A national Syrian label for quality

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04/14/2010


Quality is measured according to several criteria related to the product or the service offered, but also to the management of human resources and the efficiency of workers. In Syria, it seems that both the public and private sectors are concerned by the label of quality.

Quality is measured according to several criteria related to the product or the service offered, but also to the management of human resources and the efficiency of workers. In Syria, it seems that both the public and private sectors are concerned by the label of quality.


Noureddine Al-Aathar - Damascus, Eurojar

The Quality project in Syria recently launched, in collaboration with the European Union and the Syrian Ministry of Industry, a workshop entitled “Planning for the implementation of a national label of quality”, with participation of representatives from ministries and chambers of commerce and industry, as well as from private institutions.

The workshop comes in the framework of the technical cooperation signed between the Syrian government and the European Union aiming at reinforcing the management of quality infrastructure and developing Syrian capabilities in international trade.

The 12 million Euro programme, with an implementation period of 4 years, will assist Syria to develop activities related to quality on different aspects, mainly norms and specifications, legislation, metrology, accreditation, compliance and promotion of new practices related to quality in business and economic activities in general.

The two-day workshop, performed by Turkish expert Hakan Kilitcioglu, was an interactive activity. Participants were divided into three groups to reach final results, which would then be proposed for the national strategy for quality.

The selection criteria
Kilitcioglu explains the process to Eurojar: we have specified the main points that will make the Syrian label of quality a transparent and credible label, noting that these specifications concern enterprises from the public and private sectors as well as municipalities and different institutions. He outlined that the most important norms that should be taken into consideration in order to get the label are the management of the enterprise, the training of the employees, the incentives offered to them, their participation at the planning level within the enterprise, the internal production operations, customers’ satisfaction, and the compliance to their needs: these norms, says Kilitcioglu, are the prerequisites for the title of excellence, and all enterprises should abide by them to acquire the label. He adds that the norms defined to obtain the label require hard work based on examples previously applied in Europe. The title of “excellence” is the most important title to get. It is based on all the details of the enterprise activities. Once the activities are well evaluated, the label of quality could be granted to the enterprise.

Targeting the international market
One of the groups working on the project, constituted of 9 persons, managed to implement a global vision aiming at inciting enterprises to obtain the label once they fulfill the required conditions: improving the work conditions, better management, the efficiency of workers and a good reputation that helps enterprises reach international markets.

The group considered that the label could contribute in enhancing national economy and its competitiveness on the international level. It can help increase the revenues of entrepreneurs and their employees. Yet, the group pointed out some factors that could hinder the process of acquiring the label, precisely the “sentimentality” in dealing with serious issues, that prevails in the Syrian culture; the weakness of the academic and professional education of employees; the fear of unveiling critical information related to the enterprise; the risk of having biased and non-transparent committees; and finally the fact that several entrepreneurs are not yet convinced with the new system.

Member of the board of directors of the “Syrian Association for Quality”, Mohammed Abdel Salam Karouni underlines several obstacles that constitute a serious impediment to getting the national label of quality for a good number of public sector enterprises: “The absence of clear criteria in selecting top executives in an enterprise, the lack of clarity in the administration’s prerogatives, the priority given to productivity instead of quality, and the rigidity of certain laws and regulations.”

Karouni thinks that one of the reasons preventing public enterprises from acquiring the national label of quality is that a number of employees do not feel that they belong to the enterprise and as a matter of fact, participate minimally in the elaboration of plans and strategies within the enterprise. He adds:”Laws and regulations protecting employees are not efficient. Furthermore, employees are not well aware of the importance of quality in production. They do not get systematic trainings in line with work requirements. There are no specific evaluation criteria for the performance of employees in these institutions. As for the planning within the enterprise, it is most of the time too centralized.” He suggests that laws tackling the activity of public enterprises should be amended to become more compliant with the norms of the national label of quality and to introduce long term plans and strategies in public enterprises in participation with the employees. Finally, an evaluation system for the efficiency of employees should be adopted.