ECONOMY

One week dedicated to high quality in business

European Quality Week, which kicks off on November 5, will this year focus on the topic Sustainable Quality for the 21st Century, with emphasis on the role played by both the State and citizens. Sponsored by the European Commission and the European Organization for Quality (EOQ), events will take place in all the EU-member states. European Quality Week in Greece is organized by the Hellenic Management Association (EEDE) under the aegis of the Greek Ministry of Development. Nicholas Avlonas, president of the Greek organizing committee, said the EU decided to focus on the issue of quality this year because of its importance to companies. The EU believes that quality is a strategic tool to ensuring companies’ survival and competitiveness, he said. Quality for companies should mean business excellence. The EEDE has planned 30 events to mark the occasion, with more than 2,000 business executives and dignitaries from all sectors expected to attend. The Public Works Ministry, tourist organizations, economists and academics are also helping out with the planning. Avlonas said the series of seminars, workshops, presentations and lectures aims to bring the message home to businesses, public enterprises and consumers. We need to emphasize the fact that quality in business transactions could improve a company’s competitiveness. This is also true for public-sector companies. By improving the quality of infrastructure, the State can contribute to bettering citizens’ quality of life, he pointed out. Avlonas said the creation of a national award for quality could encourage companies and organizations to pay more attention to this aspect of business. To date, Greece is the only country in Europe not to have such an award. The adoption of a European business excellence model for the public sector could stimulate interest in the topic. He also suggested conducting annual surveys of consumer satisfaction in a number of sectors with the State ready to take action to resolve complaints. The recent formation of an ombudsman’s office is one step in the right direction. In a message sent to EEDE, President Costis Stephanopoulos said that quality plays a defining role in both the public and private sectors. By focusing on quality, state-run enterprises will be better able to service the populace, while the principal benefit to the private sector is the boost to its competitiveness.