This, he said, will help to boost the competitiveness of the country, and serve to further fuel economic development.
“When I realise that only some 40 companies in Jamaica that are International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certified, we are in problems, because it tells me that we haven’t grasped the central importance of standards in our business processes, in our product development, in our services, and our development for that reason will be stymied,” he said.
Minister Hylton was addressing the NCBJ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Breakfast Forum at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday, December 8.
Mr. Hylton reminded that quality standards are not optional and if the country is to realise a growth agenda, central to it is a national quality infrastructure.
He said the Government must “lead by example by doing what needs to be done,” therefore, he has taken the decision that his Ministry and all of its agencies must become ISO certified.
In the meantime, Minister Hylton commended the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) on acquiring ISO certification. He presented the entity with its Certificate of Conformity to ISO 9001:2008 during the event.
“It really is a signal opportunity where our utility regulator can be setting the standards among regulators regionally, probably even globally,” he said.
In response, Director General of the OUR, Albert Gordon, informed that since going through the challenging certification process, “we have become quality evangelists,” having seen the benefits of the exercise, which has improved the quality of service the OUR provides.
“We have incorporated the ISO system into our strategic planning process and that has been very important and our strategic planning process starts with our mandate which is to impact national development,” he said.
Mr. Gordon said the OUR is willing to share its experience with any entity that is willing to undergo the certification process, noting that it has already had discussions with the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), as well as utility service providers to bring them on board.
The ISO 9001 Quality Management System Certification is designed to improve the quality of goods or services in public and private organisations by putting the customer at the centre of all business decisions. The standard has been accepted internationally with over one million organisations in 175 countries having implemented it.
The forum was part of a three-day awareness and capacity building programme on the newly revised edition of the ISO 9001 standard, the ISO 9001: 2015. The 2015 edition, which was published in September this year, takes into consideration the changes in the 21st century business environment and includes clauses on strong leadership, knowledge and risk management focus.
The NCBJ, which is the independent certification unit of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), was established to achieve institutional strengthening and promotion of the national quality infrastructure, and demonstrates the competence required worldwide in the certification of organisations which have met the requirements of these rigorous international standards.