OECS EDU hosts world class modifications workshop
May 25, 2007
OECS EDU hosts world class modifications workshop

OECS companies are getting assistance in their pursuit of world class manufacturing standards.

The OECS Secretariat’s Export Development Unit (OECS EDU) last week held a regional workshop in St. Lucia for executives and senior management of OECS private sector companies on world class modifications.{{more}} It covered occupational health and safety, quality systems, total productive maintenance and benchmarking.

Director of OECS EDU Collin Bully says his organization is reintroducing the companies to all the practices deemed necessary to facilitate a sustainable world class manufacturing experience: “We are talking about how effectively their management systems operate, what productive systems they are pursuing, how do they address things like quality assurance and what sort of standards they are using. All of these lead into getting companies export ready. We have been delivering certain programmes to them already and we have come to the conclusion that all these different programmes we have done in management enhancement, accounting systems and good manufacturing practices are in fact components of world class manufacturing in terms of the standards set for the leading companies in the world. Already we are seeing that world class manufacturing (WCM) is one of the major benchmarks being used in the region. In countries like Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago manufacturers are fairly well advanced and are using these sought of standards.”

There may be some twenty manufacturing businesses in the OECS which can be considered world class contenders. Potential world class manufacturers in the OECS are those which possess cutting edge standards that make them significantly competitive, particularly in the context of the Caricom Single Market and Economy.

These include distilleries, breweries as well as producers of food and beautification goods. Most of these businesses are in the larger islands of the OECS. Bully stressed that even if they may not be price competitive in the marketplace, OECS manufactures can be made competitive by their efficiencies in operations such as providing good quality products, consistent delivery of high quality items and exceptional levels of customer service: “We pride ourselves in terms of the skills mix that we have developed within EDU and also in our ability to work with companies directly. We interface with them to identify technical interventions they should be following and then with providing support in effecting the required actions.

The OECS Export Development Unit, which also provides mentoring to help ensure that the objectives of its stakeholders are met, is primarily a technical assistance agency geared at developing in-house core competencies. The 9th European Development Fund and the Caribbean Trade and Private Sector Development programme are funding the OECS World Class Manufacturers initiative.