PRETORIA, 8 November 2018 - The South African Quality Institute (SAQI) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have hosted a joint event to celebrate World Quality Day. The theme for this year’s event was “Changing the Mind-set on Quality”. This event falls within the framework of the Global Quality and Standards Programme South Africa project, “Strengthening the quality of essential and vegetable oil exports from South Africa” funded by Switzerland, through the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Paul Harding, Managing Director of the SAQI, opened the forum and said that if South Africa wants to become a major player in the international essential oil and vegetable oil market, it is important to understand quality management principles. He continued, saying the concepts of quality start with doing things right the first time.
“We need to change the mind-set of business and the general public on quality and address attitudes towards product and service delivery, including operator and staff level, right up to executive management level.”
Harding concluded by saying quality is everyone's responsibility.
Dr Angelique Botha, Chief Metrologist at the Inorganic Laboratory, Chemistry and Materials Metrology Division of the National Metrology Institute of South Africa, explained the importance of accurate measurement and calibration according to international standards. These measurements are essential for a sustainable supply of agricultural products.
A presentation by SAQI emphasized the need to redefine training for quality practitioners by teaching principles of quality first, before moving on to introducing International quality management standards. This is a model that has proved successful in the manufacturing and services industries.
During a panel discussion, the necessity of having an appropriate quality infrastructure to support industry, particularly accredited testing facilities was highlighted.
Dr Elsie Meintjies, an adviser for the UNIDO project, said, “The presentations and subsequent discussions between a range of stakeholders at the event emphasized the role and application of standards, quality assurance, metrology and accreditation to facilitate improvement of yields, produce a consistent quality of the product and gain market access for the South African agricultural community.”
For more information contact:
UNIDO Department of Trade, Investment and Innovation