The UB Post
EVALUATING MONGOLIA’S STANDARDIZATION AND METROLOGY WITH EXPERT G.GANTUMUR
The following is an interview with Head of the Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology (MASM) G.Gantumur about their latest efforts to improve standardization in Mongolia.
What has MASM been doing recently?
We have just ended our annual general management meeting. The main purpose of the meeting is to organize what we’ve accomplished in the previous year, identify future targets and determine routes for achieving new targets.
This year is a little different from previous years. After the new government was formed, state administrative bodies were assigned to a set of tasks to carry out in line with the new government action plan. In other words, we paid more attention to our yearly plan as a new four-year term has begun.
MASM had tons of workload last year. As the government declared 2016 as the Year for Customers, our agency focused on reducing bureaucracy, improving services for better customer satisfaction, and developing intolerance for corruption. MASM’s main motto is now “Prioritizing interests and needs of customers”. In regards to this, we hope to develop the man- agement for this area.
To provide disciplined and responsible government services, MASM has successfully implemented “Quality Assurance System” ISO 9001:2008 (MNS ISO 2001:2010) and was certified by the French Standardization Association, AFNOR. We received the ISO 9001 certification and became the first Mongolian state administrative body to pass international auditing, which is incredible.
Last year, we paid a great deal of attention on the implementation of international projects. The European Union is currently carrying out a project to develop Mongolia's standardization. One of the major works in the project is legal reform. Hence, MASM has submitted a revised bill on standardization and metrology to Parliament.
In general, the most important thing for boosting the economic growth and enhancing market competitiveness is the quality of products. A nation needs to develop a national product quality program and policy to be able to increase its competitiveness. This way, the nation can develop further.
How would you evaluate Mongolia's policy for standardization?
The government approved the National Quality Program, which MASM developed, last year. It will be carried out until 2020. The program formulized issues related to the infrastructure of quality for the first time in history. Most people only know about infrastructure for energy and roads, but become confused when they hear about infrastructure for quality. Basically, it determines what’s needed for ensuring quality and producing high-quality products.
First of all, a good standard is crucial for producing something with a good quality. High standards ensure high-quality. Producers will produce better products to meet standards. Secondly, it’s impossible to evaluate quality without a tool to measure it. Thirdly, the most important works are done in laboratories. Hence, laboratory human resources have to be very welleducated and skilled, and putting standards can improve their ability.
A general program has been launched to promote quality in all levels and sectors. Overall, Mongolia now has an organized policy for quality. The next problem is accreditation, a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. Every country has accreditation agencies. Apparently, these agencies are internationally evaluated on their ability to accredit. It’s very advantageous for agencies to acquire internationally accredited status because the organizations and companies that pass their evaluation will be internationally recognized for their quality, which means that they don’t have to undergo evaluations over and over again. Our agency has paid significant attention to this area. For instance, MASM has become a member of the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAS). PAS has 26 members and facilitate trade and commerce among economies in the Asia Pacific region by working to remove technical barriers that may flow from demands for certification and registration of management systems, products and other processes. Joining PAS is very beneficial for having Mongolian products and services accepted among PAC members and even worldwide through PAC’s membership in the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).
MASM was accepted as a PAC member after undergoing competence assessment. This is a huge achievement. There’s a separate certificate for laboratory accreditation. Our agency passed the assessment in 2012, but it expired in 2016. We underwent the assessment once again and had our certificate extended by four years. This means that we accredit laboratories consistently with world standards.
Metrology equipment must be very important for your agency. Does MASM have sufficient metrology equipment?
We’ve done some major projects for metrology related problems. The German National Metrology Institute has agreed to carry out a joint project to develop quality infrastructure for the energy sector. This project will continue for three years.
The energy sector is very important and its significance is growing each year. In particular, metrology for energy is very important. So we will take comprehensive measures to improve energy metrology related standards, laboratory personnel, and some laboratories.
We also adopted conformity standards of the European Union, which was an extremely difficult task. Before, a new standard could be adopted only after endless procedures for getting approval from the ministry or another government body, but now, it’s become much easier to do. Foreign organizations evaluate whether metrology equipment are consistent with standards. We had some of our main equipment certified for discounted prices by the National Institute of Metrology of China.
MASM managed to complete quite a few projects to increase equipment and vehicles of branch offices in less densely populated regions.
Lately, officials have been talking about a new standard for corruption. When will the standard become effective? Why is this standard significant?
The ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management Systems was approved as a national standard in February. Corruption has become a serious problem. The new standard helps government bodies, companies and NGOs combat bribery risk in their own operations. People often claim that companies offer bribes to government bodies that accept briberies with open hands. However, nothing has been carried out to stop it. The ISO 37001 is an international standard, which determines what companies and government bodies have to do to eliminate bribery. We had it certified.
Our agency is planning to have our audits internationally approved in accordance with the new standard. The Independent Agency Against Corruption is evaluating our operations. It’s said that the results of launching a new standard are shown in 18 months, in other words, a-year-anda-half after its adoption. Adopting a new standard isn’t as simple as just making a copy. You have to study it and develop relevant regulations before distribution and promotion.
A standard anti-bribery management system is a new concept to the world. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) released the new standard in October 2016 and Mongolia has adopted it as a national standard. The Depu- ty Prime Minister stated that it was the first of its kind and commended our quick adoption.
What kind of challenges are there in the standardization sector? What is MASM’s chief goal?
The objective for this year is very clear. Improving the legal environment of this sector is most significant for enhancing the competence of metrology personnel. IFA accepts membership requests from PAC members. Now that we’ve joined PAC, our accreditation will be accepted by 26 member counties, and through IFA, we will be accepted by over 100 countries. This will facilitate international trade procedures.
Our agency has reached an agreement with the Standardization Administration of China on launching a joint project to enhance the competence of conformity organizations. It was specified in the government action plan to take measures for expanding and facilitating international trade. Hence, MASM is now more focused on cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. We’ve negotiated on collaboration with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan.
Meat producers must meet all kinds of requirements to export meat. We plan to integrate all of these requirements. We’re looking into meat import standards of Russia and discussed having another organization certify the standard.
The public is becoming more aware about standards and their significance. We want to disclose all standards so that anyone interested can see them.
Our motto for 2017 is “High Productivity and Quality for Sustainable Development”. We need sustainable development consistent with international standards.
...In general, the most important thing for boosting the economic growth and enhancing market competitiveness is the quality of products. A nation needs to develop a national product quality program and policy to be able to increase its
competitiveness. This way, the nation can develop further...