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15.10.2008 Business & Finance

Trade Ministry trains SMEs on quality management systems

By gna

Ministry of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiatives, on Wednesday pledged its continuous support to facilitate the installation of Quality Management Systems (QMS) by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to ensure quality standards in their business.

The facility, which is the heart of demands for both industrial and final goods by consumers in foreign and domestic markets, allow companies to compete successfully by bringing down internal costs, increase production and deliver goods of high quality.

Mr Seth Evans Addo, Chief Director of Trade Ministry, made the pledge at the opening of a day's training workshop for SMEs in Accra under the theme “Quality and Quality Management Systems”.

The workshop to create awareness about the need to internalise quality as a strategic objective in SMEs and larger companies in the country, would present tools as to how entrepreneurs could start step-by-step to install QMS in their companies.

It formed part of the Ministry's programme to improve competitiveness and productivity of Ghanaian industries and products both locally and internationally.

Mr Addo said the Ministry recently received reports from trading partners about some food products which were unable to meet food safety standards and reported to the European Union Rapid Alert System.

“These alerts did not only cause significant short-term economic losses, but also considerable longer-term damage to our reputation, which is likely to affect Ghana's long-term strategic vision of becoming a major agro-industrial economy and middle income country by 2015.”

He explained that in the era of globalisation and competitiveness, every category of production and services was characterised by accelerating changes, innovation and massive amounts of new information.

Mr Addo said implementation of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 9000 sets of quality standards was necessary for manufacturers and service organisations to be effective competitors and put emphasis on customer, leadership, employee improvement, process approach to activities and resources, continuous improvement and customer partnership.

The ISO 9000, which has the objective to demonstrate that an organisation, is capable meeting customer and regulation requirements consistently, certified close to 900,000 companies out of which 20 companies were in Ghana.

He articulated the changes instituted by many companies to include total quality management, zero defects, Malcolm Baldrige national quality award and six sigma approaches as a means of rewarding producers of goods and services that met the highest level of standards.

“Changes in market preference or technology, which used to take years, may now take place at relatively short intervals. As the pace of change accelerates, it becomes more difficult to maintain stable relationship with suppliers, customers, brokers, distributors and even your own company personnel.”

Mr Addo urged managements of SMEs and other corporate bodies to accept the programme to move trade and business forward.

Mr Nimo Ayenkorah, former Chief Executive of Ghana Standards Board, reiterated the need for SMEs to embrace the programme to enable Ghana attain middle income status by 2015.