Columnists Features

Manufacturers, use standards to gain customer loyalty

PRIORITISING or ranking high the health and safety of consumers is key for economic development. A healthy nation is headed for prosperity.
That is why our message to manufacturers and traders throughout the year 2016 was simple.  Going forward in the year 2017, our message shall remain consistent until we see an industry that voluntarily embraces standardisation and quality assurance.
Manufacturers should put the health and safety of the consumer first, above all else, especially above huge profit margins. Manufacturers should endeavour to produce those products that meet the set standards to ensure that the products that they are giving to the consumers are safe. Manufacturers should have their products certified by the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS)!
On the other hand, we call on consumers to remain vigilant and alert and shun substandard products. We call on consumers to be quality conscious and to exercise their consumer rights. Consumers must know that they have the power and right to drive the market and to dictate the quality and safety of products on the market by making the right choices.
One thing is obvious; in as much as businesses want to promote their products, they also want to sell and make profits and grow. However, serious and caring businesses consider customer loyalty as one of their biggest assets. Customer loyalty helps a caring business to gain competitive advantage. Customer loyalty will be achieved by a number of things; one of them being the quality, safety and competitiveness of the products you offer to the market.
And so as a Bureau, we are excited and happy to say that we can help you gain that competitive advantage by helping you to have your products inspected, tested, analysed and certified. As a Bureau, we would like to help you, the Zambian manufacturer, to gain and earn customer loyalty and confidence with ease.
We would like you to partner with us and voluntarily have your products certified. We are encouraging you the manufacturer to take keen interest in knowing and appreciating standardisation and quality assurance and how it can be used as a strategy to earn customer loyalty. This is so because your product, once certified, gives your customers confidence and assurance that your product is repeatedly tested by ZABS.
We therefore believe that our message was and is still timely because it allows you the manufacturer to think critically and seriously about product certification.
But what is product certification?
Product certification is a voluntary quality assurance scheme which like I have said, dear reader, helps you to make a conscious decision that will set your business apart. The presence of the ZABS certification mark on the product assures the customer that the certified product is periodically inspected and tested and conforms to the required standards.
The use of the ZABS certification mark on any product:
• Demonstrates that a product and the respective production process have been independently verified for conformity to product standards and process controls respectively.
• Minimises the risk and associated cost of potential claims and product recall and
• Provides you with a recognised marketing advantage. The presence of a quality mark like the ZABS mark greatly influences the purchase decision.
Product certification is an important prerequisite for manufacturers. Certified products open doors to both local and international markets by demonstrating to buyers that a product meets the applicable safety and or performance standards in the country of origin.
Products that successfully conform to the certification requirements that are usually rigorous and performed in carefully controlled conditions are entitled to bear the organisation’s mark. These marks show designers, specifiers, installers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers that the product meets the requirements of applicable standards.
We urge consumers out there to shun substandard products and to be quality conscious every time they buy goods and services.
I have always said that taking two minutes of your time to insist on reading the details on the product you are buying and looking out for the ZABS certification mark can help you choose that product which is safe and of the right quality. Take heed!!
The is Head-Marketing and Public Relations
For more information
Contact the Director
Zambia Bureau of Standards
Lechwe House, Freedom Way
P O Box 50259, Lusaka
Tel: 260-211-231385,

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