Vehbi Varlık, Inoksan: “Because of both economic data and fluctuations, companies had a bad start last year. But, Inoksan had started picking up in April and had concluded the year with success. We strengthened our personnel abroad. Particularly with Turquality, we renewed target and strategies and managed that personnel with a dynamic structure. As a result of these, we exceeded our sales targets for the year of 2017 and realized a growth of 20 percent in terms of foreign currency when compared to the previous year.”
Vehbi VARLIK - İnoksan, Chairman of the Board
Breaking grounds at industrial kitchen sector and becoming popular with recent investments, Inoksan now aims for the sky. Inoksan that exports its products to 80 countries across 5 continents and shows its flag with innovative products on the global stage had a wonderful start in 2018. Saying that Turkey is expected to grow by 6 percent in 2018, Vehbi Varlık , Inoksan Chairman of the Board, said that his company has a growth target of 20 percent. The industrial kitchen sector has reached a size of 13 billion Turkish liras in Turkey.
Mr. Varlık said that his company had closed the year 2017 with an outstanding balance and had a speedy start in 2018 with a record-breaking balance that the company has not experienced before. Inoksan continued its furnace, fridge, and dishwasher production project for the Turkish Presidential Palace. Speaking to BBM Magazine, Vehbi Varlık said that the company continues land-marking projects such as the Presidential Palace, Zafer Construction Cyprus Hotel Project, İş Bank Çeşme and Istanbul Social Facilities. Here is the interview with Vehbi Varlık , Inoksan Chairman of the Board.
Mr. Varlık, Inoksan now is the leading company in the industrial kitchen sector. You started your journey with a small workshop in 1980. Can you tell us about your journey a bit?
When we founded our company in 1980, the industrial kitchen sector was entirely dependent in foreign companies. Even the kitchen equipment and material needs of a smallest hotel or holiday village were supplied from abroad. Even though the accommodation fees of touristic facilities were low in Turkey, [these facilities] paid a huge sum for industrial kitchen equipment. At the same time, capital, technology, and qualified labor force for any enterprise were lacking and difficulties were at the highest level. The milestone for Inoksan started with installing kitchens at hotels in the country’s south shores.
In 1985, we produced the first potato peeling machine. Then we established our foreign trade unit. In 1986, we moved to the industrial zone. In the same year, we received a TSE certificate for dishwasher, kitchen stove and cake-pastry oven for the first time in Turkey. We established our factory for kitchen machines in 1988. In the 25th year, we have documented that all of our devices conformed to European norms and we have started to make a name for our company with international large turn-key projects.
In 2007, we began to produce High-Quality service system for Europe. In 2008, we produced and exported tracked dishwashing machines for the first time in Turkey. In 2012, we manufactured gassed boiler oven. In 2014, we introduced Inosmart, the local boiler oven, for the first time in Turkey. In 2016 we have become a Turquality brand. In 2017, we established a ministry-approved R&D Center. Today, we produce at 20 thousand square meters of closed space.
What is the secret behind your rapid success?
The basic factor to write any success story at enterprises is to hit the road taking risks. Entrepreneurs that take these risks inevitably will be the hero of the story both in those days and these days. Additionally, we need to acknowledge those producers and equipment suppliers that have trusted each other. We never forget suppliers that provided stainless steel sheet and material without asking any checks and promissory notes in the 1980s. Another most important factor is our personnel that has worked day and night.
What can you say about 2017? How much did you grow in the last year?
Due to both economic data and fluctuations that Turkey had been in, companies had a bad start in the last year. But, Inoksan had started picking up in April and had concluded the last year with success. In 2017, our export directorate continued to strengthen its staff with the new structure that it has realized in recent years. Especially with Turquality, the goals and strategies of the country are constantly being renewed and managed with a dynamic structure. As the result of these, we exceeded our sales targets for the year 2017 and realized a growth of 20 percent in terms of foreign currency when compared to the previous year. 2017 was a year that Turkey has exceeded expectations.
As Inoksan, we have closed the year 2017 with a record turnover balance. The company had a speedy start in 2018 with a record-breaking balance that the company has not experienced before. In 2017, Inoksan became a solution partner for brands such as Limak Tourism Cyprus Hotel Project, Divan Group Diyarbakir Hotel Project, Sodexo, ISS, Sofra, and Sardunya and carried out many works of reference. Among the projects that Inoksan passed to the year 2018, there are Bilintur, a prominent catering company in Turkey, the Presidential Palace that will be shown among the most important works of reference for us, Zafer Construction Cyprus Hotel Project, İş Bankası Çeşme, Istanbul Social Facilities, and Adana Hilton Hotel.
WE ARE PLANNING A SPACE OF AT LEAST 50 DECARES
What are your growth and investment targets for 2018?
This company proved its confidence in this country by making investments in a year that any company could act cautiously. For us, the year 2018 will be a year to pursue opportunities. We will proceed in this direction both at home and abroad. With all these developments, we project a growth of 20 percent for our company and 6 percent for the country as the growth and exchange rate reach to the expected range together with the political stability.
This year, we reached the point of specialized factories at independent products. In order to increase our capacity, we ordered 3 million-Euro-machines in total, of which 2 million Euros are robot systems. We are stepping into the Industry 4.0. We will establish additional facilities as well. We expect Teknosab, which will be the turning point of high added value industry in Bursa, to be completed. We are planning a space of at least 50 decares. We will carry out research and development unit to that space. Our team is now 415 people. We lack skilled workers. Companies train their personnel on their own. Technologies develop but the need for personnel doesn’t diminish.
What are your latest innovations in the sector as a company?
We are working hard to innovate and develop in the sector. We became the Technology Ministry-approved R&D Center. We will particularly increase our research and development expenditure. Since the foundation of Inoksan, it has worked as a research and development center. Through this, we improved a lot. Our company allocates 2 percent of its sales to research and development spending every year. Inosmart furnaces are the most produced in the last period.
INOKSAN MACHINES COOK FOR AMAZON’S PERSONNEL
Can you tell us about your export efforts?
Today, we export to 82 countries across 5 continents. The top 10 countries we exported to in 2017 were Italy, Georgia, TRNC, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Egypt, Singapore, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and the USA. In 2017, the leading prestige jobs that we carried out include three personnel cafeterias of US giant Amazon in Germany, stainless steel jobs of Courtyard Marriott Kanakia Mumbai and Radisson Mumbai Andheri projects in India. Also, two resort hotels in the Maldives, Metro Entertainment Center by Radisson in Georgia and five-starred Akti Imperial Deluxe Spa & Resort of Rodos are also included in this list. Together with this, Inoksan products find their places at many important hotels such as Zafer Construction and Limak in TRNC.
What benefits did you get entering under the Turquality umbrella as a brand?
Being in this program makes us feel that we are not alone and the state is with us particularly when entering new markets. With the success we have gained through being accepted to Turquality program, we are developing our vision and taking important actions in this context. Additionally, within the framework of Turquality program, we continue our works about access to new markets and development works for the given target markets. In neighboring Iran and Azerbaijan markets, we took brand protection measures. With our representative in the US market, we are continuing our efforts to increase the number of nationwide distributors.
THE STATE SHOULD SUPPORT COMPANIES IN THEIR BRANDING EFFORTS
What is the share Turkey receives from the global industrial kitchen market?
Unfortunately, we cannot say that our share is large enough. But in Europe, we can say that after Italy, Turkey has the highest potential to increase its share. We see that we are on the right track with respect to the product variety and the development acceleration of the companies and the exhibited products in the international fairs. The most important way to increase our share is to produce value-added, products with an authentic design and to proceed in terms of copyright issues. Companies should increase their efforts to be a brand and the state should support such efforts.
How big is the industrial kitchen sector in Turkey?
When we look at industrial kitchen sector from a wide perspective, it is a gigantic sector ranging from porcelain, glassware, from consumable materials and storage and protection units to ventilation systems reaching a volume of 13 billion Turkish liras and employing 60 thousand people. We are the leading company among the neighboring countries and at the second position in the production of industrial kitchenware among the European countries.