It does not matter whether you are a small/medium-sized business or a large company, standards are important!
To paraphrase ISO, standards are basically rules that ensure quality in the development of a product or deliverance of a service. As a company seeks to internationalize or gain international markets, adapting and complying with quality standards become a MUST!
Standards are divided into Technical Standards and Mandatory Standards. In Belize, some of our Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) may not even be aware that there are minimum accepted practices for the production of goods or services. These are known as Technical Standards, but they are NOT mandatory. These cover aspects such as terminology, symbols, and packaging marking of a product.
On the other hand, Technical Regulations or “mandatory standards” are specifically designed to protect consumers. Therefore, they carry legal implications for non-compliance. Examples of Technical Regulations for Belize includes Packaging and & Labeling, Liquid & Petroleum Gas, and Labeling for tobacco products and for beverages. Technical regulations cover two tasks:
- Product characteristics which are generally found in the relevant standard and,
- Administrative procedures, which are processes that are necessary to ensure compliance with the requirements outlined in the technical regulations, which cover areas relating to testing, certification, inspection, approval, and sanctions. One well known example is ISO:9001, which is quality management system. This standard allows for a system of procedures from the time inputs are procured to the final products leaving the facility, so as to ensure consistency and quality.
For example, if a small business is interested in exporting fish to the United States, the standard requirements will be specific to the importing country, such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standard requirements. Given the health implications associated with this product, measures will have to be put in place for the production area, storage, and shipping. Additionally, the exporter will have to meet.
So what are some of the benefits of adopting Standards?
- Protecting of consumers from danger and health risks.
- Providing accurate information to consumers.
- Ensuring and improving quality and safety.
- Facilitating international trade, and improving your market competitiveness.
For more information on standards, please contact BELTRAIDE or the Belize Bureau of Standards.