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Business News of Saturday, 29 September 2018

Source: Prosper Agbebyegah

GS 1 and GSA train local manufacturers on products certification, standards and labelling

A shot of the participants A shot of the participants

Ghana Standards Authority has collaborated with GS 1- Ghana, global barcode experts who manage the barcode system used by retailers, suppliers and their partners to organize a workshop on standards and labelling requirements for local business owners.

The workshop which was held at the Standards Height in Accra, saw experts giving in-depth education on standardization, certification and labelling to help stakeholders in the standards and packaging industries improve compliance and boost their businesses.

Addressing the participants, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GS1- Ghana, Mr. Kofi Essuman averred that many businesses, especially those who manufacture consumer goods face myriads of standards they have to meet when they are sending their goods outside of the country According to him, the package of goods needs labelling and that the language on the package should be in a language that can be read by the consumers.

He said labelling is critical for the consumer to know what is being sold to them and what they are buying.

“If you did not do these things you will not be able to say. And again when you are exporting, every country has some form of requirements in terms of the content, and even the size of the fonts that have to be on the product and all these have standards and you need to understand these things to be able to conform and trade,” he said.

Kofi Essuman said the business environment is moving into the era of technological change and that businesses must be looking at entering some features on their products that can help them facilitate trade.

He said: “Something as simple as the Barcode. You need to have a Barcode before you can put your products in the modern trade, the supermarket and the retail shops.”

Commenting on why manufacturers are unable to provide good packaging to their products, Mr. Essuman said that depends on the volume of their manufacturing strength.

According to him, “When you are a small-scale manufacturer, your volumes usually small and packaging lies a lot on volume. So for those who produce on a small scale packaging tends to be too expensive and that hinders them from having the required packaging and labelling on their products.”

He also mentioned that education is lacking in labelling and packaging and suggested that business institutions must consider training students on labelling and packaging for them to be more equipped with the requirements in the industry so as to conform and make inroads with their businesses. On his part, Mr. Kwasi Owusu Boadu, Director in Charge of Inspectorate Directory of the Ghana Standards Authority, said standards are very important in the life of any successful business since they increase efficiency and cut costs making it easier for manufacturers to do effective business.

According to him, although creating a successful company is about doing things differently, business runs smoothly when they use the same standards as others.

He said standardization is also critical for imports and exports hence manufacturers must take a keen interest in ensuring that their products meet the required standards.

He explained that when a product is manufactured, the manufacturer wants to communicate the value of the product to the customers and one of the ways to do that is to use product labelling.

“Product labelling has become a means of communication between the brand and the consumer. Product labelling has very important information which is printed on the product packaging. Product labelling is a part of the packaging of a product. Labelling is the written information on the packages. These written labels on the package cover important information which needs to be communicated to a customer.”

Touching on Product certification, Mr. Kwasi Owusu Boadu indicated that product certification is the process through which a product is subjected to in order to verify that it has passed quality and performance tests making the item comply with all requirements designated.

Standards and requirements, he mentioned, depended on what kind of product is dealt with and the factors surrounding its use and production and that product's certification is important since it assures that the product is suited for distribution and public consumption.

“It also assures that producers, especially those from developing countries, are given a fair share of the sale of their products. There have been cases of middlemen earning big cuts from products sourced from developing countries for low prices and then sold in the US for 10 times more.”

He said: “As a producer, your willingness to accept and act on your responsibility and obligation to have your product/s undergo product certification equates to your regard for the integrity and value of your company. It signifies your desire to improve your profit fairly and honestly without taking advantage of your suppliers or your eventual consumers. Consumers for their part must be constantly on guard when it comes to purchasing goods for their and their family’s consumption. Buying only products that have undergone product certification shows concern not only for the welfare of you and your family, but also the perpetuation quality goods and services through mandatory certification.”

Mr Boadu said product certification allows consumers to purchase quality goods for the right price.

He said it also helps raise the overall bar for goods and services in the market whilst promoting good production practices from those in the manufacturing industry while rewarding the efforts of the smart consumer.

He said, “The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) is mandated under the Standards Authority Act, 1973 to undertake conformity assessment activities. The GSA gives permission for a conforming product to bear a mark of conformity called the Standard Mark; providing evidence of compliance to specification. A product bearing this mark carries a third-party guarantee; an assurance that the product has been inspected, tested and conforms to the requirements of an accepted standard. Production has been supervised and controlled, assuring safety and value for money.”

He also mentioned that consumers require the assurance that products and services conform and comply with national regulations and that can only be realized through conformity assessment of products, processes or services to ensure fulfilment of requirements and relevant standards.