26 October 2015

Ethiopia: Addis Chamber Awards Companies for Standards Certification

Fourteen of the 16 companies met ISO standards for a quality management system

Addis Abeba Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations (AACCSA) awarded certificates of accomplishment to 16 companies that gained certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), at a ceremony held at the Sheraton Addis Hotel on October 20, 2015.

These were out of 20 companies that had responded to the AACCSA's invitation to join the certification project, which was assisted by UK Department for International Development (DfID) and the World Bank, for ISO 9000:2008 and 22000:2005 fore quality management and food safety management, respectively.

The entire process took 18 months, including 15 months for training and three months for assuring that the respective standards were met, said Gebeyehu Zerihun, AACCSA's Quality Management Service manager.

AACCSA had invited consultancy firms to bid for the training, but eventually hired all 10 that had submitted offers. These firms were responsible for training the companies in the standardisation process.

Ethiopian Standards Agency (ESA) and DQS, a German based standardisation company, handled the work of assuring the standards. The two gave the licences for seven and nine of the companies, respectively.

The former is a governmental non-profitable organisation and the sole National Standards Body (NSB) representing Ethiopian interests in economical, social and environmental aspects with regard to standard benefits nationally, regionally and internationally, according to its website. It was established in 1970 and is accountable to the Ministry of Science & Technology.

DQS Management Services Plc's website says it is accredited for more than 100 standards & specifications.

Fourteen of the 16 companies were issued the ISO 9001.2008 standard. This standard involves top management in the improvement of the quality management system, ensures sustained customer satisfaction by producing and delivering services, and providing support functions that meet customers' needs and expectations, and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation through continual improvement in systems and products/services quality.

Two companies were certified for ISO 22000:2005 for food safety management. Requirements for this standard include planning, implementing, operating, maintaining and updating a food safety management system; demonstrating compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory food safety requirements; evaluating and assessing customer requirements and demonstrating conformity with those mutually agreed customer requirements that relate to food safety, in order to enhance customer satisfaction.

Among those that received the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Standard through DQS in the latest AACCSA programme, are Tebita Ambulance Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical Service, which provides ambulance service, first aid training and first aid kit provision; Technostyle Plc, which imports and sells furniture; TSD Engineering Plc, which supplies, installs and commissions electromechanical, communication and security systems; AFRICOM Technologies Plc, software development and management information system consultancy; and East Africa Hearing Aid Center, which sells and fits hearing instruments. They were certified between July and October 2015. AFRICOM's deputy CEO, Tewodros Meteku, said that the standardisation, which made his company the first among local IT companies, has enabled them to become more productive and to reduce their costs.

The Chamber had previously facilitated standardisation of 22 companies in a similar process, which, however, took more than two years, according to Gebeyehu. These were certified in 2013. AACCSA itself received the ISO 9000:2008 standardisation on February 15, 2013.

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