DARe sponsoring consultancy for SMEs to attain international standards

Executive officer from DARe's Market Access Syazwana Wan Ali explaining DARe's Standards Consultancy Programme during a press conference held at the Design and Technology building in Anggerek Desa.

Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) is looking to boost the competitiveness of local SMEs by helping them attain international standards through their fully sponsored consultancy programme.

Executive officer from DARe’s Market Access Syazwana Wan Ali said 12 companies have enrolled into the programme’s first two cycles, looking to achieve certification in Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), ISO 9001 and ISO 2200.

Application is open for the third cycle of companies looking into ISO 9001 and GMP.

“These standards will help businesses not only improve their operational efficiency but boost their marketability by increasing customer confidence by showing potential buyers and partners (local and international) that your processes are have been independently evaluated and certified to a global standard,” she said.

DARe’s programme offers fully-sponsored consultancy – worth over $5,000 – through an appointed expert who will outline the requirements for the certifications and guide and review the businesses individually over six months.

As part of the consultancy, participating businesses will then advised what measures need to be taken to achieve the applied standards.

An external certification body will then be engaged to perform an independent audit on the business. The cost of the audit – or other costs associated with implementing changes in the workplace in line with the applied standards – can be covered for up to $20,000 by DARe through its co-matching grant.

The process for DARe’s Standards Consultancy Programme.

The ISO 9001 consultancy is open to all companies, while GMP is open to manufacturing-based companies including those producing consumables such as packed food and beverage, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements.

ISO 9001 is a standard that reflects an organization’s ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. With over one million organizations from 170 countries certified with ISO 9001, it’s one of the most fundamental standards of a quality management system.

A representative from Brunei-based company Globex Global Logistics who are participating in the programme said the consultancy has helped clarify the processes needed to be in place to achieve the ISO 9001 standard.

“The consultancy has saved us a lot of time in understanding and implementing the right changes so that we can be ready for the audit,” said Globex’s Financial Controller Nurellia Matzin.

“As a logistics company, achieving the standard is the next step for us in showing our company’s culture and commitment to achieving our objectives.”

Meanwhile GMP is a set of guidelines that outline the minimum requirements that manufacturers must meet to ensure that their products made consistently to their specifications and are safe for human use.

GMP is often a requirement for exporting consumables internationally, providing for a basic level of quality assurance, as consumers or businesses cannot easily or immediately detect unsafe or ineffective products.

Interested companies can apply for the Standards Consultancy Programme can apply online through DARe’s website.