BUSINESSES — EMBRACING STANDARDS FOR COMPETITIVENESS

In today’s competitive business environment, standards and quality are two key aspects that determine the market share of businesses, and ultimately these determine who will remain competitive and who will just survive.

More often than not, the tendency is for customers to demand quality products and services that meet acceptable standards. For any company to have a competitive advantage in a business environment where similar products and services are being offered to the same set of customers, consistency, efficiency and reliability must be maintained for that company to remain successful.

Utilizing the requirements outlined in available product, service and system standards is integral to ensuring those outcomes are achieved. There are thousands of standards available worldwide that are invisible to most consumers and their vast number alone suggests that the world needs standards, hence the need for industries to implement standards in their operations in order to be successful.

Apart from promoting market efficiency and expansion, when industry utilizes standards the prospects of international trade are good. There is a greater likelihood that through conformance to standards overseas buyers will have confidence in locally produced products and services. Further, conformance to standards and technical regulations helps to remove barriers to market entry for products exported.

Hence, with standards, local businesses, which are finding themselves restrained by a limited share of the local market, can expand beyond our borders to earn crucial foreign currency. For many also, to become competitive means overcoming the insurmountable task of innovation through the inexpensive use of product and performance standards which facilitate the diffusion of new technologies. Through the use of adopted standards, new design, performance and testing parameters are transferred from companies that have the resources for product development to those that do not.

Small businesses world-over are known to take advantage of these opportunities that standards provide. Unfortunately, however, some standards can sometimes be adverse to business survival. They can cause a rise in transaction costs, used to create barriers to trade, and can even constrain innovation. Poor or indeterminate standards can also compromise quality and safety of products and services. Nevertheless, in the foreseeable future, it is anticipated that more local companies and businesses will begin to embrace standards as a key means for competitiveness.

Once called upon, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards will respond to the needs of these businesses by supporting the development and implementation national or international standards that are crucial for their success.

For further information, please contact the Guyana National Bureau of Standards on telephone numbers: 219-0065, 219-0066 or visit the GNBS website: www.gnbsgy.org.