Monday, April 22, 2024

Cost a hurdle to global standards

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A EUROPEAN UNION-FUNDED study has found that several factors are hindering Barbadian service providers from performing according to internationally accepted standards.
This is according to Alison Rice, one of the principals of Kaizen Business Development Inc., which conducted the research commissioned by the Barbados Coalition for Service Industries (BCSI).
Speaking last Thursday at Bagnall’s Point Gallery in Pelican Village, she said 52 per cent of stakeholders surveyed did not believe that the industries they interacted with were performing according to globally accepted practices.
She made the comments during a validation workshop for the study entitled Servicing Future Generations: A Study Of The Professional Services Sector In Barbados.
It was attended by representatives from various business support organizations as well as Government representatives and the BCSI’s member associations.
Among the hindrances Rice identified were the costs and the internal management systems associated with the implementation and the maintenance of international standards.
“These costs were high and it was seen that they could not be borne by small and even some large companies,” she said.
She said the survey also revealed the perception the services sector was focusing too much on the local market and there was a lack of knowledge and familiarity with international standards.
“There is also lack of legislation that requires service providers to operate according to international standards, and [stakeholders] felt that clients did not put enough pressure on service providers to operate according to international standards,” she added.
The research analyst noted that service sector association often did not require its members to practise according to global standards.
“There’s also a lack of monitoring to ensure that members are adhering to a minimum standard. Persons registered with international organizations are forced to pursue continuing education opportunities outside of Barbados and this was a problem that came up within the construction sector specifically,” she said.
Rice said competing on the international market had only recently started to become a priority for service sector associations because of the economic crisis.
“It has forced them to look outside of Barbados for new means of income,” she said.
She, however, noted that although service providers were now willing to pursue international opportunities, some factors were standing in their way.
“Inadequate organization and a lack of partnerships among association members inhibit their capacity to successfully complete and deliver on global projects.
“Additionally, in the case of the creative sectors specifically, there are inadequate organization and education and technical constraints that hinder their ability to access global markets,” she said. (NB)

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