Operational Programme "Development of the Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy" 2007-2013
"Improving the standardization system in Bulgaria"
The Bulgarian Institute for Standardization successfully completed the 4-year project "Improving the standardization system in Bulgaria". It was funded under the Operational Programme "Development of the Competitiveness of Bulgarian Economy", Priority Axis 4 "Strengthening the international market positions of the Bulgarian economy".
The project results support the competitiveness of the Bulgarian enterprises within the common European market and facilitate the Bulgarian business in the implementation of the European and international standards for improving the quality and the competitive positioning in foreign markets.
18 activities were implemented within the project, among which significant investments were made. Below are listed the most important results achieved.
A survey on the needs of the enterprises and business in Bulgaria regarding the standardization activities and services provided by BDS
With the start of the project a sociological survey on the needs of the enterprises and business in Bulgaria regarding the standardization activities and services provided by BDS was conducted.
The results of the activity are:
In the frames of the implementation of the activity, 10 questionnaires and enquiries were prepared; 660 interviews were carried out; analysis of the needs and problems of the enterprises and business in Bulgaria was prepared; analysis of the current state of the services provided was drawn up.
At the end of the project a second survey for the identification of the impact of the implementation of the activities was performed. 10 enquiries were developed; 509 interviews were conducted; an analysis of the progress made and a report with recommendations for further activities were prepared.
The survey reported increased recognition of BDS and its services as a result of the project activities. Some of the more interesting facts are:
Data and conclusions from the performed surveys and analyzes have been used in the development of BDS Marketing Plan for 2014.
Preparation, organization and implementation of a large-scale information campaign across the country, aimed at raising the awareness of enterprises and business on BDS activities and the National Quality Infrastructure bodies:
with a total of 1857 participants across the country.
The informational seminars included topics, which present BDS activities and the services it provides, the benefits of the participation in the standardization process and application of the standards.
The specialized seminars and trainings were held on topics of interest in particular sectors and the specific standards in the area were presented. The topics of the round tables were defined according to their actuality and the need for discussion on issues related to the development and application of particular standards. The target group of all events was representatives of business in Bulgaria and related organizations. The aim in organizing the events was to cover all regions; the topics were selected according to the interest of the companies in the respective region.
The campaign enjoyed great interest by the business representatives across the country. An indicator of this is the fact that against a target of 450 persons to be covered by it, the actual number of participants was 1857, which is four times above the expected.
Development and printing of information and promotional materials
Seven information brochures on different themes and seven revised and updated editions were developed and published. They present in language easily understood summary information about the standards and standards in particular sectors - general information brochure "The World of Standards" and 6 specialized brochures on the following topics: "Management Systems", "The Standards in Construction", "Standards for Services" "Standards and Food", "Energy Efficiency" and "Standards and Information Security". The brochures are disseminated at events organized by the BDS, at BDS Business Information Centre and in other appropriate cases related to the given topic.
Through the development, printing and disseminating of the brochures improved information environment associated with the standardization activity was achieved as well as awareness of the small and medium enterprises on the theme.
Preparation and implementation of a campaign for promotion of BDS role and activities, presentation of BDS services and promotion of the role of standards
A comprehensive media campaign (TV, radio, newspapers, journals, Internet, etc.) was performed to promote the standards and standardization activities that reached an audience of over 2.4 million people in the age range 18-49 across the country. The campaign was held in two parts - two separate periods of intense advertising through various media - TV, radio, newspapers, journals, internet and others. Four advertisement clips - two TV and two radio commercials were broadcast in each wave of the campaign. The clips were created for two target groups – for the business and for the end users with the goal to increase BDS visibility among the general public and to encourage the demand and application of standards.
The campaign included a number of paid placements in national and regional newspapers, TV and radio interviews and reportages, a massive internet campaign on business sites, press releases in news agencies. A number of information brochures were distributed with "Banker" newspaper.
The media campaign not only fulfilled the guaranteed reaching of the target audiences but almost doubled the rating points set at the beginning of the campaign. Totally 381 broadcasts were set for the campaign and 699 broadcasts were achieved. As a whole the clips were viewed at least once by over 2.4 million people aged 18-49 across the whole country.
Provision of new services to business by organizing BDS Business Information Centre
As a part of this activity the premises intended for Business Information Centre, Centre for Meetings, Conferences and Trainings (three meeting rooms), Printing Centre, sanitary units and office of the project were reconstructed and equipped with furniture and the respective equipment.
Improvement and upgrading of BDS software system for database management of standards was performed and a complete electronic fund of standards was established. As a result, BDS has a full-text database with advanced and improved features that will be of benefit to the members of the organization and for all SMEs.
The advanced software system and full text database allowed new services for dissemination of standards to be established that had not been planned as project results:
Own printing centre was established and equipped with contemporary printing equipment. The employees of "Publishing" and "Information services and sales" departments were trained to work with the new equipment. As a result of the activity BDS now prepare and print all its own major publications with the following equipment: a black and white sheet production digital printing system for book printings, colour sheet production digital printing system for printing colour covers and inserts to paper printings and other colour applications, software integrating the two production printing solutions in unified system, machine for overlay of covers with hot glue, automatic digital cutter for trimming and formatting, printing system for printing and recording on discs.
The centre for meetings, conferences and trainings is structured in three rooms with different format. Equipment (furniture, computers, printers, multimedia projectors, screens, school boards, translation equipment, etc.) were delivered and installed. The centre is actively used for organizing meetings of BDS technical committees, seminars, trainings and workshops, and allows BDS to host international events.
Enlargement and development of BDS integrated database
BDS improved and upgraded information system and database and the new BDS website provide new opportunities for facilitated participation in the standardization activities and the work of BDS technical committees and for elaboration and offering new services to the business.
After the implementation of the activity the integrated database provides:
Improving the provision of high quality services for businesses through communication provision of BDS
Entirely new IT equipment for BDS employees was delivered that significantly modernized the technical support of the standardization work. IT equipment was delivered and independent optic internet connection was constructed. BDS communication with European, international and foreign standards organizations was improved. Effectively operating integrated IT system, providing fast and reliable access of enterprises to BDS products and services was achieved.
Development of a strategic plan and measures for the development of BDS for the period to 2017
In the frame of this activity 667 interviews were performed; analysis of the status of the standardization system in Bulgaria, analysis of BDS marketing activity and policy for development, analysis of BDS policy for development of human resources and the needs of specialized training for enhancing the qualifications and professional skills of BDS employees were elaborated.
Strategic guidelines for improvement of the standardization system in Bulgaria and the development of BDS for the period to 2017 were developed, which formed the basis of the elaborated and adopted in 2013 by BDS Managing Board BDS Strategy to 2017.
Important conclusions and recommendations were taken into account in the development of BDS Marketing Plan for 2014.
Implementation of series of specialized training of BDS employees and experts
The following trainings for BDS employees were implemented under the project by the Spanish Association for Standardization and Certification (AENOR) aiming at increasing of the administrative capacity of the organization:
The increased administrative capacity of the institute enabled optimization of the work in the standardization process, concentration of more efforts on the marketing and PR activities, provision of more and better services to enterprises in Bulgaria.
Implementation of a quality management system in accordance with standard BSD EN ISO 9001:2008
Certified quality management system in accordance with BDS EN ISO 9001:2008 was implemented and is functioning at BDS. For the purpose a quality manual, 23 procedures and instructions and 67 record forms were developed.
After the initial audit for obtaining a certificate of conformity two control audits were performed and in April 2014 BDS received a certificate of conformity for another three years. The system is functioning, maintained and developing in accordance with the changing environment.
Supporting the participation of business representatives in the development process of European and international standards and integration of BDS in the European and international standards organizations
Within this activity the participation of BDS experts in meetings, workshops, working groups and other activities of CEN/CENELEC and ISO/IEC technical committees and working bodies was provided. The meetings were attended by business representatives and experts from BDS Technical Committees. 62 experts and delegates from BDS and business participated in 46 meetings of European and international standards organizations. Bulgarian business representatives attended the annual European standardization summit and the two associated discussion forums and exhibition in 2012. Increased interest in participation in standardization activities at European level was reported as a result.
BDS hosted the most prestigious European event in the field of standardization – the Summit of the European standardization organisations - CEN and CENELEC, which was attended by 210 people. Parallel to the international event a panel discussion with representatives of the national members of the European organisation for standardization CEN and Bulgarian business with 59 participants and a panel discussion with representatives of the national members of the European organisation for Standardization CENELEC and Bulgarian business in the electrictrotechnical field with 66 participants were held. An exhibition for the companies - BDS members and business organizations in Bulgaria with 28 participants was also organized.
Ensuring conformity of the Bulgarian products with the international quality standards through BDS integration in the European and international systems for conformity assessment
BDS experts and experts of the consultant AENOR jointly developed three certification schemes. Based on analysis made and consultations carried down the following three sectors for development of schemes were selected: solar collectors and systems, spa tourism services, fresh fruits and vegetables. Two sectors (tourism spa services and fresh fruits and vegetables) were selected based on the characteristics of the economy in Bulgaria and the considerable experience of the consultant in these sectors. The scheme for solar collectors was selected based on the fact that the existing CEN Keymark would allow BDS incorporation in the European certification schemes.
An analysis of the current situation in BDS on the development of certification schemes, the availability of documents, procedures and practice applied, problems and opportunities was performed. Procedures and documents for the three schemes were developed and BDS Certification General Regulations were improved, based on CEN-CENELEC regulations with the participation of BDS experts.
BDS experts got to know in details also AENOR experience in the certification services as well as in the particular schemes.
Visualization of the project activities and results
During the overall project implementation measures had been applied for awareness, visualization and promotion of project activities and results as well as of OP "Competitiveness" and ERDF.
For the purposes of visualization 2500 pens, 2000 folders, 500 posters, 2000 brochures, 1000 promotional cups, 1100 flyers, 1500 leaflets were produced; six permanent interior information boards and two illuminated boards were produced and installed; for event purposes were made 6 banners.
The project webpage was maintained constantly updated, where 91 news were published.
Visualization stickers were placed on the equipment supplied.
The project management team was entirely composed of BDS employees and the project implementation team included contractual employees as well as external experts who assisted the specific project activities.
10 reports containing technical and financial part were prepared and submitted for the period of implementation.
An audit of the overall financial implementation and reporting of the project was performed.