How would a consumer respond if a packaged product claims to contain a particular ingredient but does not, or it is labelled as weighing 500 grams but only holds 450 grams?
Such incidents could completely ruin the credibility of the brand and impact even the image of the country from which the product is imported.
This was outlined by Barbadian expert in metrology and standards as he addressed small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners in the creative sector attending a National Cultural Foundation (NCF) symposium Accelerate to Export Symposium 2022.
Haydn Rhynd, acting director of the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) was one of the resource persons at the NCF’s day-long conference and cautioned the business owners they were not exempt from conforming to global standards, even if they ran a one-man operation selling niche products.
At the same time, Rhynd provided a comprehensive roadmap to a group of cultural industry entrepreneurs on some of the requirements to become successful exporters.
Focusing on the topic: “Are your products Up to Standard? Rhynd not only reinforced the need to maintain high-quality products and services but also having that quality certified as meeting minimum global standards.
“Quality has to be at the back of our minds every time. . . If you stay on a cost strategy only, you will not survive for very long because our inputs such as labour are high,” noted the BNSI acting director, who is also one of the key players engaged in developing Barbados’ soon-to-be-launched National Quality Policy.
The BNSI head is highly experienced in matters of standardisation, the implementation of quality, certification, and accreditation programmes. He informed participants though they may be producing high-quality merchandise, certification of the standard was critical added value.
“You believe your product is good quality but how does the rest of the world see it? If I am a buyer, even if you come to a trade show
. . . how do I really know that I am going to get consistency. If I purchase your item in November and then purchase it in January, am I assured of receiving the same quality?” he posed the question to participants who were drawn from beauty, spa and wellness, the home and accents segment, as well as fashion and accessories.
Rhynd explained the value and benefits of standards, as well as the process of achieving certification which can be accessed by first becoming a member of the BNSI.
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) which comprises 188 countries including Barbados, come to a consensus on the minimum standard requirements for a range of matters.
Offering a little known fact, Rhynd revealed that under a BNSI pilot study of some local products, it was discovered that many of them were short of labelled weight. In some cases, he disclosed, some products were as much as 20 per cent below the labelled weight.
Consequently, Rhynd said development of Barbados’ National Quality Policy will document the benchmarks for local standards on every sector and production in goods and services.
He also encouraged SMEs to become members of BNSI where annual membership fees begin at $50.
“We are here to guide you through certification. We also conduct assessments for maintenance of standards and our staff are at your service for consultations on areas such as metrology, labelling advice and more,” he outlined. (PR)
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