The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the north rift region have been equipped with skills on Quality Management System (QMS) to ensure their products and services meet the acceptable standards that are required in the market, thanks to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) in collaboration with the National Quality Institute (NQI).
In an interview with KNA during the Quality Management System and Kenya Quality Awards Awareness Training for MSMEs on Thursday at the KEBS North rift regional office in Eldoret, Department of Quality Assurance and Inspection in-charge Wilson Kosgei said the one-day engagement with MSMEs is aimed at training them to understand the Quality Management Systems to improve quality of their products and services.
“Our objective is about quality and how to bring out a culture of quality in our organizations and how to incorporate it in the processing of goods to ensure high quality,” said Kosgei.
He further noted that the bureau focuses on quality to ensure final products in processing are of acceptable standard and quality to promote competitiveness in the market.
The public at the same time, was sensitized on the need to verify the authenticity of products in the market through sending an SMS of the KEBS standardization mark of quality code to 20023.
The Quality Assurance specialist further noted that the event was geared to enhancing the MSMEs knowledge on the implementation of the QMS which includes handling of goods and products, management of personnel, establishing proper mechanisms to manage complaints among others, which will increase organization’s productivity.
The MSMEs operators were also taken through the Kenya Quality Awards and East Africa Awards application processes. To participate in the national and regional awards the operators were encouraged to apply online and register for standards on their new products.
“The government is keen to support innovation, we develop certification standards for new products and certify them, when you purchase a standard for your product, register it and obtain certification you we automatically enroll you in the Kenya Quality Awards, provided the product is genuinely Kenyan made and uniquely from your region,” explained Kosgei.
The MSMEs owners were urged to be keen on the aspects of quality and customer satisfaction through observing costs of good quality like planning, maintenance, training, audits and others while at the same time minimizing the costs of bad quality which include rework, low quality image, warranty claims, customer returns, delays and others.
“As a manufacturer, you need to do proper planning in terms of markets, personnel and raw materials to achieve the desired end results; machines need to be properly maintained to enhance quality, you have to train personnel in the aspects of technology to ensure competency at the workplace, if you put your systems correctly the cost of production will be low,” said Kosgei.
Kosgei pointed out that to excel in the market, the MSMEs need to embrace the seven key quality management principles of customer focus, leadership, engagement with people, process approach, improvement, evidence based decision-making and relationships management with interested parties in order to identify their needs and expectations.
“Whatever you do, you must uphold the customer focus principle; the guidelines in your organization must bear the focus to customers internally and externally, like establishing customer relations desk to gauge satisfaction level by analysing feedback,” he explained.
He noted that identification and strengthening of organizational supply chains is key in achieving customer satisfaction while at the same time failing to meet the requirements in any part of the quality management chain would result in multiple negative effects.
On his part, Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) manager Festus Koech pointed out that the authority has been keen in supporting MSMEs through regulations by coordinating, harmonizing and reviewing policies that affect their operation, offering institutional capacity building, product promotion and increasing market access.
“Small businesses are not excluded in decision making, MSEA is there to stand in for SMEs, in our board they have representatives; we are trying to formalize the informal sector through resource mobilization, we facilitate technology development and transfer where we train SMEs on the use of machines to increase production,” said Koech.
He reiterated the need for the MSMEs to register under the Authority in order to have access to funds from credit facilities, benefit from improved market access like the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) shows, capacity building among others.
By Ekuwam Sylvester and Judy Too