Efe Türker, Karataş Isı Mühendislik: “We currently export directly to 28 countries, indirectly to a total of 41 countries. Our machines are active all over the world except Antarctica and the Arctic. One of our future goals is to be among the top 5 companies in the world. We believe that we will be able to achieve this goal by 2028. Up until now, we have built more than 40 turnkey factories. Today, our products are used by all of the major brands in the sector.”
Karataş Isı Mühendislik has been operating in the bakery sector for 38 years. Stating that they have built more than 40 turnkey factories up until now, İ. Efe TÜRKER, CEO of Karataş Isı Mühendislik underlined that they succeeded in producing many machines that could not be produced in Turkey as a result of successful R&D studies. Türker, who emphasized that 14% of their annual budget is allocated for R&D department’s studies and they have fulfilled the necessary procedures in order to create an R&D center in June 2017, announced that they will officially establish Karataş R&D Center in September.
We have had an interview with Efe Türker about the turnkey projects, new production lines to be presented to the market and future goals of Karataş Isı Mühendislik. Here are the details of the interview with Mr. Türker.
Dear TÜRKER, first of all, could you mention about Karataş Isı Mühendislik? Would you share with us the establishment story of your company and the period after that?
In the first years, our firm which was founded in 1979 mainly provided equipment and technical services required by the bakery sector and obtained franchises and thus, developed sales and marketing networks and throughout this period, it observed, experienced and felt the challenges, needs and demands of the bakery producers and it started in mid-80s to manufacture machinery and supporting products in order to help the bakery producers and bakers work more efficiently.
Acting on a hadith that says “the most auspicious people are those who are the most beneficial to other people”, Karataş Isı Mühendislik has not lost its amateur spirit on this journey despite the quality and timely services and professional works it has provided over the years. Placing the prudent tradesman culture and morality at the center of its business operations and offering the highest quality services and sincerity to its customers, the company achieved in 1990s to be one of the most reliable and trusted companies in our country and the first preference of the bakers.
In 2000s, the bakery sector developed in parallel to the economy of the country places special emphasis on the mechanization to meet the demands of the consumers whose revenues had increased to a certain level and started to import from abroad machines that could not be produced in our country at astronomical prices. In those days, many businesses suffered huge damages due to imported machinery. Karataş Isı Mühendislik which could not remain indifferent to this situation, began to work to protect the sector and to keep the financial power of our country in our country and thus, laid the foundation of the success of the bakery products and bakery sector by manufacturing many machines that could not be domestically manufactured in our country through successful R&D studies. Nowadays, Karataş is the solution partner brand for the entire domestic, European and global companies that wish to work towards the industrial-based production.
You are a well-known company in Turkey in such areas as the dough handling systems and production lines for such bakery products as bread and pizza and turnkey bakery products installations. Do you offer any other special solutions for your customers? What can you say about the solutions you offer? What are the features that distinguish your machines from your competitors’ products?
First of all, as Karataş, our vision is to be a leading company in Turkey and in the world and to give a new dimension to our production techniques with our team work and solidarity culture; to be the best in dough cutting and packaging machinery and offer our customers solution-focused and strong after sales service. Our mission is to establish and continuously improve a production system with high quality production system of universally-accepted standards in an effort to produce machines that can address the demands of our customers with the highest possible quality according to the desired specifications and instructions. We are strictly committed to our vision and our mission.
This ensures a very strong bond between us and our local and oversea customers. To jointly manage the whole process together with our customers and especially the 24/7 availability after delivery are our biggest differences in the sales of the machinery or turnkey solutions. Among the factors distinguishing Karataş are the high level of trust of the customers, the ability to solve even the slightest problem in the shortest time possible, spare parts and technical staff support and software dominance. On the other hand, Karataş’s know-how in pastry and bakery products helps our customers to design new products and make their existing products even more delicious and productive. We never withhold from our customers our know-how on mechanical, software and food products and dough discipline. We are always with them just like their advisors. Our factory is a semi-integrated facility. We import sheet and electronic materials from abroad. We manufacture with the high quality our products such as laser cutter, CNC machines, universal lathe systems and many more machines. In summary, we totally dominate our products.
Could you mention about Akar Makina and Vekar Makina you established after 2014?
Akar Company is in its infancy; this company supports our customers to be able to supply standard spare parts and special design spare parts of all machines in the bakery sector. Vekar is an experienced company; we carry out the domestic and overseas sales and marketing of all the machinery we manufacture and facilities we install. Vekar has earned a well-deserved prestige within 3 years and customer satisfaction rate stands at 98 percent.
Are there any new technologies or machinery you as Karataş Isı released or will release? If so, could you give us information about the new technology or machinery?
I want to give you an example. A car has 4 wheels and 1 steering wheel. It’s designed to take more than one person from one point to another. All the remaining features are being redesigned by brands on a daily basis, and nowadays car has turned into an automobile because of all these innovations. The historical development of car has been incredible.
This is also the case with the bakery products machinery. It is constantly evolving and efforts are being exerted to make it the easiest and most convenient for the users. Karatas has a qualified president and technical team. Thanks to this team work, we are able to offer the most technological, top quality, most ergonomic and budget-compliant systems available. We have the chance to reduce our costs because we can manufacture and sell quality and many products. This also benefits our customers as added value. In the short term, we will present to our customers the latest design technology and high efficiency machines such as tortilla line, lavash line and bread cut-and-weigh machinery.
How do you evaluate the global and Turkish bread and bakery products market? What are the latest trends in the sector?
Thank God, our domestic market is not behind the global market; on the contrary, it is well ahead the global markets in terms of some products. Internet usage, cheap airline ticket prices, increased travel opportunities for employers in the bakery sector, and fairs have made the bakery products sector global. Increase in income level in our country, fast food eating habits and such situations also made it necessary to form a product variety. Apart from usual products, today’s most trendy products are frozen products followed by half-baked frozen products. These two systems will certainly maintain their first and second place in the list within the next 5-6 years.
What are the indispensable systems and machines of bakery plants? Could you tell us about the units that make up the bakery production line and the operations in this unit?
I have just mentioned an example regarding this issue: the example of 1 steering wheel and 4 wheels. The indispensable issues in the bakery products sector are as follows:
• Spiral or fork mixer
• Dough dividers
• Dough rolling machine
• Pans and trolleys
• Proofing unit or area
These are the most basic elements that must be available in the bakery sector. However, according to the production and varieties, there are incredible diversity and machinery lines. There are so many different arguments in the industry.
What do you think the investors who are planning to establish an installation producing bakery products must take into account in their technological investments and what must be considered in determining the equipment requirements?
Investors preparing to set up a new facility must pay attention to the following issues:
• First, a very good market research must be done. They must plan the diversification of the products they plan to manufacture and whether these products will be preferred or not.
• They must create a budget with a short and medium-term plan and have high budget and long-term plans for future periods if promising results emerge.
• At least 3 solution partners must be contacted and all details such as the know-how information and references of the solution partners must be examined professionally and with whom to make business must be determined,
• Cheap equipment must be definitely avoided. Short and medium-term investment and facility establishment is the basis of long-term investment. By combining pieces one by one, intelligent investor will have a perfect facility in the end.
• They must make sure that their solution partner will be there 24/7. The investor and solution partner must fully comply with the trust - loyalty - transparency triple principle.
• It is healthier to move from product to machine, not from machine to product.
Which countries do you export your machines and production lines? So what are your future goals? How many turnkey facilities have you built since your establishment?
We currently export directly to 28 countries, indirectly to a total of 41 countries. Our machines are active all over the world except Antarctica and the Arctic. One of our future goals is to be among the top 5 companies in the world. We believe that we will be able to achieve this goal by 2028. Up until now, we have built more than 40 turnkey factories. Today, our products are used by all of the major brands in the sector.
What can you say about your R&D activities? What issues does your company focus on R&D studies?
R&D is a system in which all management and our colleagues have a firm belief. We have a R&D department with 12 engineers and technical staff in 2500 m² area. We allocate 14% of our annual budget to the studies of our R&D department. Here, we apply new technologies and implement new designs both on mechanical and software and if necessary on production lines and systems. In addition, we closely follow the developments abroad and make them suitable and useful for the sector and provide added value to our country. We have fulfilled the necessary procedures in order to create an R&D center in June 2017, announced that they will establish our officially-registered Karataş R&D Center in September.
Would you give us information about your after-sales services? What can you say about the importance of after-sales services?
Today, it is not enough for companies to plan and develop the products according to the demands and needs of the consumers, to make pricing, sales promotion and make them available with effective distribution channels. Because today’s customers are consciously collecting information when they decide to buy, they make choices with this information and prefer the appropriate ones. For this reason, marketing is not just about pre-production and the related process and pre-sales. The after-sales of the marketing efforts must continue in order to ensure continuity of sales. Therefore, in order for companies to achieve their goals and survive, they need to adapt to this change.
Products that resemble each other with the developing technology and globalization make after-sales service a necessity. It is the difference that they create through the after-sales service that they offer to consumers that enables them to reach their goals and survive in these market conditions. The most important competitive advantage provided by the companies that make a difference is customer loyalty.
After-sales services are efforts to identify and resolve any problems that may arise during product use. After-sales services include activities such as installation, repair, maintenance, repair, improvement, guarantee, demonstration of use, provision of spare parts and dealing with consumer’s training and complaints to ensure the continuity of sales after the completion of sales. It is necessary to choose an appropriate strategy to implement the after-sales service plan. At the core of this strategy is quality and timely service, friendly and tolerant approach, solution-oriented communication and access to spare parts.
Nowadays, most of the companies in the industry are giving unlimited guarantees and promises to the customers in the after-sales services in order to sell their products. When the problem occurs, they cannot keep their words and they cannot stand by their products. These companies both harm the sector and are destined to disappear. Because the customer always remembers the troubles they experience and talk about them. Karataş Isı Mühendislik maintains its leadership in the sector with its corporate structure, professional approach and disciplined after-sales service and it will continue its services with new technologies by strengthening its structure with a willing approach to every innovation.