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Today, April 9, 2014, a seminar "Business Excellence as a factor of competitiveness and state sustainable development" was held in the conference hall of the State Service of Ukraine for Regulatory Policy and Entrepreneurship Development. Upon completion of the workshop for civil servants, we interviewed the lecturer, our partner, Mr. P.Y. Kalyta, who is the President of the Quality Leaders Club of Central and Eastern European countries, the honorary President of the International Quality Professionals Guild, Member of the General Assembly of the European Organization for Quality (EOQ), President of the Ukrainian Association for Quality (UAQ), a Partner of the European Economic Chamber (EEIG) in Ukraine.


EEIG: - Mr. Kalyta, Ukraine has chosen the European path of development and at the same time partially lost the Russian market. How would you, a many-sided man with a solid life experience, who dedicated more than 40 years of life to quality and business excellence problem-solving, characterize in that regard the main problems of Ukraine? And what do you think we differ from the leading European countries in?

P.K.: - In the Russian market we were somewhere equal with manufacturers of the Russian Federation at the level of business excellence and quality, and as a result -at the level of competitiveness. Companies in our countries being natives of the USSR economy of scarcity had approximately the same business culture. As for the EU countries, it is a different culture which we still need to grow to. Ukrainian society lags behind societies of developed countries in terms of maturity and, as a consequence  - in competitiveness of companies and economy, in terms of quality of people’s life. If we want to live as in Europe, we have to learn and work as Europeans. Choosing the European way, we are doomed to master their culture, and improving our companies using their best business practices we are simply forced to increase the competitiveness of both individual companies and our entire economy as a whole. The sooner it happens, the more chances Ukrainian society gets to turn Ukraine into a prosperous country. I just do not see any other decent way out from the current situation.


EEIG: -Would you be so kind to confide your thoughts to us in detail as for problems related to improvement of the competitiveness of our country?

P.K.: -Today in the Ukrainian economy, main focus is directed toward fight against corruption, and deregulation. The prevailing opinion is that the solution of these problems will allow Ukraine to move to a qualitatively new level of development. However, it must be understood that corruption and “overregulation” significantly reduced the already low, so to speak - the nominal level of competitiveness of Ukrainian enterprises. Therefore, a cancel of the artificial barriers will allow businesses to regain the original level of competitiveness. And it is certainly very important. But the problem is that even this nominal level of competitiveness of the bulk of Ukrainian enterprises significantly lower than the level that is inherent in the mass of companies in developed European countries. Moreover, we are oriented to perform the European directives regarding safety of products (services), as well as to comply with the European standards. Of course, it's important, though for most of our businesses it is not easy. However, it should be understood that compliance with the directives - it's just skipping the markets of developed countries. Even if standards are met there is still no guarantee that your products will be necessarily bought. In order to be truly competitive in the EU market, we still have much more to do.


EEIG: - Where do you see a way out from the situation and what should be specifically done to improve the competitiveness and reach the level of developed countries?

P.K.: -First of all, we should grasp that “main link” by virtue of which we would be able to pull the entire chain of our socio-economic problems. This requires, first of all, our changes in philosophy and psychology. It is needed to build new “friendly” relations between government and society, society and business, senior managers and staff of companies. And there is no time to waste, but to begin seriously improve, create modern and efficient management systems, realizing that it is a “root system” and all the outcomes we want to gain are its “fruits”. It should be a meaningful use of the best business practices accumulated in the world. And, it should be as well understood that is not sufficient for companies to have only modern expensive equipment (though this is very important) to achieve long-term sustainable success, and reach the level of successful European companies.

The Ukrainian government must understand that “perfect companies” -is its main pillar, the main value. And so we need to do everything possible to make Ukrainian society realize that it is prestigious to be a perfect organization. The country immediately needs to enter the formula “The better the company, the more comfortable it feels in the state”.  As in sports and art it is. And this formula should be the same for all entities, without exceptions! So, the authorities should at the legislative level introduce such motivation mechanisms and create such conditions for owners and managers of enterprises to believe first, and then want, then learn how and finally manage to continuously purposefully and systematically improve, using the most modern European approaches and best business practices.


EEIG: - Is it possible, in your opinion, in our country to activate a mass movement for business excellence and foster a subsequent prosperity of Ukraine?

P.K.: - I think, yes. But it must be preceded by a change in the country's business climate: a change to Spring after Winter. The main role here belongs to the state represented by its authorities. To “reformate” society and make it involved in the movement for business excellence and quality is desirable to use all available means, including emotional. Particular attention should be paid to the involvement of creative young people into movement. And, of course, the initial condition for our prosperity is love for Ukraine, its people. Last year my friends and I traveled to England. I was struck by this great country. Touring around England and taking a closer look of it, I replied to my main question: “What is the fundamental principle of its greatness?” One of the poems dedicated to it, I ended by saying: “To live in Ukraine, as here, you have to be wiser, and love your Ukrainian people, as Englishmen do in England”.


EEIG: - Mr. Kalyta,I would like to sincerely thank you for taking your time. Our organizations have the same noble goals and aspirations that consist in management and production improvement, implementation of high standards of quality into life of Ukraine and the rest of the world. On behalf of the President of the European Economic Chamber of Trade, Commerce and Industry (EEIG) in Ukraine Mr. Stanislav Grygorskyi we wish you success and business achievements!


Interviewed by Aliona Rubelska,

Associate President of the EEIG in Ukraine


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