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S. Korea aims for top 10 in quality competitiveness by 2015: minister

South Korea aims to reach the top 10 in quality competitiveness in the world by 2015 as part of its ongoing effort to boost its growth potential, the government said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said South Korea ranked 22nd among the 57 countries checked last year in terms of quality competitiveness in the manufacturing sector, mainly because the general corporate atmosphere was focused more on cutting costs instead of improving quality.

The ranking was based on quality-related data provided by Switzerland-based World Economic Forum and International Institute of Management and Development.

“The general emphasis on cutting costs at the expense of quality, particularly among smaller-sized companies that sell parts and components to conglomerates, is one of the main reasons for the low ranking,” the ministry said.

Unless there is improvement, the country could become less competitive on the global market, which could seriously hurt economic growth down the road, it said.

“The goal is to benchmark countries that are good at getting its companies to maintain good quality control like Japan, Germany, Switzerland and the United States,” the ministry said.

To get companies to pay more attention, Seoul plans to pursue four key initiatives in its five-year plan that includes building local infrastructure to get companies to meet Global Quality Management (GQM) standards and pushing manufacturers to improve their capabilities to make safer and higher quality goods.

The blueprint, in addition, will help businesses follow the latest industrial trends in quality control and create a corporate ecosystem that encourages companies to make higher quality products.

The ministry said it will give awards and other benefits to companies that systematically take steps to improve quality, with assistance to be offered to create a GQM system that reflects local business conditions. 

(Yonhap News)
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