Home » Business » Embrace Standardisation of Goods, Local Firms Urged

COMPANIES should embrace standardisation of goods and services to promote the export sector and reduce reliance on cheap imported products, Standards Association of Zimbabwe chairman, Mr Trust Chikohora, said yesterday.

He said through standardisation, consumers were encouraged to buy local and genuine products rather than imitations of foreign brands.

“Zimbabwe is endowed with raw materials and natural resources which present a huge opportunity as these are locally sourced,” Mr Chikohora said during the Zimbabwe International Business Conference running alongside the ZITF yesterday.

“If all products produced in Africa conform to a relevant standard for that particular product then, the products are capable of accessing export markets, at the same time reducing reliance on cheap and sometimes sub-standard imports.”

He said competitiveness of products and higher profits allowed companies to expand, thereby creating employment.

“Standards also ensure a higher standard of living through elimination of counterfeit goods which may be defective. Especially for food stuffs, standards are of critical importance in safeguarding the health of the nation,” he said.

Mr Chikohora added that developing countries were using International Standards Organisation benchmarks like ISO 22000, which require that food management systems be used along with the relevant product standards for best quality results.

“This standard helps to promote a process approach to manage numerous linked functional departments in an organisation, in particular the use of resources in delivering customer satisfaction.

“This increases organisational success as it is a useful tool which increases efficiency and reduces irregular activities within the company resulting in consistency,” he said.

The main reason why many companies failed, Mr Chikohora said, was failure to adequately identify customer needs, undefined quality policy and ignoring customer complaints.

He said quality standards attracted foreign investment and boosted tourism.

Last year, SAZ certified a number of hotels across the country to international standards thus presenting a unique and historic opportunity for Zimbabwe to co-host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly in Victoria Falls with Zambia.

Mr Chikohora said ISO 31000 and ISO 26000 were standards for risk management systems and guidance on social responsibility, respectively, which developing countries were also using.

“If such management is not in place then natural resources will be used faster than they are replenished. Also manufacturing industry provides all forms of pollution from noise to land, their activities should be managed properly so that they do not destroy the ecosystem,” he said.

He said SAZ was a full member of the African Regional Standardisation Organisation, which promotes harmonisation of standards at continental level.

Through harmonisation and integration, ARSO is leading the continent in promoting intra-Africa trade with the potential of creating a US$1 trillion dollar economy.

Source : The Herald