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“Domestic companies should be given priority in public investments”

02 June 202111 min reading

“In government investments, the authorities should give priority to domestic companies while using the country's resources consisting of our taxes, and this rule should be in force for every sector. In this way, our state will set an example for private sector investors with its domestic investments. Of course, we also need to explain and introduce ourselves to large-scale investors better.”

Nevin Toprak Regional Director Sarmaşık Makina

Sarmaşık Makina, which was established in a small shop by the deceased Osman Toprak, one of the veteran names of the Turkish bakery technologies industry, and turned into a giant brand that has achieved great success both at home and abroad with its broad vision, continues to be the gateway of the Turkish brand to the world.

Ms. Nevin Toprak, the second-generation manager of Sarmaşık Makina which has succeeded in making a name for itself as a global brand in the field of fully automatic and semi-automatic oven systems, was our guest in this issue. Stating that Sarmaşık Makina provides turnkey solutions and consultancy services for facilities from flour storage to bread packaging with their experience of nearly 50 years, Toprak said that the demand for industrial bakery products is increasing day by day due to the Covid-19. Toprak stated that there has been high interest in the field of industrial bakery recently and that municipalities or the private sector who want to invest in the field of industrial bakery must first determine their needs and demands correctly. “As Sarmaşık Group, we are offering a wide range of solutions in line with the needs and demands,” she said. We talked with Nevin Toprak about the impact of the Covid-19 on the sector, the solutions offered by Sarmaşık Makina to its customers and the trends in the bakery industry.

Ms. Toprak, can you give us information about the work of the Sarmaşık Machine, which has a history of nearly half a century? First of all, I would like to thank BBM Magazine. As the voice of our industry, you are significantly contributing to the development of this sector by sharing the latest and valuable information and news with us.

Our company Sarmaşık Group, which started up in 1974, today introduces the Turkish brand to all over the world. Our company has started the necessary studies to adapt rapidly to the global economy and lifestyle, which is in a rapid transformation with the Covid-19 pandemic. In this process where fast communication, fast service, and fast transformation are mandatory, we also are making appropriate arrangements.

In addition, we are a company that continues to customize its R&D activities in line with the needs of its customers, identifies and analyzes the problems of the customers, produces solutions in line with their needs and demands. We have been a solution partner of our customers rather than just a machine manufacturer with the principle of customer satisfaction.

You are one of the first companies to conduct turnkey projects in the field of industrial bakery in Turkey. Could you tell us about your work in this field? While undertaking turnkey projects for industrial bakery, we also ensure that these projects are suitable for sustainable growth. We are working to make the most powerful and durable oven machines in Turkey with the combination of our intensive R&D studies and our understanding of high quality. We are making our most important investments in knowledge and qualified workforce.

We know that with the Covid-19 pandemic, interest in the products produced by industrial ovens has increased all over the world. According to the researches, it is stated that the sales of packaged products in Europe have increased by almost 50 percent. How did all these affect you? We still haven't left the Covid-19 behind. I guess it will take a few more years for this pandemic and its effects to become a thing of the past. Although the vaccine can shorten this process, we are living in a different world order now. We are sustaining a distant and cautious lifestyle in which people are keeping away from each other. With the pandemic, the increase in demand for packaged products caused bread to be sold in packages, a variety in packaged products, and an increase in demand for small-weight products. Besides, people now prefer a healthy lifestyle more. With Covid-19, interest in healthy food consumption has increased along with the desire to live in healthy environments. Of course, these developments have also been reflected in our industry. Our company, which has about half a century of experience, has been producing solutions for healthy bread production since the first day. In the projects we offer, we not only procure bakery technologies to our customers but also make the production processes necessary to produce healthy products that comply with international norms.

After the pandemic, municipalities' investments in public bread facilities accelerated. While some increase their production capacity, some other municipalities are establishing new facilities. Could you tell us about your work in this field? Demands regarding both semi-automatic and fully automatic Municipal bread production facilities come to our company.

For which of your characteristics shall a municipality to establish a new bread facility choose you? As Sarmaşık Makina, we provide the turnkey solution and consultancy of a facility ranging from flour storage to bread packaging. The main reasons for preference are the references that we have established so far and proved the project success, our after-sales support capacity and, of course, our projects that offer the most up-to-date technology in line with the goals of the facility.

WE ARE EXTENDING PRODUCTION PROCESSES

In the Covid-19 process, the importance of industrial furnaces has increased even more. What kind of work do you conduct in this field? As Sarmaşık Makina, we have been building facilities that produce bread without human touch for many years. We have focused on expanding these projects with sourdough production automation and frozen production processes.

Especially when we look at the municipalities, we can say that the technology used by many in the production of bakery products is outdated. What kind of support do you provide in terms of capacity increase or renewal of technologies? Industrial municipal bread production facilities cannot make significant changes in their existing lines. Unfortunately, the length of the already installed lines also hinders the adaptation of more compact and effective projects. For this reason, we can only support the municipalities in the establishment of new production lines with our project studies and guidance.

WE PUT TURKISH GOODS ON THE MAP

Until today, the products of foreign companies have been preferred for large-scale investments in the domestic market. But you are conducting nice and great works abroad. Where do you think the interest in foreign companies arises from? While the industrial revolution in Europe and America started at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, in Turkey, this process started with the Republic and the rate of growth in the Turkish industry increased rapidly in the 1980s. However, the perception of "The European goods are better" has not changed in our country. This is the case not only at home but also abroad. Buyers have a scale in their minds. We can rank it as German, British, French, Italian, Turkish and Chinese. People have a perception of product and price. Today, we both fight against this perception and try to put Turkish products on the map.

During this period, we have accomplished many successful projects. First of all, we are selling "trust". Our customers trust us before they take the road with us. And we do not leave our customers alone on this path until we see their success.

In my opinion, there lies the understanding of "Foreign brand works without problems" behind the large-scale investments in the country. However, if you do not have qualified personnel to operate the system, if you do not have a good recipe and quality raw material for your production, if you do not have a strong management and control mechanism, you will never be able to achieve the desired successful result regardless of what product you purchase.

In government investments, the authorities should give priority to domestic companies while using the country's resources consisting of our taxes, and this rule should be in force for every sector. In this way, our state will set an example for private sector investors with its domestic investments. Of course, we also need to explain and introduce ourselves to large-scale investors better.

WE OFFER A WIDE RANGE OF SOLUTIONS

As far as we have observed, many people who are not related to the sector have been investing in this field recently. What kind of solutions do you have for those who will invest in the industrial bakery? As bakery is a profession handed from father to son in our country, it is a very positive development that it has become a sector attracting investors. Whether or not related to the sector, everyone who wants to invest in the field of industrial bakery must first have determined their needs and demands correctly. In line with these needs and demands, we, as Sarmaşık Group, offer a wide variety of solutions. We produce fully automatic or semi-automatic industrial systems for products that are baked in tray or mold such as toast bread, hamburger, sandwiches, and cupcakes. We also have fully automatic or semi-automatic solutions for bread baked at the base such as Turkish bread, Brötchen, baguette, ciabatta, and sourdough breads. In addition, we develop and offer special projects for customer needs and demands for the production of frozen products in the industrial bakery.

[caption id="attachment_4594" align="aligncenter" width="660"] The deceased Osman Toprak (left), one of the veterans of the Turkish bakery industry, had given importance to taking part in exhibitions related to the sector.[/caption]

How do you observe the change in boutique and industrial bakery? Which type of bakery is more popular? Bakers in big cities try to turn towards boutique solutions due to both the increase in the various bread culture and the labor problems. Large investments made by both domestic and foreign companies narrow the markets of the small and medium-size bakery shops. These businesses become boutique at the points where they can offer strong and varied bread types. As industrial facilities prefer lines with infrastructure that can produce healthy and long-lasting breads, they are also gradually transforming the boutique bakeries into a point of cooking and selling for them.

Bakery-Cafe investments are on the rise. Can you tell us about your activities in this field? These types of enterprises serve their customers either by cooking frozen products they buy from a large central production center under the same roof, a small production facility, or an industrial manufacturer or by offering them directly. As Sarmaşık Makina, we are offering our solutions ranging from all the needs of a small production facility to turnkey projects of industrial semi or fully automatic lines.

TRADE HABITS HAVE CHANGED

For the last two years, no exhibitions addressing the sector have been organized. How do you inform companies about the changes and developments you have made in the field of bakery technologies? Instead of exhibitions canceled due to the Covid-19, we have been meeting with our customers on digital platforms for the last two years. Just as our lifestyle has changed, so has the way business behaves. As someone who still believes in the impact of conventional exhibitions, we communicate with our customers through digital marketing, telephone, and e-mail marketing methods, in line with the changing customer behavior.

You are the Regional Director of Sarmaşık Makine for the Middle East, Africa and Asia. How is your business for these markets? With which products are you more active in this market? Our responsibilities are actually as much as we assume. At the moment, my responsibilities are far beyond being only a regional director. As a matter of fact, I have always tried to do a job wherever I think it was necessary. This has been the case with me, although sometimes it is quite challenging.

Each of the markets you are talking about is different from the other. While baguettes and similar types are consumed in West Africa under the influence of France, East Africa mostly consumes toast bread baked in a mold under the British influence. In Asia, toast bread is consumed following their traditional bread types capati, nan, pharata. As all these types of bread are consumed in the Middle East, Arabian bread is preferred primarily. In general, there is an increase in the demand for roll, hamburger and sandwich bread in these regions.

We are able to produce turnkey solutions for all kinds of requests for the production of toast bread, roll, hamburger, sandwiches, baguettes, artisan bread types, sourdough bread types, as well as cake, cupcakes, and croissants.

Could you tell us what it feels like to continue the traces left by your late father Osman Toprak in the sector and taking after him? There is a lot to say on this subject. First of all, we lost a very important family elder. In short, he was irreplaceable. He had always set a good example with his hard work, work ethic, and discipline. Most importantly, he had set a good example with the value and love he used to give to both his employees and customers. Now, our duty is to keep his philosophy alive and carry this flag we inherited from him properly. As we follow our father's footsteps, we thank you, BBM magazine, and its dear readers.

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