Export of quality products is one of the important determinants of success in international marketing. Inferior quality of the product spoils the image of not only the product but also the nation. So, exporters should be quality conscious and their governments should insist on quality control.
What is Quality Control?
Quality control is a deliberate and planned activity in order to determine the quality of a product with a view to accepting it as such. If it does not satisfy these requirements, then appropriate remedial measures are taken to correct the process or activity. Quality control is best exercised during the course of production of an article – actually starting with the raw materials, going through the various processing stages and ending up with the final product and paying due attention to packing, storage and transport.
Objectives of Quality Control
The important objectives of the quality control are as follows:
1. To promote and ensure the image of Indian goods exported to other countries.
2. To ensure goods of assured quality alone are sent to the export market.
3, To sustain foreign markets where Indian goods are well received and develop new markets with competitive edge.
4. To instill confidence in the minds of overseas buyers with the assurance provided by the third party guarantee.
5. To adhere strictly to technological requirements of the product accepted by foreign buyers.
6. To ensure sound and safe performance of the products without causing health hazards.
7. To observe conformity of rules and regulations of the importing countries.
8, To maintain proper packaging for the safety of the product during transit.
9. To eliminate the causes of complaints from the foreign buyers and to improve the overall quality of the Indian products.
10. To maximize production by achieving economies of scale.
Quality Standards in quality control
Specification of quality is a must for quality control. Only when quality characteristics are assessed, specified and measured, quality control can be implemented. Generally, buyers give specifications of products which they intend to buy. However, standards are specified by quality control and inspection institutions such as, The Bureau of Indian Standards and also national standards of the importing country, such as International Standards Organization (ISO) and International Electro-chemical Commission. The exporters should conform to the specifications stated by these organizations. Exports of products are allowed only when the standards specified are complied with. Apart from this, the Export inspection council has laid down minimum standards for a number of products.
Methods of quality control and inspection
There are two methods of quality control, namely,
- In-process quality control and
- Consignment-wise inspection.
In-process quality control
In-process quality control covers certain products like paints, and allied products, linoleum, ceramic sanitary ware, printing ink, chrome figments, etc. Under this method, the manufacturers themselves are responsible for producing export consignments conforming to the standard specification. Proper control should be exercised at various levels like raw materials control, process control, preservation control and packing control. Adequate controls are taken by periodic inspection and testing of export consignments at random.
Each export consignment in packed condition is subject to detailed inspection to ensure conformity to the recognized specification. If the consignment is found export-worthy, a certificate is issued to the exporter. Under consignment-wise inspection, certain recognized agencies inspect actual export consignments and issue certificate. Only consignments accompanied by this certificate are allowed to be exported. Small scale manufacturers who cannot afford to have their own facilities and skilled personnel make use of consignment-wise inspection.
Reliability and Quality Control
Reliability refers to the extent to which the product may perform its functions. A product’s useful life span or the expected duration of its performance constitutes its reliability. There is a close relationship between reliability and quality control. In some cases, e.g., electronic generating stations, steel plants, etc., reliability is not only desirable but essential. Any downtime of a power plant or steel plant is very expensive.
Reliability embraces the entire production cycle from product design to product use. Quality control involves checking of standards established during the design stage. But improved workmanship is possible only when production staff are motivated and take pride in workmanship.
A well planned and organised quality control system starts controlling quality from design stage and continues to work until a trouble free product is supplied to the customer. Customer satisfaction can be achieved only when the customer is happy with the performance, reliability and serviceability of the product.
Reliability can be measured as the probability of performing without failure, a specified function under given conditions for specified period of time.
Laws for quality control and inspection
The important laws which empower the governments to enforce quality control are explained briefly.
1. Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, I963 The Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963 aims at developing export trade through quality control and inspection. It empowers the central Government to
- notify products which should be subjected to quality control and inspection prior to exported.
- specify the type of quality control required for the notified product,
- recognize standard specifications for a notified product.
- prohibit the export of notified products which are not complying with conditions of quality control and inspection.
2. Statutory regulations regulate the goods identified for exports. These include Tea Act, I N3 and Sea Customs Act read with Indian Aircraft Rules.
3. The Drugs Act 1940, Essential Commodities Act, 1955, Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1956, etc., apply to products for domestic sales. These would automatically extend to export items.
4. Legislation like Agricultural Produce (Trading and Marketing Act, 1936 and ISI (Certification Mark) Act, 1952 offer voluntary use of facilities for quality control and pre-shipment inspection.