desired level of quality of services, reduce to the extent practical risks to employees and others, and engage in training to continuously improve skills, morale, and stakeholder awareness.
Implementation of BPIC’s human resources management protocols has paid off with the award of BS OHSAS 1801: 2007 certification.
Clients and Suppliers
No business survives without customers, investors, suppliers and other stakeholders, and this aspect of quality management employs rules with the goals of accurate communication of requirements to vendors; measurement and analysis of the quality of stakeholder experience and use of the results to improve performance; consistent delivery of services; and continuous improvement of all of the inputs that control quality, such as technology and management techniques.
Consistent with its commitment to continuous improvement and pursuant to its duties to ensure safe navigation on Bulgaria’s streams and ports, BPIC works with a strategic plan to guide its work and measure its results. A recent survey of the river and sea transport sector identified the most important areas for development within the country. On the basis of this survey, BPIC has identified its key priorities as the development of inland services, short distance maritime transportation, and upgrading of port services.
The first two of these three priorities are animated by a broader European policy whose goal is a reduction in road and rail congestion and a reduction in air pollution. The Bulgarian people are expected to benefit as well for the same reasons. Improvement of port services is designed to increase Bulgarian competitiveness, create jobs, and attract investment.
These concerns have caused the resulting strategic plan to focus on maintenance, modernization and development of transport infrastructure, better integration of Bulgarian transportation systems with international ones, more transparent and consistent domestic and international market rules, attraction of investment, increase in security and safety, reduction of environmental impact, and ease of access.
In assessing BPIC’s nomination, the Committee was quite impressed with the availability on the organization’s website of four color pdf files of current and past program reports, the inclusion of financial statements going back five years, and clearly articulated goals for continuous quality improvement to go along with the achievement and maintenance of three ISO certifications.
As an organization, BPIC also understands the importance of continuous learning for its people and for the generation to come. For this reason, it sponsors an internship program for students interested in pursuing careers related to the maritime industry. Specialties include communication technologies, management of fleets and ports, ecology and environmental protection, security, construction, and transport management, especially in vessel traffic management.
Because of its commitment to continuous quality improvement, the Republic of Bulgaria’s Port Infrastructure Company been selected to receive the BID World Quality Commitment Award for 2015 at the convention in Paris.
About BID and the World Quality Commitment Award:
BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries.
The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level.
Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.