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Promotion of quality culture

  1. Educating farmers to increase productivity
  2. Promotion of quality culture

We may take advantage of the experiences of developed countries

By Dr. M. AsAd hasan,
Director, Pakistan Standards Institution
Jan 31 - Feb 06, 2000

The importance of Quality in industry, trade and commerce and in the development of technology needs no justification. "Nothing sells like Quality" and hence no nation or country can compete or survive without giving due importance to quality in its trade and industry. It becomes more important specially for those developing countries who intend to compete in international market and to enhance their technology in the interest of the prosperity of their countries.

In developing countries, however, at initial stages, sellers market usually prevails and the export of primary commodities and raw materials does not pose significant problems, in so far as quality control is concerned because of the relative simplicity of the operations involved in their processing, and hence the importance of standardization and quality control at such a stage is barely recognised. As compared to raw materials or primary commodities, manufactured goods are produced by more complex processes and machineries, skill labour and management and control processes. Quality indices, standards and specifications for such products are therefore more extensive, demanding and critical.

The countries of the world, which are implementing the quality system in their industries are making tremendous national progress. All the developed and developing countries have and are strictly monitoring the implementation of quality control schemes in their trades and industries. Among score of countries two examples of Japan and Turkey are quoted here. Japan took just 5 years to convert its reputation of cheap, shoddy products to a reputation for high quality, precision products at world competitive prices. Turkey increased its export three times in just three years by imposing a ban on the export of non-standard products from the country. Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hongkong etc., have also been benefitted by their quality consciousness.

The Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, realising the importance of standards & quality, described the following as "National Quality Policy", in his speech at the Chamber of Commerce, Karachi as early as on 27th April 1948:

"If your goods are to establish for themselves a reputation all their own, beginning must be made now and here. I assure you, gentlemen, that anything that my Government can do to achieve this end, they shall do. I would like Pakistan to become a synonym and hallmark for standard and quality in the market-places of the world".

The responsibility for the development and promotion of quality culture (i.e. effective implementation of quality and quality control) at national level is a broad societal spectrum ranging from Government to consumers. Each segment of society has to contribute in it. However, the most important part, specially in developing countries, has to be played by the Government. The creation of a national standards body, to establish and actively support and publicize national standardization and quality efforts, is considered to the most important for the prosperity of a nation.

Now a days, the status and the level of the national standards organization is considered to be the indicator of quality consciousness, industrial efficiency and productivity of the country. It is because the following premier functions, necessary for the popularization of quality consciousness in the society/country, have been recommended to be responsibility of the national standards organization by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) after a general consensus of its 125 members countries of the world:

1. Preparation of standards

2. Publication: Sales of

3. Certification: Marking of goods

4. Quality assurance

5. Metrology

6. Education, Promotion

7. Testing Facilities

8. Applied Industrial Research.

On the basis of the experiences of almost all the advance/developed countries, the following recommendations could be made for the development and promotion of an effective quality culture at the national level:

1. Establish strong national leadership and national plan through national standards body, association of manufacturers professional bodies. This means formation of groups to spearhead the quality movement, develop and quality consciousness at all level through seminars etc., by professional experts. In national plan serious consideration should be given to establish trade policies to encourage competition and quality movement and make local manufacturers to produce goods which meet quality standards.

2. Establish and support and publicize national quality and standardization efforts. Also encourage, support and recognize the Certification Systems backed up by sound programme of education, promotion, consultancy, inspection, surveillance, product testing, industrial metrology and calibration etc. In a Certification System, an assurance is provided by a competent organization, independent of trade interest, that services/goods are being offered/manufactured in conformity with standards/specified requirements.

3. Create government and commercial compulsion for reasonable levels of quality via quality requirements in purchase contracts, building specifications, standardization and certification, export inspection programmes and so on.

4. Establish media for exchange. Promote industrial applications. Hold seminars, radio and T.V. talks, give wide publicity to the national projects on quality plan.

5. Establish an extensive training programme. This can be organized by the quality control society or other organizations for managers and practitioners. Academic institutions should be stimulated to develop courses on the quality.

6. Develop a programme to promote public awareness of quality, safety and so on. Print and electronic media should be used for this purpose. Consumers associations should be involved to pressurise the monopolistic organizations to market only quality products. Quality Control Circles should be encouraged in factories to have quality product through participation of workers at shop floor levels.

It is most unfortunate that most of the above recommendations have not been followed in the country in true spirit. The level of quality consciousness is very low in all the segments of the society and no attempt has apparently been made to raise its level. Now it is high time that the quality activities should be introduced in the country on top priority basis and at much higher level so that the deficiency in this area may be picked up without any further delay. It appears customary that every five-year plan has some main theme e.g. Seventh five-year plan of Pakistan had the theme of "Energy". It is, therefore, suggested that let the theme of next five-year plan be "Quality". All plans should be quality oriented and all the emphasis should be given on the production of quality items and services. This one factor will not only improve tremendously our export and thereby increase the Foreign Exchange earnings and reduce trade deficits but will also increase the level of technical know-how and its development to a great extent which shall result in scientific/technical advancement of the country and also solve the problem of non-employment.

Action plans:

In order to achieve the desired goal of quality, in our society and industries, we may take advantage of the experiences of those developed countries who have successfully established the quality culture in their countries. From their experiences the following action plans may be suggested:

1) Creation of Task Force on Quality (TFQ):

In order to promote, coordinate, integrate, support, strengthen, monitor, ensure the compliance of the national quality activities, a Task Force on Quality (TFQ) must be created for an initial period of 5 years by the Government. A team of highly qualified, competent, experienced, professionals both from public and private sectors should be inducted in the proposed TFQ, to address all the quality related issues necessary for the creation of quality culture at national level, resulting in enhancement of technology and exports. This task force should establish strong link between national standards bodies, national accreditation councils, certification bodies, laboratories, academic institutions, associations of manufacturers and producers, professional bodies, chambers of commerce and industries etc., etc. It must work with full autonomy, on war footings, in order to get these recommended actions implemented in different phases (on short, medium and long term bases).

2) Awareness:

a) The quality consciousness among the public, consumers, traders and manufacturers has to be created through publicity on mass media i.e. T.V., Radio and Press etc.

b) The seminars, symposia, and workshops at national and international levels, have also to be arranged to arouse quality consciousness amongst the persons engaged in production, quality and its related fields.

c) An intensive coverage must always be made on all the quality activities being performed in the country in the national hook-up.

d) The formation of Consumers Associations should be encouraged. These associations will exert their pressure on monopolistic organization to market only quality products and will act not only as a watch dog for quality but will also generate a lot of awareness in general masses about their perception of conventional quality products.

3) Education and Training:

a) The prevailing global quality trends (e.g. ISO-9000, ISO-14000 etc.) must be monitored and introduced in the country. Necessary arrangements of training/courses to follow them should always be made on priority basis.

b) Training needs in different sectors should be determined and necessary training courses/programmes be prepared to cater their demands.

c) Necessary training programmes should also be developed, at all levels, for the officers of Government and autonomous organizations.

d) Necessary training institutions to impart the knowledge of quality and productivity, to improve skill and technical know-how and to change the attitude of all engaged at various levels in controlling and manufacturing agencies have to be established, encouraged and adored. All possible supports should be extended to such institutions.

e) Subjects relating to quality must be introduced in the syllabi of technical and professional courses at all levels i.e. from schools to universities.

f) Quality Control Circles should be encouraged and popularized to have quality products services through participation of workers at shop floor levels.

g) International cooperation/coordination must be developed with advance countries (specially with Japan and USA) to learn from their experiences in the quality and its related fields.

4) Strengthening of the National Standard Body:

In view of effective role of national standard body and the recommendation in the Science and Technology Policy 1984, that "Pakistan Standards Institution (PSI) should be strengthened and revitalised" and to widen PSI scope of work, update its responsibilities and related laws, to enable it to monitor the quality of the products on the basis of foreign national standards and buyers demand, and to meet the challenge of the gigantic task of introduction, popularization and enforcement of standardization and quality control in the country, a comprehensive act with the name of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) Act was prepared in 1984. This act has now been enacted and notified in the official Gazette on 17th March 1996 as Act-VI of 1996. However, its enforcement is still awaited.

There is dire need to establish the said authority at once and allow it to run with full administrative/financial autonomy in order to achieve the desired objectives. The Authority should also have full freedom to interact with all the international and regional standardization bodies e.g. International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Electro-technical Commission (IEC), Organization International de Metrologie Legale (OIML), Economic Co-operation Organization (ECO), O.I.C., SAARC, etc. etc.

5) Supportive Institutions:

a) As mentioned earlier, quality culture can not be created in isolation or with only national standard body. Services of all the institutions in the areas of inspection, standardization, accreditation, certification, testing, metrology, training, consultancy and information services, etc., have to be utilized and coordinated. Hence, provision of due infrastructure and all the financial, material and moral supports have to be extended to all institutions involved in the said activities.

b) The creation of society/association of quality professionals must be encouraged and welcome.

6) Incentives to industry:

Incentives have to be offered to the manufacturers for adoption of quality schemes in their industries. Some of common incentives are:

a) Quality Awards.

b) Rebates on sales taxes.

c) Income Tax concessions.

d) Import facilities allowed for balancing, modernising and renovating (BMR) of their units.

e) Extension of preference, concession and other facilities by Debt Financing Institutions in the establishment, expansion and BMR of manufacturing units.

f) Provision of credit facilities on concessionery rate for establishment of quality control facilities within the units.

g) Preference on price (e.g. 2-5%) over others for the adoption of quality control systems in manufacturing units.

7) Enforcement:

a) Government should ban the import and export of all the sub-standard articles in the country. This is vital for the good reputation of Pakistani products in foreign market, to save the country from being used as dumping yard by other developed countries and to discourage/minimize the production of sub-standard articles in the country.

d) At present more than hundred countries of the world are controlling the manufacture and marketing of sub-standard products in their countries through an ISO recommended system called as "Certification Marks Systems", in which an assurance is provided through a Certification Systems that goods are being manufactured in conformity with a standard. All the efforts have to be made to introduce, popularize and enforce Certification Marks Systems in the country for the production of quality goods. Under the authority of the PSQCA Act the Government is empowered to enforce the quality of certain products by notification in the Gazette through the Certification Marks System. The Government should, therefore, ensure the quality of health and safety products, exportable commodities and general consumers items through this system under the PSQCA Act.

c) Restrictions on the purchases of sub-standard articles by Bulk purchasing agencies e.g. Defence, Railways, Airline, PWD, Food & Agriculture Department, etc., etc., may be imposed. The directives may be issued to such major purchasing agencies to put an embargo from their sides on the purchase of non-standard products.

d) Government should also ban and discourage import and production of manufacturing machineries which can not produce articles of standard quality.