Do you deliberately take for granted that so many of the things you use on a daily basis are the same everywhere?
Again, why do you, intentionally for that matter, take for granted the fact that you are somehow guaranteed to live and move with much ease anywhere and everywhere?
You shouldn’t care less anymore because you might be making another’s life a living hell, in one way or another.
If you might be wondering what I am driving at, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) is politely asking you just to imagine a world without standards:
“A reminder as to how much difference standardization makes is the example of overseas traveller who has to carry a suitcase full of adaptors from country to country. These plugs were all specified in the days before international standardisation was widely recognised and they are a daily reminder of the universal value of standards. Similarly, the example of a person trying unsuccessfully to connect a computer to a phone system in a country other than the one in which it was bought.”
Therefore, their case for standards—which all of us should automatically buy into—is simply and straightforwardly as they put it below:
Standards protect people
“Kenyans at home, at play and at work are made safer by Standards. Traffic lights, footpaths, power points, seatbelts and child restraints, air quality, smoke and fire alarms are all underpinned by Kenyan Standards.”
Besides, KEBS says standards give businesses and consumers confidence that the goods and services they are developing or using are safe, reliable and will do the job they were intended for. “Standards help consumers make everyday choices between one product and another. They protect Kenyan tradesmen – builders, electricians, plumbers – and their customers. Government public health, safety and environment policies are often measured against Kenyan standard yardsticks.”
Catalyst for innovation
Also, it should not come as a surprise that standards support innovation.
“Standards provide a platform on which to build new and exciting ideas. As our world changes, new Standards are introduced to reflect the latest technologies, innovations and community needs – redundant Standards are discarded.”
Cause of productivity
Another main reason why you should deeply care about and act accordingly is that standards boost Kenyan production and productivity: standards save businesses time and money. Standards cut production costs.
“They drive economies of scale, the use of common parts and specifications, help cut energy bills and foster new technologies.”
Ultimately, in case you didn’t know this too, standards make Kenyan businesses more competitive because consumers know the difference between what works and what doesn’t.
“Standards for whether it’s a bike helmet, baby napkins or complaints handling system can dictate success or failure in the market.”
That is why, probably for the last reason, the Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS) now aggressively pursuses an enhanced quality management certification.
After undergoing a successful inspection by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS). MEDS, a leading regional medicine and medical equipment supplier, is currently ISO 9001:2008 certified and now transiting to the new ISO 9001:2015, which would give a stronger vote of confidence in its quality management.
MEDS Managing Director Paschal Manyuru says after the inspection last year, KEBS recertified the organization for another two years. “The achievement goes a long way to confirm that our products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality,” he said.
Why quality management systems
Quality Management Systems ensure that organizations offer products and services of consistently good quality through efficient processes and helps them to adapt to a changing world.
Mr Manyuru said MEDS was now eying the latest ISO 9001:2015 quality certification, released in September 2015, which focuses more on customer satisfaction. This new certification combines the process approach with risk-based thinking, and employs the ‘plan-do-check-act’ cycle at all levels in the organisation.
Mr Manyuru said MEDS provides affordable medicines and other medical supplies to 2,300 health facilities in East Africa. To ensure quality, he said the organisation acquired a World Health Organisation (WHO) pre-qualified quality control laboratory that tests over 100 medicines and pharmaceutical samples every month.
“The laboratory plays a vital role in the fight against substandard and counterfeit medicines and pharmaceuticals in the region,” he added.
Mr Manyuru said MEDS has been supplying Kenyan counties with affordable medicines under a partnership signed in 2013 to increase access to quality healthcare and latest quality certification would expand its customer base.
BY MOSES OMUSOLO