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Standards The Key For Mico Enterpise
Published on June 18, 2013 by admin

STANDARDS THE KEY FOR MICRO ENTERPISE

Most, if not all of us have had the experience of purchasing a meal which we thoroughly enjoyed and when we tried to repeat the experience two weeks later we were sorely disappointed.  On the other hand we also have favorite foods which have become favorites because the taste, flavor and texture are guaranteed each and every time.  Some of us purchase particular brands, be it clothing, electronics or vehicles and we do so because we are looking for and expect a certain quality and that brand delivers on our expectation every time.  The fact is, it’s all in the standards. 

One of the biggest challenges facing micro enterprises is the absence or under-estimation of the importance of standards.  Two things which help to build strong brands are consistency and quality.  Customers need the guarantee that if they purchase a product today, when they purchase it again in two years the quality of that product will be the same.  Consumers today are also much more discriminating and so they are demanding quality and a bigger bang for their buck.

But why is it important for manufacturers to operate from a platform of standards?  According to Mark Sargeant of Forensic Consulting Inc – “Without standards everyone does what he thinks is right, what is convenient, or perhaps what they think would work.  The problem here is that ‘right’ becomes relative without corporate guidelines or standards. What is convenient may not be safe, cost effective nor in the best interest of the company; and what an employee or even a manager thinks might work, could have a devastating impact on the business and the livelihood of others. We know that the resources available to each organization are different but there are some simple things companies can do raise the safety standards at their locations. Fire Prevention measures include proper placement, maintenance and visibility of fire extinguishers.  Most people don’t adhere to the rule that there should be one fire extinguisher every 75 feet, and oftentimes companies that have extinguishers fall short on the maintenance programme.  Companies can ensure that entrance and exit signs are clearly marked and that there is regular removal of waste products; for example in furniture plants.  We just need to be more proactive, to think and to plan.”

Lack of standards or adherence to standards can have far-reaching consequences; there is increased vulnerability or exposure for the company which can range from financial risk to product quality to the company’s ability to trade freely.

The old adage that haste makes waste also applies when shortcuts are taken; failure to meet acceptable standards can result in higher production costs and a reduction in profitability. Ultimately, if a company fails to meet acceptable standards its ability to earn foreign exchange through export trade is greatly hindered and the sustainability of the business is put into question.”

When standards are in place everyone benefits.  For manufacturers, standards help to rationalize the manufacturing process, they help to eliminate or reduce wasteful material or labour, to reduce inventories of both raw material and finished products and can effectively reduce the cost of manufacturing.  The result is a more efficient and profitable business which is sustainable into the future.

From the customer’s perspective, standards assure the quality of goods purchased or services received; they are ensured of a better quality product and received better value for money. Where applicable, company standards and policies are extremely helpful in settling disputes with suppliers and can help protect the manufacturer.

More and more we are realizing that standardization is becoming a pre-requisite for trade, it can also open doors to the manufacturer which would previously have been closed. Increasingly certification is germane to business development and national or third party product certifications can only be awarded if product standards are used. International standards organizations such as ISO, IEC, CODEX, and the European Union for example issue new product standards or revise existing ones to keep pace with market requirements and changing technologies.

The sector has definitely been working on improving standards but there is still a lot of work to be done. When we look at it, most manufacturing standards are company standards, and the company’s productivity depends largely on the scope and adequacy of its standards.

Whether it be technical standards that deal with processes, materials, tools, planning methods, the movement of materials and operator safety or managerial standards that deal with operational procedures and systems in the company, the way forward is through standardization and the adoption of appropriate business standards. 

Through adequate business standards local business can streamline their production processes, increase the productivity, better utilize their human and financial resources and ultimately build stronger and better businesses.


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