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Implementation process

A Calidena process can foster the development of all pillars of the national quality infrastructure. Commonly, the following aspects are identified: needs for raising quality awareness and quality culture, possibilities for the development or revision of standards are discussed, the need for development of Good Practices, improvements or extension of testing or calibration services for the value chain, needs for guidelines for metrology and quality assurance in production processes, needs regarding certificationor process improvements for market surveillance. For specific examples, you may refer to the case studies on Calidena processes available on the website.

The Calidena methodology is designed to conduct a detailed assessment of a value chain to determine the quality gaps along that chain and define priority activities to improve quality and necessary quality infrastructure services. This focused approach facilitates the discussion about what is needed and creates the possibility for value chain actors and quality infrastructure institutions to address pressing issues jointly. Although a broader approach to quality infrastructure improvement is possible starting from a Calidena process, this should rather be based on a strategic discussion with representatives of the quality infrastructure.

It might reduce the motivation of the value chain actors or take out the momentum of the Calidena process if general quality infrastructure development needs are discussed at the kick-off workshop. However, these broader questions and goals should be discussed with the quality infrastructure partners in the preparatory phase as well as during the follow-up phase.

Mapping the quality infrastructure service providers is an additional exercise that we had used for the first time at the Calidena online training. However, we have not yet included it in the toolbox.

The exercise is always helpful when workshop participants do not accurately understand the conformity assessment landscape in their country. The activity takes about 15 minutes and is recommended to be carried out in a preparatory mini workshop to which also serves to make sure that important actors are invited to the CALIDENA Kick-off workshop.

The action plan is the key element that holds the Calidena process together. Its implementation is crucial for the success of the process and to keep the actors motivated to jointly work on quality issues. It is highly recommended to define roles and responsibilities for the implementation during the kick-off workshop when all stakeholders are present. In this way, the stakeholders can officially commit to an active engagement in the process, and it will be clear who takes the lead in the implementation phase. Also, for follow-up purposes it is helpful to have a responsible for each activity who acts as spokesperson regarding the status of implementation. However, if for any reason the roles would not be defined completely at the kick-off workshop, then they might also be defined at the first meeting of the follow-up committee.

When a Calidena process is planned in the frame of a PTB project, the objective and role of the process in the project context should be defined. This can give guidance as to how much the project should contribute to the implementation of the activities defined in the action plan. In any case, the action plan should be focused on quick-win activities, which are seen as a priority by the participants. Therefore, it is best practice that the value chain actors and quality infrastructure institutions take the lead on some of the activities themselves and implement them without funding from the project. Nevertheless, it is most likely that some budget will be needed, e.g. for printing of developed materials, for events, for small pieces of equipment or for the characterization of products or similar services/studies. Support by the project for this kind of expenses can be of great help to accelerate the implementation of activities in the action plan. However, if project budget is allocated, lengthy processes (e.g. procurement of equipment) should be  anticipated as well as communicated transparently to the Calidena participants.

Hence, it is recommended to perform the Calidena at the beginning of the project to assure the project support in the follow-up phase.

The Calidena process is a considerable investment made by the project and the project partners. Therefore, the Calidena approach should continuously be improved. It is recommended to include as part of the standard Calidena method those experiences and new instruments and tools developed that support and assure the quality and the impact of the Calidena process.

Nevertheless, each Calidena exercise needs to be implemented as a unique experience, adapted to the specific situation and spontaneous adjustments are to be seen as part of each Calidena exercise. 

Host | Co-host

A suitable host is an institution with a strong interest in improving quality or quality infrastructure services for a specific value chain. Ideally, an institution of the quality infrastructure acts as host and an organisation or company representing the value chain takes on the role of co-host. In this way, the commitment on both sides can be fostered. The host organisation should be motivated to work on quality issues in the value chain and be able to make necessary resources available to support the organisation and implementation of the Calidena process. Most importantly, participation of the host organisation(s) in Calidena workshops and other activities should be assured. Also, access to additional stakeholders may be a criterion for selecting a specific host (or co-host). For example, an industry association may facilitate reaching out to a segment of the value chain, ensure the active involvement of industry actors in the process and share the results of the process with its members.

Hosts should be informed early on – in the best case already before they agree to take on that role – to manage expectations about what it implies to be the host of the process and what is expected of them. The tasks the host takes on can be adapted to the possibilities, the expertise, and interests of the host organisation. The host may support the organisation of the workshops and provide the venue and necessary support personnel for registration of participants etc. The Calidena process may also be used as an opportunity for capacity development of staff of the host organisation, for example if a staff member is interested in acting as co-moderator. In any case, the host organisation(s) should not be left alone with their tasks. Regular meetings in the organisation team can be used to provide support as needed. During the implementation phase, when the host may take over a coordinating role for the implementation of the action plan, frequent exchange may be of help as well, to identify support needs along the process.

If no host can be identified, because of limited availability or interest in the Calidena process from the quality infrastructure side and the value chain actors, it may be wise to reconsider whether it makes sense to initiate a process at all, as apparently, there is no buy-in from the participants. In case there is no clear “leader”, e.g. due to the fact that individual organizations fear that their responsibilities as host would not match their capacities or that they might cause conflicts if they took a more prominent role, whilst several organizations/stakeholders are indeed motivated to collaborate jointly, it might be feasible be to have a small group of equally responsible co-hosts with clearly defined roles. In the contrary case, the Calidena process should be closed. However, the latter should not be considered as a failure of the Calidena exercise. Instead, the PTB team should proactively communicate this as a “graceful exit”.

Involvement of the private sector

For private sector actors to participate in the Calidena process, they need to see the benefit of participating. The interaction matrix (see Toolbox) can help to identify possible benefits and risks for the value chain actors already in the preparation phase of the process and see whether a participation is realistic. It is important to consider that quality infrastructure is often not well connected to the private sector and their services may thus not be reaching the private sector or addressing the current needs. A Calidena process is a great opportunity to bridge this gap. However, this may take time and building of understanding.

In any case, it is important to involve the private sector actors directly before a decision on the value chain is taken. It is not sufficient to analyse the situation in the country and assume that the value chain is suitable. Interest has to be expressed by the actors themselves. Ideally, a private sector actor or association also takes on the role of host or co-host of the process to demonstrate their commitment. It may be helpful to elaborate a common vision and define what is the common interest and goal for the process.

Once the private sector stakeholders are on board, it is also their responsibility to use the process in a way that is most beneficial for them and make it worthwhile to continue. This can also be communicated to them directly. During the kick-off workshop, the questions and challenges of the private sector actors should be taken seriously, and the action plan should reflect the willingness to work on the identified issues. The private sector actors should be encouraged to get involved or even take the lead on activities that are of benefit for them. By involving them directly into the implementation and / or keeping them updated about the progress, their motivation can be kept up and if issues arise, a good communication may help generate understanding rather than a refusal to continue the efforts. For the private sector, quick results are crucial. Therefore, the action plan should include sufficient quick win activities so that visible results can be achieved within a short time after the kick-off.

The participation of an (international, if applicable) buyer should be prioritized when preparing a Calidena process. The buyer determines the requirements and makes the assessment concrete and practical. The expertise on the products should also be represented by the representatives of the value chain itself.

The involvement of an additional product expert is not foreseen in the Calidena method yet. However, the involvement of the product expert in some Calidena processes has shown beneficial in view of the following aspects:

  • The product expert allows a more in-depth knowledge of the product and the value chain and therefore a better preparatory phase (including the identification of quality issues that go beyond the standard ones). (Note: in some processes the trained local or regional expert was a product expert, so there was no need of an additional product expert);
  • the selection of the value chain is not restricted by the product knowledge and experience of the facilitator
  • the representative of the value chains do normally not have much time for an in-depth analysis

the buyers are normally involved for the kick-off workshop and their expertise is not being used in the preparatory phase (if they are willing to share their knowledge and time at all); nevertheless, the buyer is an important participant of the kick-off workshop.

Handing over the process

It is important to address the issues of local ownership of the Calidena Process already in the preparatory phase and to organise it from the beginning of the follow-up process with the follow-up committee and include it in the action plan.

The handover process also requires appropriate consultancy, which can be supported through development cooperation projects. The available template for a memorandum of understanding can be a suitable basis for discussion. In addition, it should be clarified with the host and co-host in which institutional framework the cooperation between the QI and the value chain could be continued. A workshop should be organised to reach a joint agreement on these matters and to formally close the phase of direct involvement of the development cooperation project.

Suppose the development cooperation project involved in the Calidena exercise cannot identify or encourage key actors, including the host, to take over the process. There could e.g. be a structural or personnel change within the host organisation leading to shifting priorities. In that case, an official closing of the Calidena process should be considered. The decision for closing the process can be agreed upon under certain additional conditions. First, there should be a consensus among key actors that the Calidena exercise has managed to successfully implement most critical activities outlined in the initial action plan and has largely reached its set objectives. Second, the participants at the final Calidena closing workshop should celebrate achievements, but also discuss what else could and should be done in the future to follow up on Calidena successes. Ideally, this discussion should also hint at who to involve in follow-up activities and how to take them forward.

Virtual or hybrid Calidena

For virtual Calidena applications the Calidena Online Guide is available for practitioners. It contains valuable information about planning and implementing a Calidena kick-off workshop remotely using videoconferencing and online whiteboard solutions.

Digital tools can be helpful to follow-up on the implementation of the action plan remotely. For example, the follow-up committee may decide to conduct regular online meetings to discuss the progress on the action plan and decide how to proceed. This can save time and resources, as the committee members do not need to travel to meet physically.

A Trello or Kanban board may be used for task management, so everyone can have real-time information on which actions are being implemented and who is involved. Similarly, a virtual whiteboard may be used for the follow-up, especially if it has been used already during the kick-off workshop to define the action plan. In this way, all the information regarding the Calidena process can be gathered on one board. Alternatively, a shared cloud folder for the participants may also be useful to share documents throughout the process.

A virtual factory tour is a vivid way to showcase quality management and QI services in the context of an online Calidena workshop.

It is crucial to first gain access to a factory and permission to film. This requires trust-building measures with the owner or management. Local Calidena facilitators should be involved in this dialogue with the company.

The purpose of filming should be explained to the company management. It can be agreed that certain things in the company will not be filmed and that the film will be used solely for training and not for distribution on social networks etc.

For filming and editing, the Calidena facilitator should hire a local film crew.

The use of an online whiteboard is also an option for a hybrid workshop. So far, however, we have not had any practical experience with this format in the Calidena community.

Participants outside the meeting room can write their contributions on a digital whiteboard.

With a touchscreen display, it would be possible for participants in the room to post their contributions together on one surface.

Another option is that the digital whiteboard is projected onto the wall via a projector, and the participants in the room also make their contributions via their laptops.

Calidena & circular economy

Product design is crucial for the circular economy. Therefore, if a reference to the circular economy is intended in a Calidena, special reference should be made to the relevant standards, e.g., the ISO 14000 series on environmental management standards and in particular to the standard ISO/TR 14062:2002(en) Environmental management - Integrating environmental aspects into product design and development.

Social and environmental sustainability is increasingly one of the requirements for every value chain. This is even more true for development cooperation, which is explicitly geared towards achieving the SDGs. In this respect, it makes perfect sense to ask questions about Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Remanufacture, Recycle, and Recover in every Calidena process.

If a CALIDENA is declared as a CE approach, at least one central aspect of circularity of the selected value chain must be considered in the whole Calidena process. In the contrary case, however, it would be conceivable to deal with the circular economy issues in a separate workshop as part of the follow-up in order not to not overload the traditional Calidena workshop.

Our experience shows that it is easy to arrange the links of a linear value chain in a circular way. This provides intuitive and direct starting points for increasing energy and resource efficiency. Furthermore, once these links have been identified, it is easy to conduct a gap analysis regarding the necessary QI services.

Marketing, reach and limits

Calidena is the PTB approach for participation-oriented analysis of the quality infrastructure services for value chains. The method is versatile and can be flexibly adapted to specific circumstances.

It is crucial that the local project partners take responsibility and assume the role of the host. Calidena should also only be carried out by trained facilitators.

We have noticed that international project partners are sometimes confused about when to call the demand analysis of an NQI a “Calidena” exercise. For instance, this happened when interviews as part of applying the Rapid Diagnostic Toolkit (supply-side analysis) were conducted together with interviews researching the demand side of NQI services in a given country and often in a given value chain or sector. There are (at least) two distinctive factors that distinguish Calidena from traditional consultant-based research on QI demand. First, Calidena is highly participatory, involving actors from both the demand and supply side of QI services and all segments of a given value chain. Second, Calidena is highly facilitative. The facilitative nature of the Calidena exercise becomes particularly obvious during the 3-day kick-off workshop , where all kinds of different actors meet, discuss, identify quality gaps, and find solutions to address these gaps. Facilitation continues after the kick-off workshop when it comes to overseeing and monitoring the implementation of the action plan in different intervention areas.

Per definition, a Calidena process has a Calidena facilitator, it follows the Calidena Handbook (including flexibility and adaptations), it comprises 3 phases, it produces X,Y,Z, etc.