“Just like in Europe, our industry customers in Turkey tend to get smaller. [Customers] save money and space by using frozen products in smaller areas instead of having large areas. Depending on the size of a city, there will be small and middle-sized bakeries apart from a couple of big industrial enterprises. The product range will go up. Through this technology, we steer ourselves as well. One of our target markets is the American market. Therefore, by establishing our company named FIMAK USA, we aimed to open the US market from Konya, as the historical capital of Anatolia, and to be in the US market as a Turkish brand. Another target is the African market.”
General Manager of FIMAK Oven Machines Inc.
FIMAK was established by late Vedat Özpınar, a senior mechanical engineer, in 1974 in Konya with an apprentice and a worker. The company was active in producing dough machines. Now, the company is one of the leading companies in the trade of bakery and baked goods’ sector in Turkey. FIMAK manufacture oven machines by using today’s latest technologies in its factory that is built on the open area of 49,500 square meters. Already providing service in all sectors related to baked goods, FIMAK began to manufacture meat cooking machines recently. Manufacturing modern machines for enterprises by closely following technological developments, FIMAK contributed many innovations to the sector. The company, a pioneer in transition to modern ovens from stone ovens, has been active in handling, kneading, and cooking groups of the bakery sector and also launched bakery, pastry and baked goods’ school to close the gap of the sector. The company began its journey in the sector with dough shaping machines and continues its journey with electric and gas revolving ovens, layered stone-based pipe ovens, bakery ovens, dough kneaders and auxiliary equipment.
The BBM magazine sat down with Mr. Ramazan Güven, the General Manager of FIMAK Oven Machines Inc. which contributed to the taste of bread with its innovation for half of a century, to talk about with the company’s investment and the future of the sector. FIMAK, which has a success story beginning from Konya, Turkey’s wheat silo and the ancient capital city of Anatolia, to the world, carries out turn-key projects in Turkey and the world. Realizing turn-key projects more than 600 supermarkets across the country, FIMAK provides service to the market of fresh products. Saying that the company began to focus on frozen products recently, he noted that [producers] would save money and space through using frozen products instead of having large areas; in turn, small and mid-size bakeries would emerge.
Here is the interview of BBM Magazine with Ramazan Güven.
FIMAK is one of the doyen companies in the sector. Can you provide information to our readers about your journey, which started in 1974?
FIMAK was established by Vedat Özpınar, a senior mechanical engineer, in 1974 in Konya with an apprentice and a worker. Recently, the company is one of leading companies that steer its sector in all subjects. Now, we have a facility with the closed area of 26 thousand 500 square meters, situated on the open area of 49 thousand 500 square meters. With big investments in the last five years, we brought new technologies to Turkey. The company was active in bakery sector. But now, we can manufacture about hundred different machines.
What qualities do you have that distinguish your ovens and your company from your competitors?
We are a well-established family company. We spent 42 years in this sector. We perceive our workers and customers as a member of big FIMAK family. The foundation of this family is to love human-beings, to value them and to make them happy. Therefore, happiness and peace are prominent matters for our company. Besides, we are one of the best companies in providing after-sales service in line with technology. We made a serious investment in fairs we participated in. We are the first company in the oven sector that has a project department since 2003. We have 3D project designing. We care about innovation as a company, and we make additions to our products every year. Rokon, which produces frozen products, are among the popular ovens.
What is the secret behind your success?
We work hard without sacrificing quality; we love our work very much; we constantly renew ourselves and we care about customer’s satisfaction; also, we follow the sector closely.
What kind of ovens will be popular in the future?
We work on ergonomic machines that move according to demand. There was a consumption madness and waste in the sector. Slowly, both producers and customers began to think to produce as much as they consume. This means to produce at smaller area with less expense. At this point, semi-frozen technology will emerge. Now, in Turkey, the market of this semi-frozen product is lower than one percent. Big companies may carry out this, but through this technology, we steer ourselves as well. We work on ergonomic machines with industrial automation control, quick cooking and movable according to demand. We solve producers’ problem at industrial cooking. We manufacture machines that can cook stocked-product in the best way.
OUR R&D CENTER BROKE GROUNDS
Can you talk about your research and development studies as a company?
The company has become 13th in Konya and 565th research and development center with the Ministry of Industrial certification in July 2017. With this investment, the company has broken grounds in the sector. We are aware of the fact that R&D is a team work and we formed a young and dynamic team for these works. Generally speaking, our research and development work is to improve cooking and cooking quality in a shorter time at smaller ovens. At the second stage, we put effort in our company to realize the development process of electronic cards acting as control unit of our ovens. On this, we started our software development process. Lastly, our team follows technological developments to increase energy efficiency; it gained important observation and experience. Once the necessary conditions are met, our R&G center on energy efficiency will be at the level of achieving firsts in the sector.
Can we learn about your ideas for the future of the sector?
Just as in Europe, firms in our country tend to get smaller in size. [Customers] save money and space through using frozen products at smaller areas instead of having large areas. Depending on the size of city, there will be small and middle-sized bakeries apart from couple of big industrial enterprises. The product range will go up.
Are you happy with R&D works carried out in the sector?
The research and development works began to increase recently in our sector, but these works are not at desired level. Apart from couple of firms, there were very few companies that have research and development department in real sense. Generally speaking, companies took an easy approach that means copying the current products or they carry out the product development in a limited way.
What can you say about energy efficiency and saving of technology used by the sector?
Unfortunately, the competitive environment in the bakery sector has a negative effect on technological investment and machinery park renewal. Bakeries or baked-goods manager cannot afford to make new investments in a competitive environment. This is because it became very difficult to make money. In terms of the equipment used, the sector has made itself more advanced in terms of mechanization than in previous years. However, the use of mechanization and technology has not yet become a habit. Still, there are companies using traditional ways to produce. In terms of energy efficiency, our customers have also become conscious of choosing the most efficient product for cooking in consideration of their product range.
What kind of changes does FIMAK do in term of energy efficiency? What product did FIMAK develop to prevent energy loss?
Our research and development center continues its work on energy efficiency for both electric and natural gas ovens. We closely monitor developments in resistance we use and insulation techniques and new technologies. We constantly check and improve the cooking efficiency and energy saving in our ovens by continuously controlling the heat efficiency, heat balance, heat flows in cookers.
What kind of suggestions do you have for the firm that uses your products on energy efficiency?
Our customers’ compliance with the instructions for use of our products already brings energy efficiency to many points. Also, it is better for the user to minimize the air circulation as far as possible while placing the product in the oven before cooking the product.
How many countries do you export? How much of your production goes outside of Turkey? What is your position in the global arena?
FIMAK provides service about seventy countries on baked goods and bakery sector. Generally, our machines and service system work without problem in five continents and many countries. The export’s share is below domestic sale, but we want to increase our export and contribute to Turkey. We promote our reputation and reliability by introducing our brand on the world market at foreign fairs. We are in a position to compete with world brands in terms of quality.
OUR TARGET MARKET IS USA AND AFRICA
As FIMAK, what is your target market?
One of our target markets is the United States’ market. For this aim, we established FIMAK USA in 2015. We wanted to expand into USA’s market from Konya, an ancient capital city of Anatolia, and we wanted to be in the United States as a Turkish brand. Another target is Africa. In Ethiopia, we have established Africa’s largest bread production facility. Our activities continue in many African countries like Ethiopia.
What is your growth and investment target for 2018? What can you say about the first five months?
2018 started very well for us. IBATECH 2018 Istanbul in last April was very successful. With positive energy which the fair provided, we continue to serve our sector in the best way in 2018. In the first five months, thanks to the confidence our customers have for us, our work continue intensively. As investment, we think of production system and mechanization. This will benefit our customers with the quality product and service understanding.
You have about half century of experience in the sector. What are the benefits to you?
As a natural consequence of this experience, our customers have confidence for us. This confidence motivates us. Customers show very clearly the idea that “If FIMAK does, it does the best.” To me, this is the best revenue.
What are your latest contributions to the sector as a company?
Our company has recently contributed a gastro-oven sector, which has been operating for about 2 years. This oven combines traditional cooking methods with technological innovations, revealing a very different cooking quality. This oven, which we name as Retros to reflect the traditional cooking experience, will have a very good place in the sector. Also, it is patented product and TUBITAK-backed oven.
There are many successful companies like yours. However, bakeries use old-fashioned machine and production lines. What are your thoughts about this?
As I mentioned in the previous question, the competitive environment in the sector negatively affects bakery and baked products sector. If this problem were solved, the investment will increase, and machine lines and equipment will be renewed.