ZABS CORNER with HAZEL ZULU
IT IS not easy to define the word quality. This is so because quality is perceived differently by different individuals. According to experts, the word quality can be defined either as fitness for use or purpose, or features (product features) that meet consumer needs and give customer satisfaction or simply as conformance or compliance to set standards. Product quality, therefore, means to incorporate features that have the capacity to meet consumer needs (wants) and give customer satisfaction by altering products (goods) to make them free from deficiencies or defects.
Product quality mainly depends on important factors such as; the type of raw materials used for making a product and the skill and experience of manpower that is involved in the production process, among other things.
I am happy to say, dear reader, that one of our focus areas as a Bureau is to provide effective standardisation and quality assurance services to industry, consumers and other regulators.
The aim is to promote the competitiveness, quality and safety of products on the market and to also promote value addition and job creation.
We are, therefore, interested in ensuring that we check and inspect products on the market to ensure that they are safe for the consumer. The ultimate goal for us is to see a product that meets and even exceeds the prescribed standards, a good quality product.
We also want to see a viable manufacturing sector that freely and objectively uses standards in their business processes.
That is why we are happy to say that aside from our routine market surveillances and inspections, which we undertake throughout the year, we have decided to give a quality and safe Christmas and New Year present to our consumers. ZABS, dear reader, has combined efforts with other government agencies with similar mandate to enhance consumer protection.
We realise that the festive season puts a lot of pressure on the consumer because they want to get products at the most competitive prices.Â We also realise, though, that this may put them at risk of buying defective or substandard products. Yet we also know that this is the time when retailers and traders introduce price cuts and promotions of all sorts to ensure that they cash in and make that extra revenue. The good news is that it a time when ZABS will intensify its inspections to ensure that consumers are protected.
It is against that background, that on December 15 and 16,Â ZABS in collaboration with Lusaka City Council (LCC), Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) conducted joint spot check inspections on some shopping malls in Lusaka to assess compliance levels on regulated products.
We know, dear reader, that working with other government agencies such as LCC, CCPC and the MoH will make our operations even more effective as our different legislations will complement each other and our combined workforce will enable us cover more areas.
The shops visited include Pick N Pay at Levy Park and Makeni Mall, Shoprite at Cosmopolitan Mall and Spar Chawama. Others were Food Lovers at both Levy Park and Makeni shopping malls.
During the spot checks, the inspectors were checking for expiry dates, product packaging and labelling, dates of manufacture and presence of batch numbers.
We are happy to report that the spot check inspections conducted so far revealed that most shops visited were complying to set standards and the compliance levels were found to be good.
We can confidently attribute this development to the increased sensitisation that we have rolled out in the recent past targeted at retailers and traders on the need for them to effectively manage their stock rotation schedules.
We, however, want to remind consumers to continue being alert to guarantee that they are protected from defective and dangerous products and to get value for their money. We also want to encourage retailers to maintain good product compliance levels and mitigate stock loss.
Happy festivities once again!
For more information contact:
Zambia Bureau of Standards
Lechwe House, Freedom Way
P O Box 50259, Lusaka
Tel: 260-211-231385, email@example.com
The Author is Head-Marketing and Public Relations, Hazel Mafwenko Zulu