Local businesses are being encouraged to attain internationally accepted certification for their management systems right here in Jamaica, through the National Certification Body of Jamaica (NCBJ).
The NCBJ, which was established in 2007, is accredited by the National Accreditation Board to offer internationally recognised certification to quality management system and environment management system standards.
Manager of the NCBJ, Jacqueline Scott Brown, said the agency currently offers management system certification to ISO 9001 2008, which refers to the quality management system, and ISO 14001, which is the environmental management system.
Mrs. Scott Brown explained that certification is important, as it not only improves a company’s image, but it also tells customers that their goods and services are of a particular standard.
She said gaining certification through the NCBJ is a sign that customers can expect consistency in the delivery of quality products.
“What we have seen is that, globally, companies are now going for certification, because it is an attestation that they have a system in place that deals with consistency. And, once they have a recognised system, it can assist with market penetration, because having certification, which is accepted internationally, means that your goods or services will be accepted,” she said.
Furthermore, Chairman of the Standards Council at the Bureau of Standards Jamaica, Professor Winston Davidson, explains that management certification, especially to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards, is seen as the minimum that a company must demonstrate in order to gain market acceptance.
“It opens the door for trade negotiations and other opportunities,” he said. However, Professor Davidson notes that “certification to these international standards does not, on its own, guarantee any business. But without it, you may have a hard time convincing customers that you can, in fact, deliver products of suitable quality.”
Two local companies which have recently been added to the growing list of ISO certified entities are National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC) and Corpak Jamaica Limited.
Managing Director of Corpak Jamaica Limited, Shelly Sterling, told JIS News that the benefits of becoming ISO certified through the NCBJ are far reaching.
“One of the reasons we went for the ISO certificate is that we were at a point where we were growing very quickly, and we felt that it will help us to develop systems and structures that will give us a solid foundation to grow on. And that has in fact proven to be so,” she said.
Management representative for Corpak Jamaica, Howard Walters, noted that there are countless benefits that can be attained, once a company becomes ISO certified through the NCBJ.
He outlined that since certification, his company’s profile has been raised to a much higher level, and pointed out that structurally, there has been significant improvements.
“The structures are better, the systems are way better, the production is better, our controls and our traceability are also clearly better. If we have a problem, we know what happened, and we know how to fix it,” he said.
This is part of the reason why Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, is encouraging organisations which have attained certification in other domains, to transfer that certification from foreign based providers to the NCBJ.
“There is no reason any longer for persons to be using precious and hard earned foreign exchange to be bringing in foreign certification…whilst we have competent organisations here. Indeed, that is one way of keeping some of the well-needed foreign exchange in Jamaica and above all, ensuring that Jamaican standards are international standards and the best practice globally,” the Minister said.
The NCBJ has become the first certification body in the Caribbean region to be accredited to offer certification of management systems to both manufacturing and service industries, in the private and public sectors.
The agency is an independent certification unit of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ). Companies wishing to become certified through the NCBJ can contact them at 619-1131, 632-4275 or visit: www.bsj.org.jm/NCBJ
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter