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Supporting a tea packing company in Kazakhstan

By Volker Ahlemeyer

The EBRD's BAS programme is imroving the Almaty-based enterprise management system.

India, Sri Lanka, China or even the United Kingdom are countries that one frequently associates with tea. Kazakhstan, on the other hand, is a less likely candidate. All the more remarkable therefore is the story of a small tea-producing and packing company that has established itself on the outskirts of Almaty.

Tea House started with 60 employees but soon the demand for its tea grew and so did the company. In 2005, the firm consulted the EBRD’s Business Advisory Services (BAS) team in Kazakhstan to cope with its ongoing expansion and to achieve its ambitious goal of becoming a market leader.

“Business Advisory Services started its operations in Kazakhstan with Japanese donor funding in 2001 and since then we have initiated over 800 projects in different parts of the country. We have supported companies that are working in all different sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy,” says Zhanibek Suleimenov, National Programme Director for BAS.

Introducing international quality standards

The BAS team helped Tea House employ a suitable consultant company, which analysed the existing workflows and identified possible improvements to Tea House’s management. Implementing the suggested changes soon showed concrete results.

“The BAS supported us when we introduced the quality standards ISO-9001 with the integrated hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP) standards,” says Stanislav Yakunin, director of the Tea House. “Now the company employs 225 people and the production volumes are huge – 600 to 650 tonnes of tea per month. A company of this size needs good management.”

By introducing a proper quality management system, Tea House improved its work processes, strengthened its requirements for suppliers and obtained a Certificate of Origin, which allows the firm to export its tea abroad. This, in turn, helped the company to increase its revenues significantly.

“Nowadays if a company wants to be a successful exporter, it has to introduce proper quality standards. Thanks to BAS involvement, Tea House now exports products into several CIS countries with a view of expanding its export activities into other foreign countries,” Mr Yakunin concludes.

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