Senior Minister of Energy and Business Kerrie Symmonds is appealing to businesses in Barbados to seek approval from the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) for their products and services and use the endorsement on quality to drive awareness and acceptance in a competitive environment.
Delivering the featured address at the BNSI’s Visibility Conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, on Wednesday, Symmonds recalled that when he took up leadership of the ministry in 2020, only 30 to 40 clients of the 9000 small and micro businesses registered in Barbados, were BNSI clients.
He told the conference held under the theme Quality, a Must for Success, that he is pleased that the BNSI’s reach has increased in recent years, considering that businesses must improve their best practices in order to meet high international standards.
“It hit me like a lightning bolt because it told me that there was a glaring and severe disconnect between the business enterprises in this country and the standards that we want businesses to operate at if they are to grow and grow beyond the narrow borders of 166 square miles, into the wider world, CARICOM and beyond.
“More importantly, if they are going to be in a position first and foremost to overcome the criticisms that Barbadians make of the quality of service that they feel here at home every time they go into a supermarket or go into a store in Bridgetown. And we all know it because we all live here and we have all experienced it. But it can’t be a verandah conversation where we sit down on a Saturday and talk about the experience we had on the Friday afternoon when we went in town,” Symmonds said.
The senior minister explained that businesses can use the BNSI’s approval as a marketing tool to promote their products and services, and to give consumers the confidence that they will receive quality service for their money.
Symmonds added that while Barbadian businesses have to move their product and services throughout the world, they often face non-tariff trade barriers which are implemented by international markets to legitimately protect their people.
He said this is why it is important that there is a conversation about the national quality culture where enterprises position themselves to produce improved and standardized products and services to contribute to the increase in foreign exchange inflows
The minister also condemned the practice of workers being idle on the job frustrating productivity and competition in the workplace
“The movement of goods and services requires the highest of standards, the highest of quality and the reliability that comes with that reputation. If you buy Barbados products, if you buy that bar of soap or body scrub made by the young lady in St James, that is among the best bars of soap or body scrub that you can get anywhere in the Caribbean.
“That we must now have the national impetus behind all of those business ventures that gives them that stamp of approval first of all from the BNSI, but actually then allows it to resonate in the hearts and minds of our people and our visitors to the island, that this is of the best quality that you can find. So that the competitive issue is about consistency of quality and your certainty of supply,” he said. (AH)