The Chief Executive of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI ), Maurice Buckley has said local companies gaining internationally recognised certifications for their goods and services is a key weapon in protecting jobs in the west and midlands.
“Standards, such as the CE mark or ISO9000, can give local businesses a competitive advantage by providing assurance to global consumers that goods or services, produced here, are following the best international standards,” said Mr Buckley.
Mr Buckley visited NSAI’s Ballybane based Legal Metrology Service (LMS ) office in Ballybrit Business Park, Galway, to promote the organisation’s strategy for 2009-2011, entitled Enabling Enterprise Excellence, which was launched by Minister for Trade and Commerce, John McGuinness. The strategy outlines initiatives that will improve Irish companies’ success in export markets and help them rebound from the current economic downturn.
Among the goals of the new strategy is to promote consumer confidence in trade measurements.
“NSAI’s Legal Metrology Service in Galway checks local taxi meters so you aren’t overcharged; they make sure petrol pumps are checked so you get one litre of petrol when you pay for one litre; they verify weighing scales so you get one kilo of meat when you pay for a kilo of meat. The new strategy will speed up this verification service for traders, through the creation of additional authorised third party bodies. This will release LMS inspectors to focus on other crucial inspection activities,” said Buckley.
As part the strategy, NSAI will work closely with the IDA and Enterprise Ireland in proactively supporting trade development and will be seeking the participation of Galway based companies in international standards working groups in areas such as alternative energies, IT and medical devices. NSAI has also announced a 12 month price freeze on its fees for working with companies seeking to gain these recognised certifications.
Launching the strategy, Minister McGuinness said Ireland is a small economy but has a strong and respected voice in international standardisation which can be harnessed to the benefit of both indigenous companies and divisions of multinationals in Ireland, especially those involved in product development.
“The common recognition of international standards, regardless of language spoken, enables billions of euros of goods and services to flow freely. A core strategic objective is to facilitate access for Irish companies to prestigious international standards working groups, where they will gain access to crucial global industry contacts and vital market knowledge.”
At present, approximately 100 Irish based companies participate and benefit from these groups and NSAI plans to double this number over the next three years.
NSAI will work with the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to identify key innovative firms to participate in these international groups and has already taken a lead role in medical devices working groups, helping to establish Ireland as a global centre of excellence for the medical device industry, which employs more than 25,000 people in Ireland and exports more than €6 billion of medical devices.
“We see the strategy as an integration of our areas of expertise in standards, certification, and measurement with government initiatives and with the urgent need to build competitive advantage for Irish based business. It highlights NSAI’s growing reputation as a centre of excellence, and is a powerful catalyst for companies chasing global success,” said Mr Buckley.