Fatih Kopuz, Fersah Makina: "We export our products, especially to Arab countries. I can say that we export 70 percent of our production. There is a growing market in Turkey. It offers us the opportunity to promote our products to customers coming from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In addition, there are special fairs and dealership fairs organized only for specific customers from the Middle East and Africa, and we exhibit in them. We really reap the benefit of that."
The increasing use of technology in the production of bakery products brings the R&D investments of the companies producing machinery for this sector to the foreground. The moves of Turkish companies in this field increase their market shares both in the domestic and foreign markets. Today, the machines produced by Turkish companies serve the bakery sector in the Middle East and Africa and many European countries. One of these companies is Fersah Makina. Manufacturing machinery and establishing turnkey facilities for the production of bread, lavash, lahmacun, bagels, buns, tortillas, pastries, cookies and labne, Fersah Makina attracts attention especially with its exports to the Middle East and African countries. Answering the questions of BMM Magazine, Fersah Makina founder Fatih Kopuz said that they export 70 percent of their production to the Middle East and European countries.
Hello Mr. Fatih, can you introduce yourself and Fersah Makina? Could you tell us about the activities of your company?
Fersah Makina was established in 2017 after a long R&D phase. I have worked as a manager and also in the production phase for a long time at Kopuz Makina, which is our family company. More precisely, after becoming experienced there, I decided to start up my own company. I had certain projects. We established Fersah Makina. Thank Allah, our business is going well.
You left your family company and started up Fersah Makina. Can you tell us the story of the name Fersah? Does this name have advantages?
Fersah is a unit of distance corresponding to 5 kilometers. Besides, it is also a word from Persian but also used by Arabs. In Arabic, it is also used as "fırsah", meaning opportunity. Fersah is not a borrowed word for them. When I started this company, my first aim was to address to the Arabs. This is because there is a great consumption yet no production in the Arab world. Italians, Americans, Germans sell a lot of machinery to this geography. In order to take a share from this market, we established Fersah Makina. We chose our name as Fersah in a way a little appealing to them. Of course, Fersah is a word adopted by the Turks as it has been used also in Ottoman Turkish. That's why it addresses both domestic and foreign markets. As a result of preferring this name, we got the result we wanted. 50 percent of our customer portfolio consists of Arabs. In other words, this name has contributed to our growth in the target market since our establishment. We succeeded in this geography as both the name and the products were compatible with that market.
Do you export your products? Which are the preferred markets for you?
We export our products, especially to Arab countries. I can say that we export 70 percent of our production. There is a growing market in Turkey. It offers us the opportunity to promote our products to customers coming from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In addition, there are special fairs and dealership fairs organized only for specific customers from the Middle East and Africa, and we exhibit in them. We really reap the benefit of that.
What difference is there between your competitors and you when we compare in terms of price and quality?
Our products are of top quality when compared to our competitors. As such, our price is a bit higher than our competitors’. Sometimes this causes trouble for us. But of course, we do not compromise. Quality is costly for us, but the quality is permanent. When I started my company, my goal was this; both in terms of being a forward-looking brand and in terms of the customer, when the customer buys a product, they should not experience even small failures for 5 years. We have not yet fully achieved the goal. But we are doing quite well in this regard. The product should not be on the blink for 5 years. There are very few companies in this. So you may experience loosening in your straps, chain, and so on. Our goal is avoiding failure for a period of 5 years for every product, even the small ones. I hope we will reach this goal.
Could you give us some information about your products? Which is your latest product, for example?
Since our work area is on the dough, we are producing for lahmacun, lavash, simit and sometimes pastry, cookies, and similar products especially in the domestic market. We have machines for labne and strained yogurt, which are consumed in foreign markets, particularly in the Middle East. They have different products called hummus and tortilla. We make machines for them. Our main target is not the domestic market, but of course, we do not pass off the domestic market. The main target is the foreign market. When getting started, our first target was the Arabs. Because, as I said, there is a great population. There is great consumption, but production is almost zero. When I am going to bargain today to sell machines to the European customer, the customer says, "It is cheaper in Italy, I can go and buy it from Italy." Italian companies are outsourcing their production to China to compete with us and in world markets. When the quality reaches a sufficient level, they sell cheaply to European countries. Swiss, British, and Canadian say "OK, I will buy from here instead of bearing costs such as shipping and customs when buying from Turkey." In order to deal with such problems, we focus on the Middle East and African markets, which have no alternative. European products although made in China are much more expensive compared to our products. Our costs are better both due to our close geographical location and in terms of price/performance ratio. Our quality and technology are also very good, unlike China and India. We are a bit better than Italians in some sectors, so we are being preferred.
Do you have new products to be launched?
Yes, we will present one or two models that do not exist in Turkey or in the world to our customers in IBAKTECH Fair which will be held in Istanbul in Turkey in March and not in the world. I hope that the products we have developed as a result of our everlasting R&D process will be highly appreciated by the market. We have developed a small, cost-effective, benchtop product to cut soft dough that companies need. We developed this product in line with the demands of the customers. We strive to make our products ready for the fair.
WE PRODUCE FOR THE GIANTS OF THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY
Do you have special production for persons or companies? Do you make production in accordance with the firm's availability of place?
Yes, but not for every customer. For example, we sometimes take orders also from the defense industry. Well, I do not know how accurate it is to give names, but Roketsan Roket Sanayii ve Ticaret A.Ş. (Roketsan), Türk Havacılık ve Uzay Sanayii A.Ş. (TUSAŞ) request specific works from us. We carry out special projects for them. In other words, we work with giant companies of the defense industry. This opens up our horizon. Specific orders are also coming from abroad. For example, a new model related to the production of strained yogurt was requested from Switzerland. Actually, I have a machine making mild cream cheese (Labne). But the customer says he wants a machine he saw elsewhere. The reasons he asked from us are the price and that we are capable of doing it completely for his size. We analyze such requests, if it makes sense, if it will be a continuous project for us, we produce that upon request.
You are trying to sell the right machine to the right customer. What advantage does this provide to you?
Because we can predict how the customer will behave as a result of our experience, we do not sell to those for who we say, “80 percent, this man will not be able to use this machine”. I do not trade only for the sake of selling machinery so that some cash is transferred to my account. Every customer I sell machinery serves as a reference for me. The machine used by my customer is a showroom for me. We inform before selling a machine and making a deal. You have to do the following for this product; you have to run it in this way. We inform them whether their manufacturing and benches are suitable for this machine and so on. So I have received a lot of thanks from our customers. I have hundreds of customers who say they have not been informed like this before. I saw a lot of benefits of this style.
ARABS SHOW GREAT INTEREST
Can you tell us about your dealership and service?
We provide service in Istanbul. We work with the dealership method at home and abroad. We cope with foreign companies in terms of products and quality. However, there is a weakness revealed against foreign brands in the sector although in a decreasing trend. We have been afflicted with that. Maybe they are a bit of better quality but I can say that we are selling the same product 4 times cheaper. We also provide technical service support to many machines purchased from foreign companies. You see the guys brought the machine from abroad but because the distributor has closed, they cannot get service. We provide service so that they do not suffer. For the Turkish economy to develop, first of all, domestic machinery needs to be trusted. We find our President's demands very right about domestic machinery use. We will take action with national feelings, rely on our machinery industry and grow it so that it can compete with the world. Recently, people have become more conscious. There is a demand for domestic machinery from Turkey and the Arab countries in particular. We have some Arab and African customers who say I come here just because I want to buy from Turkey. We have customers who say they came to support the Turkish economy.