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How the Quality Council of India is helping MSMEs — a vital part of the Indian economy and thus the Indian citizen

The Quality Council of India ensures sustainable and inclusive interventions in Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are a vital part of the Indian economy, contributing to over 45% of industrial production and around 40% of the total exports. They are the largest contributor in terms of employment generation in the manufacturing sector. Thus QCI is aiding Indian citizens as a value proposition towards the Indian economy.

Quality interventions

MSMEs are a part of the value chain in every industry sector like automobile, textile industry, and leatherThe Quality Council of India (QCI) is an autonomous body set up by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Although its mission is to create an ecosystem on quality, it has been termed as the ’watchdog’ of the society by scribes.

In order to ensure sustainable and inclusive industrialisation, the quality interventions taken up by QCI in this segment are in three areas. They are Lean Manufacturing Competitive Scheme (LMCS), Zero Defect Zero Effect (ZED) implemented by Ministry of MSME and Accreditation of Industry Associations/ Business Membership Organisations (BMOs) / Federations / Councils.

Lean Manufacturing Competitive Scheme

The objective of the Lean scheme is to enhance the manufacturing competitiveness of MSMEs through the application of various Lean Manufacturing (LM) Techniques. The general approach involves engagement of Lean Manufacturing Consultant (LMC) to work with selected MSMEs in the chosen clusters with financial support by the government. The Lean interventions, which involve the removal of non-productive elements, have been implemented without capital investments in 220 clusters (covering about 2000 MSME units), so far, through its 18 months journey by experienced consultants. 

An improvement in productivity of 20-27% has been observed for the clusters that completed the Lean cycle after 18 months. The consultant fees have been supported to the extent of 80% by the Ministry of MSME. The remaining 20% has been borne by the benefitting MSME units.

Zero Defect Zero Effect (ZED)

ZED offers a holistic change from a tool for compliance to a source of competitiveness. Operationally, it is meant to evolve from a total dependency on the inspection of the final product to correct defects. The end includes a proactive process of improving processes like quality planning, product and process designing, optimum processes, efficient resource management, effective outsources activities and breakthrough outcomes. Along with the focus on the quality of products and services, there is an equal emphasis on the elimination of impact on the environment. This is done through adequate planning at the product and process design, pre-production (start-up activities), production and maintenance activities, post-production and outcome of the environmental performance.

Holistic ZED approach

The ZED scheme is an integrated and holistic certification system that will account for quality, productivity, energy efficiency, pollution mitigation, financial status, human resource and technological depth, including design and IPR in both products and processes. The parameters of the scheme cover all aspects of the existing schemes of Ministry of MSME: Quality Management System (QMS) or Quality Technology Tools (QTT), Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (LMCS), Design Clinic and Technology and Quality Up-gradation (TEQUP) and Building Awareness on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). The ZED grading of MSMEs would lead to holistic sustainable development in the sector.

Business Development Organisations (BMOs)

Industry Association or Business Membership Organisations (BMOs) play a key role in addressing the impediments faced by MSMEs. It is used in accessing factors of production like finance, material, human resources or technology, etc. or in accessing markets or public or private support services. Further, since they have better access among MSMEs, they have greater trust and more granular understanding of the problems and needs of the MSMEs.

Quality Council of India (QCI) – National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) is operating a national scheme for the accreditation of Industry Associations or Business Membership Organisations. The objective of accreditation is a ‘Hallmark for Quality’ to establish a standard of organisational competency amongst the BMOs. It also serves as a reflection of credibility, capability, accountability, transparency and ensuring minimum standards in quality and performance of the BMOs.

BMOs are graded as silver, gold, diamond or platinum based on four parameters. They are governance, services, operations & performance, and measurement & review. Adoption of the BMO accreditation mechanism by all stakeholders is becoming a game changer in MSME promotion and development strategy for helping various government schemes. The importance of such an accreditation is recognised by BMOs, the government and related stakeholders now. 

The Accredited BMOs may be of importance to MSMEs to increase their competitiveness by utilising support services under various schemes being implemented by the Ministry. Schemes include financial support to MSMEs in ZED certification schemes, Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness Schemes, Design Clinic Schemes, IPR & Digital MSME scheme. Such BMOs also ensure that MSMEs align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as defined by the United Nations.