Hüseyin Gürler, Altuntop, Turkey Sales Manager: “As Altuntop Bakery Machines, we are very strong and assertive in Europe. We strive to have a similar success in other countries. Our target is to capture 80 percent of the baked goods sector in Turkey and to bring brand recognition to the top level and to be among the top five-ten companies that do their jobs best in the world. We strive for this and have the aim and vision. For this end, we work day and night and with our all strength. Turkey’s place in bread making and bread machinery is above the world’s standard. As a company, we sell products to ninety countries. With our quality, technology, and brand recognition, we work very hard to capture 80 percent of the Turkish market.”
Altuntop Bakery Machines, which offers professional solutions to its customers in the fields of baked goods and bread technologies, continues its paths in Turkey and abroad with rapid steps. Altuntop, Malatya-based company established by entrepreneurs in a bid to open up to the world, now export machines to more than ninety countries. Altuntop Bakery Machines developed with the latest technology by Turkish engineers have been present in local and international exhibitions. Altuntop continues its investments with an aim to become the top ten companies on the global level. We sat down with Hüseyin Gürler, Turkey Sales Manager that successfully represents the company to talk about the company. Responding questions at Altuntop’s Istanbul Showroom, Gürler said the company aims to have 80 percent of baked goods sector in Turkey with its quality and technology.
The following is QA with Hüseyin Gürler, Turkey Sales Manager of Altuntop Bakery Machines:
Mr. Hüseyin Gürler, can you tell us about the foundation story of the company?
We produce bread, pastry, and dough machines as Altuntop bakery machines. The company was established in 1991. The factor is located in Malatya. Apart from baking and industrial equipment, we manufacture pre-cooking machines, bread cooking bakeries, multi-story bread ovens, pastry bakeries, lifting and tilt-up machines, mixers, kneading, and cutting and weighing machines.
With its 22,000 closed space, 150 expert personnel, and 300 staff in abroad Altuntop Heat and Machine Industry provides services with zero error policy on standard quality products to the sector with its integrated processing centers connected with Industry 4.0 and controlled with the latest CNC. We manufacture in Malatya, have a showroom in Istanbul, and have the main office in the Netherlands. The central office of sale is based in the Netherland for about fifteen years. We provide service to this sector for thirty years.
Is there any special reason for selecting the Netherlands?
Salwan Naji, a shareholder and export manager, is a Dutch and lives in the Netherlands; thus, the Netherlands is selected as the central office of the company. Additionally, we wanted to be in the central European country- that’s why we selected the Netherlands.
So, we can say that Malatya is selected for production because Ömer Altuntop is from Malatya.
Yes, you can. Ömer Altuntop is from Malatya and that’s why this city is selected for the production center.
Are there any advantages or disadvantages of selecting Malatya as your production center?
Malatya is an agricultural city. It is not an industrial city like Istanbul, Konya or Bursa. However, the owner examined his rivals and companies when he started this business. Once he completed his examination, he decided to start this journey in Malatya by saying: “Why not Malatya? I can do this job in Malatya.”
The company formed CNS processing center, the necessary requirement for standard quality production, the integrated production lines, and a strong engineering group, we have competed against our rivals. The fact that Malatya is not an industrial city may seem like a disadvantage when compared to our rivals. However, by doing our work in a great way, we showed Turkey and the world that this work can be achieved in Malatya as well. The company’s owners turned into industrialists in a city they were born.
Do you have a shortage of qualified workforce? Additionally, can you utilize from the investment incentives?
The state backs our company. The government has investment incentive plans for eastern and southeastern regions. However, generally speaking, we rely on our equity capital.
For the workforce, in order to manufacture good machines, the production must be carried out seriously. For this reason, we do not come up with excuses saying that we are located in an agriculture city.
We do not hide behind excuses while competing against our rivals. On the contrary, we work day and night to perform better the best companies. Recently, there have been good developments in Malatya. Gradually, the perception of an agricultural city has been fading and leaving its place to the perception of an industrial city. As a company, we are prominent in this changing perception. We feel proud that we played a critical role in the development industry. We showed patience and tolerated and trained many people to bring them into the industry.
Reputable İnönü University is locateol in Malatya. As a company, what do you do for industry-university cooperation?
We have projects on this. We are planning to start our projects such as bakery school and apprenticeship school in close cooperation with the university. We provide training courses for students at Industry, Electric-Electronic, and Mechanical Engineering, and with new training periods, students will have new abilities so that they can be ready for life. We are continuing our dialogue with the university.
Although your company is in a difficult region, you compete against local companies head-to-head. Where do you see yourselves against the European rivals?
We know our place. However, we are able to compete with companies doing business in the global scale and see ourselves in the top positions. We predict that we are of the same quality as the best firms. These comments, in fact, come from our customers. One of our customers working with German and Italian rivals told us the following after using our products: “For years, I have used German and Italian products. After using your products, I see no difference in terms of quality and equipment. I see no difference in bakeries in term of baking and kneading in terms of homogeneous kneading when compared to German and Italian companies. It made us happy to see that there is this kind of industry and a company in Turkey that manufacture machines with high quality and this kind of industry.” We heard similar positive feedback from our customers.
We have aims and dreams. There are 195 countries that member of the United Nations. Mainly, we are very strong and assertive in European countries. We strive to have similar success in other countries.
Our target is to have 80 percent of the baked goods sector in Turkey and to bring brand recognition to the top level and to be among the top five-ten companies that do their jobs best in the world. We strive for this and have aim and vision. For this end, we work day and night and with our all strength.
Our target is to have 80 percent of the baked goods sector in Turkey as Altuntop. Turkey’s place in bread making and the machine is above the world’s standard. As a company, we sell products to ninth countries. With our quality, technology, and brand recognition, we work very hard to have 80 percent of the Turkish market
Could you give us information on your R&D works?
Our company works both nationally and internationally with an institutional structure. We have become the main address in quality and trust since we do not sacrifice on quality, do follow innovation in the sector closely, and to provide quick solutions to customers’ needs. The research and development department carries out works to meet customers’ needs within technological thinking and innovation rules continuously and provide all facilities and service to customers. We have the-state-of-art CNC processing centers and processing centers compatible with CNC controlled Industry 4.0, and it is not taken to production line without using drawing program in European standards. In this way, we provide all kinds of service for customers in baked goods and bread oven equipment.
We have an influential engineer team in our R&D. Our R&D center listens to our customers in the field. It examines the developments in the sector with the requests of the customer. How is this work going in the world? Which competitors are doing their jobs best? We’re looking at these. As a result of these studies, our engineers inform us that we can meet our customers’ request while taking advantage against our rivals by adding new features to our machines. In this fashion, the R&D center manufactures the machines that we provide to the sector.
Can you share your company’s foreign and domestic sales figures with us?
We are a known and active firm in the Turkish market. We are exporting to more than 90 countries in the world markets and we are a company that brings foreign currency to Turkey via our exports to European countries. In many countries, we provide service with baked goods and bread ovens machine. Mainly, we export to European countries.
What are your future investment plans?
In this regard, we are expanding the closed spaces of our factory. We make additional technological investments to our production lines and our processing and CNC controlled center integrated with Industry 4.0.
Turkish bakery sector has been going in a difficult period. How are you affected from this troubled time?
Due to the speculative volatility in the foreign currency in Turkey, prices of flour increased by 30-40 percent. There was a panic because bakers could not increase the bread prices. This affected our sector negatively. As Altuntop Machine, we have taken sides with our sector and bakers. We have not compromised to sell our products in previous terms. We did not decrease or increase the prices. In other words, we did not reflect the increase in our prices. In this process, we worked very hard to produce more and to earn more foreign currency. Our export is already strong in Europe. In this process, we took additional steps to solidify this even further.
In fact, we offer a solution to bakeries that face shortage with skilled labor. Now, our machines perform cutting and rounding that were carried out by human previously. With our technology, cooking has become entertaining. People love their jobs even more with the result they have from our machines.
WE DID NOT LEAVE BAKERY INDUSTRY ALONE
According to a survey by ITO, the majority of bakers still use very old technology. This increases energy and other costs. What would you recommend to these companies?
We do mass production and work with stock. We do not have the luxury to limit production just because the market in Turkey or in other countries shrank and bakeries do not earn money. This is because we aim the world market. We want to be a leader in the world market. We have plans according to this plan. We continue our production by working day and night to be the best in Turkey as well. Our doors are wide open to our bakeries as long as a bakery says: “I want to improve my technology. I have to renovate the machine line in order to compete in this environment. Please help me.” We are ready to offer all kinds of solutions to them in terms of figures and payment terms. This is a process. I believe that bakeries will get over this process and start to earn more monies. I think bakeries that get over this process will renovate their production lines. The important thing is actually to stand by the sector in this process. So, when things are good, everyone wants to sell machines to the domestic market; when it is bad, the sector sees who stands by the bakers. We did not leave the bakeries alone in this period.
What kind of production do you have for the industrial bakery sector?
We have industrial machinery groups. We also serve in industrial baking ovens, tunnel furnaces, and stone-based furnaces. Meanwhile, we have the production of the industrial mobile mixer, kneading, tilt up machines. In other words, we are solution partners for a small-sized bakery in your neighborhood and industrial bread bakeries that we call combined bread bakeries.
“ALTUNTOP: TURKEY’S RISING VALUE”
Do you have any idea such as buying or merging with a company in Turkey or abroad?
We, as Altuntop, do not want anyone to suffer from the crisis. As a company, we don’t have any idea to buy or to merge in Turkey or abroad. We are a company with a growth target based on our equity capital. We name ourselves as the rising value of Turkey and hope that we will accomplish this. We act on the motto of “Altuntop: Turkey’s rising value.” We have targets for this. In 2022, we want to have 80 percent of the market in Turkey. We work very hard to make our customers say that and make them believe it. We move forward by developing our products every day. In the coming period, we want to add new customers to the European countries we export and contribute to the economy of the country in this sense.