Spark ATM Systems

Spark ATM Systems, winner of the Management of Sustainability Award in the large enterprise category

For sustainability, stick to the basics

Whether a business is riding out a storm such as a global pandemic or trying to keep the lights on when the power is out, the best course of action is to go back to basics. For Spark ATM Systems, the basics that keep it anchored amid turbulent times are its underlying mission and values.

“When faced with a situation or event that impacts on the business, we lean into our values – passion, integrity, and excellence – and ask ourselves if our decisions are in line with these,” says Russel Berman, Sales and Marketing Director.

This sustainability strategy has been tested time and time again – and held steady – in the 15-year history of Spark, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of US-based Cardtronics, the world’s largest ATM operator.

 Its latest test has, of course, been the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on Spark ATM’s operations.

“When the country went into level five lockdown, we embraced the change of working from home and conducted a detailed needs analysis for the whole team,” says Russel. “This analysis considered home office components including a comfortable chair, sufficient screens, internet connectivity, scanner/printers, and even stationery.”

Attending to basic details like these is in sync with the company’s values. An employer with passion, integrity, and an ethos of excellence would hardly sit back with folded arms if its employees lacked comfortable seating arrangements and proper workspaces, even if there was a pandemic in full swing.

No sooner had all those arrangements been made than along came load shedding and Spark went back to basics again, making sure that the work from home arrangements was not affected by power supply issues and provided UPS units for all internet and laptops being used.

“Embracing change and creating value is fundamental to sustainability,” says Russel. “You’ve got to keep reinventing yourself in the face of change.”

As we speak, for example, Spark is preparing to launch the first South African-assembled ATM, the state-of-the-art Touchline, which has a 15-inch touch screen, a Linux operating system, and, most importantly, faster transaction times than the current standard.

Spark ATM remains committed to environmental sustainability with the offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg taking care of plastic, paper, and metal recycling as wells as exploring solar installations to support the power grid.

Nor do its old ATM components end up in landfills. “An initiative that we are particularly excited about involves donating old ATM motherboards to local technology universities and colleges so that students can work on these components to gain experience,” says Russel.

 “Creating a sustainable organisation is critical for the longevity of a company. Being able to rely on a solid set of values as the foundation of the team is a critical starting point. If these are in place then going back to basics when needed will be an easy task for a committed team” says Russel.

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