Elkarkide and Sheffield University Management School: Social Impact, Sustainability and Inclusivity

Dr Diego Ruiz-Hernández is working with colleagues in Spain to revise Elkarkide's distribution and publicity delivery process.

Elkarkide post room.

Dr Diego Ruiz-Hernández, Senior Lecturer at Sheffield University Management School is working, together with Professor Amaya Erro-Garcés from the Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA) and Jesús María Pinar-Pérez from CUNEF Universidad, in a University-Enterprise project in collaboration with Elkarkide, a Special Employment Centre (CEE) in Pamplona, Spain. Elkarkide’s main economic activity lies in the door-to-door delivery of brochures, publicity materials, and other leaflets in the city of Pamplona and other villages in the surrounding area.

In Spain, Special Employment Centres enjoy special taxation and financial support from local governments. The main requisite for a CEE is that at least 80% of their staff must have a disability (33% or more according to Spanish law). In the case of Elkarkide, employees with a disability make up 90% of their workforce, suffering from serious mental health problems.

The group lead by Dr Ruiz-Hernández is working on a thorough revision of Elkarkide’s distribution and publicity delivery process, expecting to attain significant increases in productivity, while considering the special characteristics of the postal workers working in Elkarkide. In the words of Marcos Resano, Elkarkide’s manager, we must "highlight the impact that this project has for our organisation’s sustainability, an impact that translates also into social impact, as Elkarkide’s purpose is the inclusion of people with serious mental illnesses."

Diego and colleagues at Elkarkide post room.
From the left: Dr Jesús M. Pinar-Pérez (CUNEF), Professor Amaya Erro-Garcés (UPNA), Dr Diego Ruiz-Hernández (SUMS), Mrs Inés Gironés (Elkarkide)

To celebrate the first year of this project and to share the results obtained so far by the research team, on 22 November Dr Ruiz-Hernández presented the talk “Districting and multi-operator routing problems in urban areas with replenishment stops” at the UPNA. This presentation was followed by a working meeting with Elkarkide’s management team (Marcos Resano, Gonzalo Marín and Ines Gironés). During this meeting, the interdisciplinary team revised the current state of the project and discussed the steps necessary to complete by September next year.

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