Standards provide as many benefits for small businesses as they do for global enterprises. The strategic use of standards can make a significant difference to the annual profits of an SME, and can sometimes mean the difference between success and failure.
For smaller firms, some of the benefits of using standards include the opening up of export markets, heightened operational efficiency and increased confidence as customers from all over the world recognise the compliance of businesses, products and services that comply with standards.
For many small businesses, making the decision to participate in a standards development process remains difficult, as managers are typically reluctant to allocate resources to a long-term process that may not yield immediate benefits.
However, if a company is committed and participates actively in the process, the return on investment can be substantial.
The principal benefits of participation include visibility, in-depth understanding, innovation, competitive advantage, networking possibilities, and opportunities to access potential customers. In other words, non-participation in standardisation gives away the advantage to the competition.
It is, however, still a challenge in many business environments locally and abroad to convince small companies to participate in standardisation.
According to Kurt Blind, one of Europe’s most prominent advocate working in the field of Standardisation, “Most SMEs, particularly the smaller ones, lack the necessary resources to commit to long term strategies and investments, which are only paying back in the future.
“Their management is largely involved in daily operational practice, and there is no time or money available for activities not directly related to improving the daily business. They usually have a short term view of their business and are limited in reacting to anticipated changes such as future regulations or the development of new standards.”
The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) through its Consultancy and Training programmes provides an avenue for micro, small and medium size enterprises to be sensitised on the requirements of national and international standards.
The notion that an enterprise is too small to implement standards is a myth. The Bureau continues to believe that it is time that local businesses begin to embrace the implementation of standards as guidelines and tools to strategically streamline their operations, realise profits, maintain sustainability, and most importantly, facilitate access to more markets.
In addition, through standard implementation, an enterprise can ensure quality, improve customer service, reduce costs and engage in global trade.
The GYS 231 standard, ‘Requirements for good manufacturing practices for micro, small and medium sized enterprises’ defines the fundamental requirements to enhance small business performance through the process of continual improvement and assurance of quality, environment and occupational safety and health requirements.
The standard also reduces nonconformity. Local SMEs are therefore encouraged to consult with the GNBS to be sensitised on how this national standard can be implemented to guarantee improved business performance.
Other specific standards, which can be implemented by small businesses in Guyana include Specification for package water, Specification for jams, (fruit preserves) and jellies, Specification for salted fish and dried salted fish, Specifications for coconut oil, and Specification for breads and rolls.
Entrepreneurs are encouraged to initiate contact with the GNBS to find out which standards can best address the needs of their businesses for growth and competitiveness.
For further information, please contact the GNBS on telephone numbers: (592) 219-0065, (592) 219-0066 or visit the GNBS website: www.gnbsgy.org
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