“The export is very important for us. The money in foreign countries means a lot for us and the country. Our motto is “Memak, strong outside, strong inside.” We determined 2019 as the export year. For this aim, we set up our dealers in Russia. We also set up dealers in India and Israel. We have a dealer in Europe. We will support our dealers and work export-oriented. We will participate in fairs. We will try to bring foreign monies to Turkey. Our machines get attention in Turkey and abroad. Their functions and appearance are beautiful. We want foreign money and will work hard for this. We will increase the employment. We will shoulder responsibility for our country.”
Mehmet Nuri ER
Memak’s Board Member and Chairman of Oven Group
Interview: Mustafa YAĞMURLU
Operating in chocolate, oven, and packaging machines production sector and installing turnkey facilities for its customers, Memak Machine will focus on foreign markets. One of the biggest companies in the industrial city of Konya, Memak draws attention with innovation it brought particularly bakery sector recently. Memak became prominent in the sector with its patented products like Cooled Mixer, Mobile Cooled Mixer, and Smart Kestart developed after long R&D works and draw attention particularly in the bakery sector. “We manufacture professional chocolate and oven machines that the world prefers because of their quality, productivity, elegant, and ergonomic designs,” said Mehmet Nuri Er, Memak’s Board Member and Chairman of Oven Group.
Speaking to BBM Magazine, he said each machine that was manufactured by Memak was prepared with a professional team and the latest technology, adding that the company’s products are compatible with the Industry 4.0, and customers can control the manufacturing period with remote access. Saying that the money in foreign countries is very important for Turkey, Mehmet Nuri Er noted that the company declared 2019 as the export year. He said machines can warn users with a visual and audible warning system in the face of unexpected circumstances, adding that each storey of ovens that they developed have customized heat and steam system so that ovens can bake different tastes in the same time while saving energy and cost.
Mehmet Nuri Er, Memak’s Board Member and Chairman of Oven Group, talked to BBM Magazine.
Mr. Nuri Er, first of all, could you please tell us about Memak? When was it founded? What do you do now? We want to hear your views abaut production.
We have been in this sector for over 20 years; that is, since 1997. The company’s main activity is the production of chocolate machines. In the last six years, we manufacture bakery equipment. We manufacture machine in the area of oven and dough kneading. Mostly, we work for export. We have an export of 85-90% of our production in chocolate machines. In oven machines, we work mostly for the domestic market. The export rate is lower than the chocolate’s machines. Nevertheless, we managed to be at a good and beautiful spot in the six years. We continue to carry out new projects and works.
What are your aims and projects in 2019? What kind of work will you do especially for exports?
We participate in foreign fairs. The export is very important for us. The money in foreign countries means a lot for us and the country. Our motto is “Memak, strong outside, strong inside.” We determined 2019 as the export year. For this aim, we set up our dealers in Russia. We also set up dealers in India and Israel. We have a dealer in Europe. We will support our dealers and work export-oriented. We will participate in fairs. We will try to bring foreign monies to Turkey. Our machines get attention in Turkey and abroad. Their functions and appearance are beautiful. That’s why our products get attention from European companies. This supports our self-confidence. We want foreign money and will work hard for this. We will increase the employment. We will shoulder responsibility for our country.
Is there any R&D work for the sector? What do you do in this area?
We have R&D department. Ten experts work only for the oven sector. These experts visit fairs and focus on new products. We manufacture new machines in line with the sector’s needs. One of the last machines that we developed is called Neptun, which is a self-cooled mixer. This is a patented product, and there is no similar product in Turkey. We developed this machine in line with needs. Bakeries pour ices on mixer which means extra work, energy, and cost. After talking with our experts in our R&D department, we declared that we can develop such a machine. We have been selling this machine for a year. The bakery sector expressed satisfaction for this latest machine since it provided a great convenience for the sector.
The R&D department has been working on new projects. We have been continuing to develop a 10-tray smart convection oven. You can bake any product at this oven: Baked goods, meat, chicken, and vegetables. We plan to present this product developed by the R&D department in the second quarter of 2019. The design period is finished. We will test this machine for six months. We have a demo space inside our factory. Once we test and completed the shortcomings, we will launch and present this product to the sector.
You have talked about self-cooled mixer and smart convection oven manufacturing for the bakery sector. Other than these works, what are your other works for the sector?
Unused capacity and the lack of qualified personnel are prominent problems in the bakery sector. The sector cannot use its capacity in full sense. This is reflected in costs. Our aim is to reduce the number of personnel, which is one of the biggest input items in the sector, to bring the sector to some level. We continue our works in this regard. We manufacture with Industry 4.0 technology. In other words, this is a production model that machines can talk among themselves. We are working on this issue. Now, all machines that we manufacture have remote access. Also, the bakery sector can see how many hours they work with what capacity. Until now, Industry 4.0 technology was used in the flour sector but we want to apply this to the bakery sector. Of course, the sector must be ready for such development and ready with its infrastructure. For this, we have been in touch with the sector representative continuously.
How does the rivalry in the bakery sector affect you?
Competition problem in the bakery sector is a big problem. These problems are reflected in us inevitably. Companies cannot make money when there is great competition in the sector and cannot use their capacity fully. That’s why they cannot make an investment in human resources. When there is no qualified personnel, we find it difficult to find people who will use the machines with the latest technology. We showcased our cooled mixer in any city that we went inside Turkey. We dispatched one of our dough masters, a machine technician, and another person for installation all the time. In any city we went to, we spent two and three days we told how the machine work to the representative of the company and their workers and taught them. When our customers said, “Now, we can use this machine. There is no problem,” we left the city. Now, along with the showcase, we took people to our customers who previously bought and had experience with this machine.
Could you give us information about your work on the convection smart oven?
The fixed convection smart oven with five trays and ten trays decide its heating steps. Thanks to its weight sensor, it senses the weight and sensitivity of the material you put inside and decides its steps. Our research and development team continues its work on this oven. Let’s say that you placed one hundred pieces of bread inside. If the oven’s capacity is three hundred pieces of bread, it recognizes the amount of bread you placed inside and consume energy and heat accordingly. In other words, it does not waste electricity. Each product has an energy saving module. The most important thing for us is to nationalize and localize a product. The electronic panel we use inside this oven was brought from Japan. We are working on this. We designed the software. And we are testing. We directed our efforts to high valued products. We try to nationalize foreign products. We have a big team on this and working seriously. We trust ourselves and our country.
You launched a showroom in Istanbul. What will this showroom bring to you?
We believe that we will come to very good places in the bakery. Already in the chocolate industry in Turkey, we can now install turnkey plants from scratch. We are one of the few brands in this field. We aim to improve our brand value in the bakery sector. We opened a showroom in Istanbul. Istanbul is very important for every sector; it is the center of trade, and a large part of our sector is there. The third airport will also mobilize a very important potential for the country. That’s why we opened our showroom in there. Since time is very important for the business world, we welcome our customers from abroad to our showroom in Istanbul rather than taking them to Konya. We can do anything for this country.
Mr. Nuri Er, you mentioned that your company is one of the leading companies in Turkey installing turnkey projects in chocolate sector. How does this know-how and technology affect your bakery business?
As a company, we are very good at machines. We have a significant team. Because of the chocolate sector, we have accumulated important know-how and technology experience. We were aware of the competition in the bakery sector when we enter into this sector. But, we had no difficulty because we had a serious infrastructure.
Did you invest into the bakery sector because you realized something missing?
Yes, of course. The general picture of the sector was like that: There were three-four companies dominating the sector. And the sector has needs. I believe if there is competition, right things happen. The country grows, and companies and firms grow. If only there is competition, people can produce better. Then, choices would be different. People are not condemned to choose the only option. We entered into this sector to destroy this understanding. Thank God, we have become one of the leading companies in this sector. We created a competitive environment. We determined the sector’s needs and manufactured machines through innovation. We drew serious attention from the bakery sector during IBATECH 2018 in Istanbul.
We perceive our relations with customers a kind of marriage. We believe the relationship should be on long-term and based on love, respect, and trust. We do not focus on money. We believe that we can earn money anyway. For us, service, quality, and customer satisfaction come first. Our motto is “We do not want to see an unhappy customer in the world and Turkey.” When customers buy our machine, we want them to say, “Yes, this machine is very good. Thank you.” That’s why we are striving.
How did the bakery sector welcome you? Could you find what you were looking for?
When we see the sector’s interest into us, we say, “Good for us that we penetrated into this sector.” With us, an environment of nice competition has been formed. Customers are happy to see us in the sector. Our customers said that “Thank God you are here so that we can buy these machines with this price.” We have a foot in eighty-one cities of Turkey. We are very strong in Akdeniz and Ege region. We are very strong in Konya. I believe that we will win with a new showroom in Istanbul. I believe we can dominate Istanbul. That’s why we formed a significant team. In this turbulent time, we made great investments and continue to do so.
Where do you get your raw materials?
The investment in Istanbul meant a lot for us. We were not afraid because we believe in our country. First of all, we have young and productive population. We are also young. The age average of the board is 32. That means we are energetic. We want to do something for this country. We are a family business. We employ more than 300 people. With Istanbul showroom, we now employ more than 350 people. Twenty-five percent of our workforce is white collar. We procure raw material from Turkey and abroad. There is no production in stainless. We buy control panels from a Japanese company. We have a team of ten people working on card and software. We believe Turkey should invest more in IT. As a company, we want to increase our activity in the software side. For example, we have been working on the remote access and on the mobile phone compatibility so that they can be turned on with mobile phone from the remote. Also, it takes around two hours for brick ovens to work efficiently. In other words, a bakery has to find two hours to bake products. With remote access, a bakery can turn on the machine and set the heat. When that bakery arrived into the shop, s/he can start immediately. We did this. If you have no presence in software and IT, you cannot accomplish this innovation. This country needs to produce products with high value. We value our people and young people.
WE WILL AWARD SCHOLARSHIP
TO UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Foreign companies use university-industry partnership effectively. Do you have such partnerships?
We have a plan for university students. I disclose this information with your magazine for the first time. We will provide scholarships to university students studying machinery, industry, and electrical and electronics engineering. We will provide employment. We will provide the same opportunity to foreign students. We want these students to work part-time within our company so that we can benefit from their energy and knowledge of the countries they come from. Once these students have been with us for 3-4 years, they may be our distributors in their countries or they can work with us because the industry’s biggest deficiency is qualified and trained staff.
To have qualified personnel, they have to study at technical schools. As a sector, we try to accomplish something but there needs to be a state policy because the sector needs qualified people. What we can do is limited. When we sold equipment, we have two hours to tell the features of this machine and how it works. But we have to spend two days. There is a huge difference between two hours and two days to explain a product. It means a waste of time and energy for us. We need to open bakery and pastry schools. This has to be a state policy.
Do you want to add anything?
We have invested in this field six years ago to serve the bakery sector. We are working to raise the brand value of our own company. We receive incredible support and appreciation from the industry. We think we add a new color and new excitement to the sector. This is what the bakery sector tells. We identify the sector’s problem and try to find solutions to these problems. If we try to deal with the software issue, this is possible because of educated people. One of the reasons why we became prominent is that we have educated engineers and experts. Our aim is not to repeat what has been done in the sector but we try to accomplish what has not been done and we try to do this differently. If something is already accomplished, we try to add something to the sector by doing it differently. Our aim is to compete against foreign companies and bring foreign monies to Turkey. In order to do this, R&D, qualified people, and productivity are very important.