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 KAZAKHSTAN International Business Magazine №6, 2013
 Gold Quality Mark of Kazakh Business
Gold Quality Mark of Kazakh Business

In 2013, the contest for the Altyn Sapa award from the President of Kazakhstan, and the exhibition-contest "Best Product of Kazakhstan" were held for the eighth time in Kazakhstan. Although victory in these contests is not easy, it opens new prospects for development of national producers, making their brands more recognizable and popular.

In view of the fact that the President set a task to make Kazakhstan be among the top 30 most developed countries in the world, the key challenge for domestic businesses today is to reach the highest quality of products, services, business processes and management systems. On the way to this ambitious goal, the domestic businesses will have to oust from the Olympus some leading companies in Europe, America and Asia. The latter had realized long ago that quality is crucial in meeting the expectations of customers, partners, shareholders and concerned parties.

No wonder that every year more and more Kazakh enterprises take a course on the development and advancement of their own quality improvement programs. Thus, according to the Committee for Technical Regulation and Metrology of MINT, three years ago, the number of domestic companies which had introduced advanced standards of quality management systems, environmental protection, occupational safety and social responsibility, had been about 2,000, but on January 1, 2013 their number reached already 5,409. Of these, 5,112 companies were issued the certificate of compliance with ISO 9001, 624 companies – ISO 14001, 532 companies – OHSAS 18001, 82 companies – ISO 22000, and six companies the certificate of compliance with SA 8000. Another 202 enterprises are now at the stage of launching their management systems. With this, the number of Kazakh companies, which aim to sell their products abroad and launched their management systems, has reached 238, or 12.22% of the total number of export-oriented enterprises in Kazakhstan.

This is largely due to the fact that the real sector of the economy needs more than ever standards which it can apply in the implementation of the state Program of AIID. For example, in the framework of this program, the businesses faced with the problem of energy saving. For its solution, it is necessary to introduce a number of new standards. One more factor is Kazakhstan's membership in the Customs Union and its coming accession to the WTO. In this tough competitive environment, quality issues are of priority for every company that seeks sustainable development.

The key tools that help companies understand and accept the concept of quality, are national contests that are held in more than 70 countries. The most prestigious of these are the Deming Prize of Dr. Deming in Japan, the National Quality Award of Malcolm Baldrige in the U.S., and the European Quality Award. Despite the similarity of approaches applied, they have some differences. In contests for the European Quality Award, the emphasis is made on protecting the interests of consumers and the environment, and in contests for the Deming Prize – on the wide spreading of standardization methods. As for the National Quality Award of Baldrige, here the focus is made on strategic planning.

Annual competition for the award of the President of Kazakhstan "Altyn Sapa" is a domestic analogue of the above-mentioned reputable awards. It was established by the President of Kazakhstan on October 9, 2006. In 2009 the said award was harmonized with the European Quality Award model, as the latter takes into account the latest trends in development of modern management.

In this model, the achievements of applicants are compared in two groups of criteria. The first group, Possibilities, includes categories such as leadership, policy and strategy, people, partnership and resources, and processes of organization. The second group, Results, takes into account factors such as satisfaction of the customers and staff, the impact on society, and the key results of activities. Each of these two groups is assessed on a 500 point scale. The experts consider the categories of the award model, guiding by the RADAR system (results – approach – implementation – assessment – analysis).

Legal entities that have introduced a management system and have operated in the market for more than three years, can take part in the contest. The applicant company has to by necessity confirm the availability of the certificate for the compliance of a quality management system with international standards, and to fill out an application form and declaration. To prepare a report, which is a self-assessment of key performance indicators and the certain results achieved in the field of quality. In fact, the formation of this set of documents is the first stage of the contest. The second stage is verification of the submitted applications by a regional expert group led by territorial departments of the Committee for Technical Regulation and Metrology. Its membership includes representatives of local executive bodies, the party Nur Otan and the National Economic Chamber of Kazakhstan “Atameken “Union”. If the company is successful at the first two stages, it goes to the third stage, where a special commission considers the set of documents on the company. Only after that the proposals of the Commission, which consists of members of the government and the representatives of business associations, are submitted to the President of Kazakhstan for consideration.

This multi-stage approach makes selection completely impartial and unbiased. The important fact is that the organization of the contest for winning the award is made at the expense of funds, provided for this purpose by the national budget for the relevant financial year.

The winners of the Altyn Sapa contest are selected in three categories: "Best Producer," "Best Producer of Goods for the Population", and "Best Services Provider." For each of the categories mentioned two awards are given – in the category of "Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses" and "Large Businesses." Furthermore, according to the contest rules, the President has the right to give special awards to two more contestants. Since the start of the state program AIID in 2010, these awards are given in the categories "Industrial Breakthrough" and "Innovation Breakthrough."

Although the contest does not provide for encouragement in a pecuniary form or any tax benefits for the winners, itself the fact of recognizing the leading company by the President in person is worth it. Furthermore, as proof of confirming their high status, the winners of the Altyn Sapa award are entitled within two years to use the contestlogo for their promotional purposes.

Those who have not won are not losers, as the process of preparation and participation in the contest makes the companies catch up to a certain level. Moreover, the companies get an independent assessment of thier activities and recommendations in the field of quality by highly qualified experts who have undergone special training. All this helps them to develop an effective strategy of development.

It should be noted that 42 domestic companies have been awarded a golden eagle statue. Regionally, Almaty with its 10 awards is far ahead, followed by Astana (6) and the Almaty region (5). Unfortunately, enterprises in West Kazakhstan, North Kazakhstan and Kyzylorda regions never became winners of the contest.

169 companies took part in the competition in 2012. In the category "Best Producer" awards were given to the Kentau Transformer Plant (South-Kazakhstan region) and TREI Karaganda (Karaganda region). LG Electronics Almaty Kazakhstan (Almaty) and Milk Project (Akmola region) won in the category "Best Producer of Goods for the Population". Eurasian National University named after L.N. Gumilev (Astana) under the Ministry of Education and Science and the Kazakh Research Institute of Oil Exploration (Atyrau) were named the Best Service Providers. In addition, the President personally handed special awards Altyn Sapa to the industrialization leader of 2012, the National Company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, and the innovation leader, the National Atomic Company Kazatomprom.

It is noteworthy that the only domestic company that has been twice awarded a cherished statuette over the years of the Altyn Sapa contest operation is LG Electronics Almaty Kazakhstan.

The accompanying event of the Presidential Award occasion is the exhibition-contest "Best Product of Kazakhstan." Its main purpose is to promote products which are Made in Kazakhstan, as well as to increase the competitiveness of national commodity producers through their transition to international standards.

The contest is held in three categories: "Best Industrial Goods", "Best Products for the Population" and "Best Food Produced." This contest is held in two stages. First, governorates of all regions, as well as the cities of Almaty and Astana organize regional exhibition-contests, where they select nine winners from each region. These winners come to the capital to participate in the national stage. Then the winners of the national stage are awarded with diplomas and emblems of the First, Second and Third Classes in each category.

Over the years the exhibition-contest 49 companies were awarded the title of best domestic producer. The names of the last year’s winners: KazAzot (Mangystau), Kazphosphate (Zhambyl region) and Kelet (Almaty) in the category "Best Industrial Goods", ASIA AUTO (East Kazakhstan region), Altyn Orda (Astana) and Energy-Taraz (Zhambyl region) in the category "Best Products for the Population", and Ordabasy Kus (South Kazakhstan region), Zhelayevskiy Bread Factory (West Kazakhstan region) and Abzal and Company (Kyzylorda region) in the category "Best Food Produced”.

If we consider the winners in a regional context, over the past seven years, mostly enterprises from Almaty and the South Kazakhstan region (7 awards each), as well as the Almaty and Pavlodar regions (5 awards each) were the winners. The Zhambyl and Karaganda regions and the city of Astana each have 4 awards. Three times the winners were companies from the East Kazakhstan and Atyrau regions. West Kazakhstan, Kostanai and Kyzylorda regions have 2 awards each. The Akmola and Mangistau regions, each of which has only one winning company, complete the list of winners by regions.

If not considered by regions, but companies, here the leaders are Tsesna-Astyk, Rakhat, UNIX, Khimfarm and Kazphosphate who was twice voted best producers in Kazakhstan.

Very soon we will know the names of winners of the national award Altyn Sapa and the winners of the exhibition-contest "Best Product of Kazakhstan 2013". It will not be easy to select the winner, as the number of applicants for winning the Golden Eagle statue has reached 69 this year. That is only among large enterprises alone, not to mention the small and medium businesses. Whatever the result will be, there is no doubt that the most worthy of this prize will win.

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It Is Early to Beat the Drums  Sergey Zelepukhin 
Drivers of New Economy  Editorial 
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· 2012 №1  №2  №3  №4  №5  №6
· 2011 №1  №2  №3  №4  №5  №6
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· 2001 №1/2  №3/4  №5/6
· 2000 №1  №2  №3

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