Are you an African manufacturer or potential buyer of African goods?
Over the past few years, business leaders and investors have become increasingly aware of the vast potential in Africa’s burgeoning consumer market. In addition, most exporters in this emerging continent are salivating at the opportunity to sell their goods to developed countries. According to the WTO, Africa’s exports to the European Union topped €116 billion in 2016. Europe is by far Africa’s largest export market, capturing 35% of its exports, followed by Intra-African trade, China, the USA, and India. With this in mind, the question for African manufacturers and buyers of African goods remains:
How do you ensure the factory management system and product quality align with global standards?
African countries are rich in resources and capabilities, but a factory’s output is only as good as the factory itself. Where a rising industrial country often struggles is increasing production while at the same time meeting or maintaining global quality standards. Besides, manufacturers often fall short of quality expectations simply because they don’t have the internal knowhow to improve on their own. Other times it’s a lack of capability or understanding of the relevant quality standards, social responsibility expectations, and security systems that apply to their products.
Developed markets such as USA or Europe demand higher quality standards, sustainable and consistent performance, as well as continuous improvement of processes. Being a reliable supplier consists of much more than offering the lowest price in the market, and a sophisticated buyer is not only looking for a suitable range of products on offer. It’s equally essential to deliver a product that meets global quality standards and ensures that production capacity is sufficient or can be quickly and efficiently increased to meet future demand.
Is ISO 9001:2015 enough to fulfill the ever-changing demands of the international market?
Organizations that invest in meeting global market standards tend to enjoy long-term cooperation with their partners. An investment in this regard could be interpreted as:
- Providing transparency and data related to your quality management processes
- Allowing a thorough evaluation (audit) to identify a corrective action plan, and
- Executing the plan which will result in better products and services for all customers.
Moreover, it will align processes, standards and quality to developed countries or experienced producers like China and ensure the ability to compete with overseas products on quality and production efficiency.
If you are an African manufacturer and looking to enter into international markets, your first step is to ensure compliance. A good litmus test is to ask yourself the following questions:
– Do we have a quality management system in place, such as ISO 9001:2015, in order to enter the international market?
– Do you have sufficient manufacturing capability and capacity required to be a reliable partner?
– Have your manufacturing process and control system been delivering high-quality products consistently over a long period of time?
If you are a buyer looking to purchase or work with an African supplier, your first step is also to ensure that your supplier can comply with all the necessary local compliance. Here are a couple initial questions to ask yourself:
– Does your manufacturing partner use a responsible and ethical supply chain?
– Are there any security issues that may raise alarms to you or your potential customers?
– When was the last time your supplier was audited by a reputable third-party quality assurance company?
Whether you are on the supply side or on the buying side, these questions should be carefully considered. If you need help answering any of the questions above, we, at Pro QC, are always will to have a detailed initial discussion to determine how we can assist.
Pro QC not only supports manufacturers to meet International Quality standards (ISO, IATF, FDA GMP…) but we ensure suppliers establish, maintain or improve their QMS. Our Supplier Development Services team help resolve these challenges for clients and suppliers around the world.
If you are interested in a detailed discussion about any of the quality assurance offerings mentioned in this article, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Supplier Management page for more details.
(Article written by John A. Belinga, Business Development Manager)