Eftal OK, Pars Analitik: “Instant measurement systems today may sound like a new technology to some of our customers. However, most of the major firms have already initiated the change and switched to this technology. Anyone doing business in this industry will switch to this system sooner or later.”
Interview by: Cemalettin KANAŞ
IDMA 2019, where flour and feed mill machines are exhibited, provided a chance to us to hold face-to-face meetings with the representatives of companies that most of who we know closely. One of the representatives that we had the chance to meet was Eftal Ok. The general director of Pars Analitik that provides measurement systems for feed industry along with many industrial branches said that his company is Turkey distributor of process and laboratory solutions of Swiss Buchi NIR Online. Saying that big companies have already adapted to the situation, Ok said this is also an 'inevitable' path. He emphasized that thanks to the benefits like cost and quality, measurement systems pay off within a short period of time: "When the customers ask the price of the device, we reply: The price of the device is the amount you can amortize within six or seven months depending on your capacity." The company manager stated that Industry 4.0 and its new versions are used to a great extent in terms of automation and pointed out that production was continuously accelerating. Stating that companies have no luxury to make mistakes during the crisis, Ok said that measurement and analysis systems bring along strategic advantages in this respect.
The interview with Eftal Ok, Director General of Pars Analitik that we evaluated the feed sector, measurement and analysis systems and reflections of the technological developments on the sector and his answers are as follows:
Can you provide information about your company?
We have been in this sector for 3.5-4 years. We started as four partners. We have all worked in the laboratory sector. As Pars Analitik, we started to work with dealers with device and parts sales, application, and service support. Six months after the establishment of the company in 2016, we became the Turkey distributor for the process and laboratory solutions of the Swiss Buchi NIR Online. This was a new subject for us. We were talking about what we can and how we can proceed. Nevertheless, as we began to receive orders from big companies, everything began to settle down.
WE ARE IN THE AGE OF SPEED, MEASUREMENTS HAVE TO BE FAST
We want to take part in the IDMA Exhibition in 2017, but as we have decided the marketing budget at the beginning of the year, we could not take part. That's why we had the correct planning and marketing efforts to participate in IDMA 2019. The fair hosted visitors and companies. For us, it was very successful. I mean that the fair met our expectation.
We provide quick measurement systems to our customers. Our age is the age of speed. We enable our customers to adapt to this age. We always tell this: "This can be the latest technology for you. But, many big companies already adapted to this technology." We know that big companies have passed this technology a long time ago. Even if it does not happen today, they will take this road to reduce production cost inevitable tomorrow.
TURKISH PEOPLE ARE QUICK TO ADAPT TECHNOLOGY
We are on the difficult side as the sector recently began to transit to this technology. Nevertheless, I want to say this. I am personally certain that the future of different perspectives will increase as the installations increase. Now, of course, as always, there are those who oppose and resist new technology, and there are those that facilitate this tech. But I think that they will resist no longer because the Turkish nation has a character to adapt to the new technology very quickly. They can handle this very quickly than many countries do. If Germans and Swiss people kept up with this, I do not think that Turks cannot. In a way, this will move forward very quickly.
WE MADE DEALS WITH GIANTS OF THE SECTOR
Which sector do these measurement devices address?
We appeal to cereal, flour, feed, and oilseeds breaking factories. Internationally, we have a contract with Bunge for oil seed breaking. In Turkey, we reached a deal with Abalıoğlu and established a seed crushing facility. We work with companies such as Şen Piliç and Banvit. In the flour sector, we are more recent than other firms, but because the subject of flour requires a simpler analysis than the others, we have many rivalries there. But, we have fewer competitors in the feed sector. Why? Because there are complex measurements. Our competitors got fewer as there requires sophisticated specialty. The flour is a classic measurement.
You mentioned that you made a deal with Bunge which we know as a world giant company in commodity trade.
Yes. They have two big factories in Turkey. They bought another. It means they have three factories in Turkey. They use our devices. For the facility to be opened, necessary agreements are in place.
OUR PRIORITY IS TURKEY
I understand that you made a great stride into the sector as Turkey distributor. What can you tell us about the distribution of your sales at home and abrold? Which is more important? What kind of change can take place in the near future?
Buchi is a Swiss company. We are their distributor in Turkey. We have a sale right in some regions. We can sell outside of Turkey. Nevertheless, generally speaking, we realize our sales in Turkey. This is because installation, application, and after-sale require a long time. When you think of support teams as well, we are more comfortable in Turkey.
So, you will concentrate on the domestic market for a while...
Yes, as you get more references and people give positive feedbacks, you get to relax at some degree. For example, Bunge already knows the system. They do not even need us. They can carry out the installation with their teams. For many companies, we have to provide support from the beginning to the end. Even after installation, we have to provide support.
YOU CANNOT CONTROL WHAT YOU CANNOT MEASURE
You have positive thoughts about the speed of Turkish society adapting to technology. Are there any difficulties in the market?
Our difficulty is that, in fact, our system was designed to keep pace with industry 4.0. If you cannot measure, you cannot control.
This is like a proverb for people dealing with measurement business...
Exactly. You cannot control what you cannot measure. If you measure, you automize it. Industry 4.0 started with the measurement. So you have to measure the material you have and know its contents. You asked about the difficulties. When you switch to the Industry 4.0 perspective and get into automation, you eliminate the workforce to some extent. You eliminate the human perspective to an extent. Naturally, you face reactions. It means you lower the human power. Of course, the cost minimization has the priority, and generally speaking, employers tend to side with this. They know that Europeans made a great move in reducing the human power to minimize the costs. At this point, can the workforce be directed to other places? Yes. They can be directed to increase quality. This is what Europeans do. They lead the labor force to a different place to improve quality. They continue to work with machines where they can eliminate human error by machine. Generally, Industry 4.0 face with the same reaction as we have. There is a reaction against reducing human power. But my personal observation here is that people are overworked and in a very busy pace. They said that they want to lower this pace. They said this system is advantageous for them. This is the disadvantage of the system. When you eliminate human error, you eliminate the human factor in a way. All controls became automized.
Where are the regions that you are authorized to export?
We can deliver to Turkic countries and neighboring countries. This is related to our competency. Instead of going there from the headquarter, the company gave us this authorization because of the trust we gave them. There are agreements on cross-border works, we get a certain commission when we do this.
Except for the Turkic republics, what is your relationship with neighboring countries or regions?
Since neighboring countries are not very competent about online, we provide support in this regard. One of our biggest advantages compared to neighboring regions is our technical competence and high-skilled workforce and cost.
What do you attribute to the popularity of concepts such as innovation, latest technology, R & D, industry 4.0, which are frequently used by companies that market technological products?
Today, some people began to utter 4.1 along with Industry 4.0. People began to mention new versions. When I look at it as automation, yes, I see that automation is accelerating. I'm already using this concept in terms of automation. But, there is another side: Marketing. It is indispensable. It includes participating in an exhibition. There is a concern that if they do not use certain words, they believe that they cannot do the job adequately. These are fine calculations. What will we put forward and what contribution will it do to sales?
There are calculations about this. At many points, there is thinking that "there’s no such thing as bad publicity." Marketing brings results whether you do it good or bad.
So, do you think that these subjects are given their due adequately?
When you make business with some companies, you realize whether these concepts are given their due adequately after you buy the device. You understand this after they sell the product. This is something we see in this market. After all, this is also a process. For example, in the time of crisis, this process comes to light more and more every day. Those who do their jobs properly and back the concept they market properly can have profits in the long run. I cannot say anything about the short run.
YOU DO NOT HAVE THE LUXURY TO MAKE MISTAKES IN CRISIS PERIOD
Are you affected by economic and political fluctuations in the cereal trade indirectly?
I believe that periods of crisis always provide opportunities. Your errors can be tolerated when you have utilized resources in welfare times. But in times of crisis, you don’t have the luxury to make mistakes. You have to do everything in a more optimized way.
The strategic significance of making the right moves is increasing...
Yes, exactly. The customers complain about the price hike because the devices’ prices are linked to Euro and Dollar and when they asked the prices of the devices, we reply: The price of the device is something you can amortize within around six months depending on your capacity. The device will pay off its cost within 6-7 months based on the capacity. When the capacity is large, your error damaging to you will be higher, and thus the pay-off period is shorter. When you do these calculations, your production will be more efficient and it will always turn back to you. This is what I mean when I say optimization gains importance in times of crisis. Those who turn the crisis into opportunities are those who make these measurements and optimize their devices, production, and process. It is crucial to minimize the risk.