The Quality Award was created by the Czech Republics' Council for Quality, which is the body charged by the government with overseeing its support of quality policy. The National Award for Quality is the highest distinction that a company can receive for its products, which have to meet a lot of strict standards. I spoke with Zdenek Vorlicek, Deputy Minister of trade and industry, who told me more about the award:
"The National Quality Award has existed since 1995, but in the beginning it was more like a private initiative of several non-governmental organizations. It was only this year that the cabinet decided to start awarding the prize as part of its support of quality policy, so now this distinction is awarded on the government's initiative."
Mr. Vorlicek told me that the rules for applying for the award were rather strict, because European rules are used, under which what is called 'business excellence' is assessed. That means that a company which enters the competition carry out all its activities to a very high standard - not only high quality products qualify their producer, but also the company's other activities, including how it treats its customers. Mr.Vorlicek also mentioned rejects saying that there are companies which produce only one reject per billion pieces, although it's usually the most excellent producers of electronic products, such as the winner of this year's competition, Tesla Sezam, whose products can boast of the highest technological parameters.
I asked Mr. Vorlicek what was the position of Czech products on the Czech market, as there is huge competition in the Czech Republic with shop counters overflowing with Western goods:
"Czech products don't have an easy position on the Czech market, one of the main reasons being the fact that the media simply do not pay enough attention to them and so very often consumers don't even know them. What the Czech Republic's Council for Quality did recently was that we concluded an agreement with the biggest supermarkets in the country on highlighting high-quality Czech products so that shoppers could find them easily."
The winner of the highest distinction, the Czech Republic's National Award for Quality for a company with more than 250 employees, is Tesla Sezam from the North Moravian town of Roznov pod Radhostem. It was established in 1992, and its general manager, Ladislav Chmelar told me they were delighted to win the prize in their category:
"Over those nearly 10 years we have increased our production 15-fold and with a lower number of employees than we started with. We are very glad to be chosen as the winners of the Quality Award, because our customers are mostly big companies abroad. We produce semi-conductors for such firms as Nokia, Motorola and Philips and that's why the award is extremely valuable for us."
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