A s the years go by consumers show a marked preference for processed foods rather than homemade foods. The need for quality control is therefore self-evident and each independent country has to establish a Bureau of Standards to ensure that manufactures apply quality control.

The Guyana Consumers Association lobbied for years before our Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) was established.

Now that the bureau is in place and working assiduously to set standards and ensure adherence to them, consumers ought to be assured that there will be no fluctuation in quality of locally manufactured products. Consumers still tend to prefer imported products to those that are locally produced.

The GNBS is greatly assisted in its work by the International Standards Organisation which establishes standards that are accepted by all member countries that are engaged in trade.

Dr Chatterpaul Ram-charran, the head of the GNBS, has written an article entitled ‘Competition in the CSME [Caricom Single Market and Economy] needs a National Quality Infras-tructure.’ The article directs the attention of manufacturers in Guyana to this need and the part they must play in it.

The first paragraphs appear hereunder and the remainder will appear in next week’s column.

Dr Ramcharran states:

“There is no doubt that the implementation of the CSME has resulted in competition for goods and services which has had a significant impact on the way that trade is conducted in the Region and characteristic of such competition is the concept of standards and quality of both products and services.

“In a competitive marketplace, customer satisfaction determines the market share for each supplier, and, ultimately, it determines which suppliers of products or services survive.

Any marketplace with multiple suppliers favours the customer, as customers, especially in developed countries, demand quality products and services that meet accepted standards. “For an organization to have a competitive advantage over other organizations that offer similar products or services and compete for the same set of prospective consumers, the organization must be capable of replicating the products or services it offers to prescribed standards or measurement yardsticks.

“Guyanese manufacturers and service providers are capable of competing efficiently, confidently and competitively in the CSME. However, there is the desperate need for the establishment of a National Quality infrastructure in Guyana and manufacturers must be an integral component of the infrastructure.

“The GNBS is currently involved in a range of activities to set up such a National Quality infrastructure to solidly support manufacturers (especially micro and small enterprises) in the competition which promises to be fierce.”