Factors affecting the implementation of product quality standards among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) based in Nairobi Kenya
The study investigated the factors affecting the implementation of product quality Standards among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Based in Nairobi, Kariobangi Light Industries. The study sought to achieve three main objectives, namely identification of the factors determining the acquisition of quality standards, determination of the level of implementation of quality standards and establishment of the factors that account for the implementation of product quality standards by SMEs. The motivation behind this study was to help Kenyan Small and Medium Manufacturing enterprises understand the requirements and compliance of product standardization and the factors influencing them. The study adopted a descriptive research design. The population consisted of all SMEs in Nairobi with the unit of study being SMEs. The study targeted Surveillance and quality control officers in the SMEs as its respondents. Data analysis was done using SPSS with the main analysis tools being factor analysis and correlation analysis. Inferences were made on the basis of correlation coefficients and t-tests of significance. A sample of 55 respondents was done where 41 questionnaires were returned which achieved a 74% response rate. A majority of the businesses polled 47.6% which had operated between 1-3 years. In the applicability, a majority (75%) confirmed that standards are frequently applicable. This indicated a high level of appreciation of the importance of quality standards which can predispose business owners to seek to acquire them. The study also indicated that there was a very low adoption levels for standards that are not mandatory to acquire. This was an indicator that there were constraints to the adoption of these standards which have proved a serious hurdle to some of the businesses. It was established that most businesses appreciate the benefits that can accrue from the acquisition of quality standards and that only the mandatory standards had been implemented to a great extent while the other optional were complied with to a small extent. This study established that the factors that account for the levels of implementation and compliance include, Legal and regulatory framework, training and costs associated with standards acquisition and compliance. It was concluded that SMEs under study probably have little working knowledge on the logistics of the value chain activities in which these standards are expected to make their contribution.