The Qatari Quality Mark, launched recently, represents the passport for local companies to go international while strengthening their competitiveness in the local market, a Qatar Foundation (QF) economist has said.
“A quality mark indicates that a country has set up certain standards and regulations which specific companies and products aiming to obtain it, must meet," explained Dr Agustín Indaco, assistant professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, a QF partner university.
As soon as a quality mark is announced in any country, companies often seek to obtain it to ensure they follow the rules and regulations set by that country, he pointed out.
Qatar Quality Mark is a way of gaining consumer trust at a time when the Qatari market has opened up to new international products as well as giving them a competitive edge when it comes to local tenders.
“Each country can set its own quality mark standards, whether more lenient or more strict and some countries focus on certain standards more than others. Certain countries may focus on environmental standards while others focus on those that will enhance their competitiveness in international markets across different sectors. This applies to the quality mark model in Qatar, where quality checks are in line with international standards,” explained Dr Indaco.
In the first phase, Qatar will focus on national products manufactured in Qatari factories, and in the second phase, the focus will be on countries around the world which are seeking to obtain the Qatari Quality Mark. Those wishing to obtain this mark must submit a technical profile to the Qatar General Organisation for Standards and Metrology, to prove they meet its standards – from product specifications, labour, and production processes, to employee training and certificates, workflow, and other quality certificates they have received. They also need to meet a number of international requirements and regulations if they are to be granted the mark with a renewable two-year licence.
Many makers of local products in Qatar are looking to expand beyond the country after fulfilling local market demand and contributing to the Qatari economy in the wake of the blockade of the nation and the challenges posed by Covid-19. “For the producing company, setting specific quality standards helps the company to abide by these standards and gain brand recognition. As for the consumer, this mark is a symbol of recognised, proven high-quality products that meet all national standards,” Dr Indaco said.
“People usually trust certain products, and so when companies obtain the Qatari Quality Mark, it helps them attract new customers faster and gain their trust without the need for large commercial campaigns,” Dr Indaco noted. “And it means that their products are trustworthy.”
As for what a quality mark means for startups and SMEs, Dr Indaco said, “The Qatari Quality Mark contributes to accelerating the work of high-quality startups by setting specific and clear standards for these companies to abide by from the start.”
He believes that the biggest challenge will be for medium-sized companies, which must carefully choose the market they are targeting, whether by applying to compete with high-quality companies or by retreating into what they may see as more competitive a market based around low price, regardless of quality.
He stated that the the mark will encourage innovation and creativity among startups, and in this way it reflects the values QF seeks to instill in its students.
“The launch of Qatari Quality Mark supports our ongoing mission to educate and develop creative minds, and to inspire and encourage our students to innovate and implement projects that rely on high quality. This will allow us to determine what projects meet national standards that we can include as models for study in our educational curricula, as discussions are ongoing with students about the specifications that distinguish the product," he added.
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