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