What is “ZED” ?

Posted on: November 2017

Zero Defect Zero Effect (ZED) is a certification system for MSMEs (ECAs) to certify that the ECA has established a capable system to produce defect-free, world-class quality products from pollution free processes run by competent people.

Benefits of ZED Certification

There are several advantages of ZED certification, including the following:

  • Implementation of ZED will improve process performance with regard to better quality, on-time delivery and reduced cost , which will facilitate in profitable growth of the ECA
  • There will be a scientific management system and trained manpower in the organization which will improve the quality of work life of people
  • ZED certification will be a respected brand and credible recognition of the ECA for International Customers (importers) and Foreign Direct Investors setting factories for manufacturing in India
  • ZED is likely to be made as a benchmark for suppliers to PSUs and Defence Organisations. ZED Rating can be shown on e-commerce Portals to increase credibility of ECAs among end-customers
  • Contribution in growth of national GDP, new employment generation and preservation of environment
  • The ECA will be able to develop vendors and continuously improve quality of its products with option to upgrade ZED rating to become a world-class manufacturer

A Certification Model developed by the Govt. of India to promote world-class manufacturing in Indian ECAs

The ECA sector is an important pillar of Indian economy as it contributes greatly to growth of Indian economy with a vast network of around 30 million units, creating employment of about 70 million, manufacturing more than 6000 products, contributing about 45% to manufacturing output and about 40% of exports, directly and indirectly.

This sector even assumes greater importance now as the country moves towards a faster and inclusive growth agenda. Moreover, it is the ECA sector which can help realize the target of proposed National Manufacturing Policy of raising the share of manufacturing sector in GDP from 16% at present to 25% by the end of 2022.

Majority of Indian ECAs are not able to grow mainly due to lack of structured management systems, It has been observed that each ECA is running on a unique management system, which has been developed in due course of time based on the way of thinking and working of its entrepreneur. Such unscientific and traditional management systems cannot make an organisation grow effectively. In order to make them grow and export their products in a global market ,it is essential that they must have a scientific management system to meet the quality requirements of customers and environmental requirements of society.

The Government of India has started an ambitious “Make in India” mission to attract leading companies of the world to set up their manufacturing establishments in India. To make globally competitive products these multinational companies require various local small and medium enterprises to provide various components which must meet world-class quality standards at competitive prices.

ZED Rating & Certification

There are 50 parameters on which ECAs will be assessed and rated. ECAs who wish to go for ZED certification are required to comply with 20 essential parameters and at least 10 optional parameters. The organisation will be rated on a minimum of 30 parameters. Each parameter has 5 levels. ECAs willing to get ZED certification have to apply to QCI. After evaluation of their application, QCI will depute consultant/assessors for assessment of their processes as per ZED criteria.

Based on the assessment outcome if an ECA meets the qualification criteria, it will be rated either as Bronze, Silver, Gold, Diamond or Platinum level. The rating provided will be valid for 4 years subjected to qualifying surveillance after 18 months. QCI will award the certificate to the respective companies as per the site assessment findings.

How to go for ZED certification?

Small and medium enterprises willing to go for ZED certification should follow the undermentioned steps:

  1. Get registered with ZED cell of Quality Council of India to express their interest in certification.
  2. Learn about ZED; the model, its parameters, benefits, methodology and all relevant aspects of the model
  3. Conduct self-assessment of its processes and operations with respect to ZED requirements. Self assessment will indicate gap, which must be addressed.
  4. Restructure its organization structure, re-engineer its processes and develop systems according to ZED model
  5. Operate its processes to establish stable operation and continual improvement in quality, environmental, energy, safety, turnover, profitabilty and overall performance
  6. Apply to Quality Council of India with all relevant information and data for Desk Top Assessment and Site Assessment
  7. If company meets the ZED requirements, QCI will appoint third party Assessors to conduct site assessment of the unit
  8. Based on the assessment report if company qualifies it will be awarded appropriate ZED certificate (Bronze/Silver/Gold/Diamond/Platinum)
  9. Company will have opportunity to further improve its processes and reapply for upgradation and certification
  10. There are QCI trained and certified Consultants who can be hired by ECAs to guide them. Government is providing financial subsidy also for certification.


The Model was developed by QCI (Quality Council of India) with assistance from experts from the Indian Ministry of MSME, Industry and Industry Chambers (Like Confederation of Indian Industry-CII, The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry-FICCI, The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.

A Pilot Project was sanctioned to QCI by India's Ministry of Commerce & Industry to test the ZED Model and the results were encouraging. The model was tested on 64 MSME Units where all components (online self-assessment, site assessment and handholding) of the ZED Model were tested. 18 ECA units successfully achieved rating under this pilot project.

Upon the success of the pilot project, the Ministry of MSME instituted a subsidy plan called “Financial support to MSMEs in ZED Certification Scheme” by providing them financial support in assessment, rating and handholding of its manufacturing processes on Quality and Environment aspects. The (QCI) is the National Monitoring and Implementation Unit that will implement this Scheme for 22,222 ECAs with a budget of Rs 491 crores (including the Govt. of India contribution of Rs 365 crores).

The capacity & capability building exercise is currently in progress for the ZED scheme on a nation-wide scale. The ECA organisation can register free for ZED and also undertake free online self-assessment on

The desktop and site-assessments have also commenced.