Mehmet Özgür EROĞLU, Atlas Değirmen: “Turnkey projects have great importance for us. Regardless of how good we are at the machine or spare parts, we need to improve ourselves and produce new ideas. So, installing and delivering complete facilities widen our horizon and provide us wise ideas in R&D studies.”
Interview by: Cemalettin KANAŞ
The importance of Konya, which is regarded as the grain warehouse of Turkey, in the flour and feed sector is beyond discussion. In this context, Atlas Değirmen has been one of the feed technologies companies in Konya. Mehmet Özgür Eroğlu, Sales and Marketing Manager of Atlas Değirmen which was founded in 2004 by an experienced team talked about the company and today and tomorrow of the feed sector in the world and Turkey. He said that although the flour and feed sectors are interrelated, they require different specialties. He added that the presence of Feed Planet magazine which he defines as sector’s magazine makes them happy in this regard. Indicating that turnkey projects hold more importance compared to machine or part sale, he said: "Regardless of how good we are at the machine or spare parts, we need to improve ourselves and produce new ideas. So, installing and delivering complete facilities widen our horizon and provide us wise ideas in R&D studies." Eroğlu stated that there needs long term planning with export and the focus should be on quality and competition rather than price. Talking about the importance of identifying and opening up untouched areas for the economy of the country, he said that exports to North Africa, the Middle East, and West Asia have been going on.
Although Atlas Değirmen has been recently established as a feed technology company in Konya, you have a very experienced team which was trained from the cradle. Can you give us and our readers general information about your company?
Our company started its modest work in 2004 at a workshop of 100 m² by three entrepreneurs who were trained in machine manufacturing. Since its establishment, Atlas Değirmen has the principle to develop and renew itself continuously and gathered important experience in feed machine manufacturing. Members of the team develop their skills within Atlas Değirmen based on their experience, and we march with confident steps in our road.
When I review your website, I realized that the installation of turnkey projects is at the top. Can you tell us about the advantages of doing turnkey projects compared to the sale of machinery or spare parts for you and your customers?
Turnkey projects have great importance for us. Regardless of how good we are at the machine or spare parts, we need to improve ourselves and produce new ideas. So, installing and delivering complete facilities open our horizon and provide us wise ideas in our R&D studies. We take our customer's imagination into our service in the work of change in the process requested by our customers, and this imagination helps us renew or develop our machines.
Imagination is very important in machine construction. It is not easy to produce new projects unless there are needed. If mankind didn't need it and someone hadn't imagined it, neither Wright Brothers would try to fly, nor Tim Berners Lee would try to develop the Internet.
NEWCOMERS MAKE US ONLY HAPPY
Konya is home to many milling companies due to its status as being "the grain warehouse” of Turkey. In this context, what can you say about flour milling companies entering into feed sector in Konya and other provinces?
Although flour mill machines and feed mill machines show similarity, the two sectors are actually very different. However, these two sectors are often referred to side by side. The reason behind this is that investors can run both sectors in a connected way. Some of our companies who are experienced in the manufacture of machinery enter the feed machinery and accomplish this with success is a factor that drives us to the right competition and quality production. The fact that a Turkish brand operates a factory in any foreign country both honors us and promotes us indirectly. This fact erases some question marks in people's mind. This fact reveals the fact that our brands, which are disdained because of not being in the European Union despite being in line with EU standards, can accomplish a lot. In other words, we do not feel any concern investors entering into the feed sector. On the contrary, we respect them because they direct us to renew ourselves due to our kind competition.
FEED SECTOR IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM FLOUR
What kind of infrastructure and vision does the feed sector require compared to the flour sector?
First, let me repeat that these two sectors are very different. In both sectors, it is possible to manufacture machinery for the needs; in addition to our standard machines, and equipment suitable for non-standard processes can be produced. In this context, we need to do some more solution-oriented work than other machine manufacturers. Since I do not have enough information about the flour sector, it would not be the proper course of action for me to analyze the flour sector. In the feed sector, machine based on capacity should be manufactured, and the right process should be applied. In the local sense, feed needs can be varied. The rations implemented by North African countries are not similar to those of East Asian countries. This is directly related to agriculture and husbandry practices applied in this region. In this sense, feed machinery manufacturers should provide the right solutions for each region. This situation does not change very much in other sectors. Our duty is to think about the customers of our customers.
WE SHOULD ALSO GO FOR NEW MARKETS
In your website, you mention that your export rate has been increasing. Which region do you export the most?
Export is one of the most important things to do for the future of our country. In the economic sense, we are living in a country dependent on energy in particular, and we have to somehow minimize our economic losses arising from this dependency. For this reason, it is the primary duty of machine manufacturers to export. As you know, we do not have natural resources. When we think of all this, we feel that we have to accelerate our exports. Our mission is to find untouched areas. But we are still heading for the open markets. As everybody knows, North Africa, the Middle East, and West Asia are important markets for our sector. The underlying reason is that many Turkish companies established many factories in these regions and we have good publicity. I think this somehow justifies my response to your previous question.
WE SHOULD FOCUS ON THE MARKET SHARE IN EXPORT INSTEAD OF TURNOVER
Can you evaluate the export in coming five and ten years when you think of dynamism and desire of Turkish technology companies and currency fluctuations recently? What awaits Turkish feed machine manufacturers and Atlas Değirmen in this area?
I would like to answer this question by starting with a cliché: We are going through a very difficult period as a country.
Our country has never been a country of system. Frankly, we do not have the luxury to make plans for five and ten years. This stems from the fact that we have a fragile economy and could not become an industrial country. For Turkey, production is an important asset in every sense. It provides employment and contributes to the economy directly.
The most important task of the manufacturers of our country is to sell everything they produce to the right places. We do not experience any problems in some sectors in terms of export; this is a very beautiful thing. However, we have always remained as second class in machine production. The biggest reason for this is that we do not make enough investment in R&D works. This is what I meant when I said the proper competition.
We need to compete on quality rather than price. This leads all manufacturers to invest in the right proportion in the self-improvement. If we want to export and sell to the right markets, our priority should be producing quality product. While a long period of time is needed for your company to have a reputable place, if you do not take any step in this regard -at least most of us do not take any step- this will cause some concerns for our country's export. Of course, this is true for my sector as well.
Frankly speaking, I was not pleased with the growth figure in export provided by some institutions. I think this is not considered as growth when we look at global trends. What is important is to increase our share in the market. Instead of how many billion dollars we have, we need to focus on what percentage of the total demands we meet. We need to take measures accordingly.
FEED SECTOR ADOPTS INDUSTRY 4.0 QUICKLY
Technology is showing a dizzying speed in all areas. Like every sector, the feed sector is affected by this speed. What do you want to say about Turkish feed sector in the sense of technology and requirements of the age?
As you said, in recent years, technology's impact shows itself in the feed sector. Our feed facilities quickly adapted to the revolution of Industry 4.0 which we call as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Our PLC systems and our feed factories have reached the capacity to produce almost without human touch. With the help of sensors and indicators, rations are delivered to the crushing and pelleting section with maximum speed and minimum error. So, this helps a lot in preventing mistakes stemming from human and capacity. It shows all the problems stemming from machine failures to process errors on a computer screen, and we can intervene quickly. So, we can continue producing without giving long stoppage to production. This is something that makes feed producers very happy. When we tell our customers that they can control the facility with a tablet, we can see the sparks in their eyes. They get happy because the biggest problem in feed facilities is delays resulting from control organizations or time loss due to mistakes and malfunctions.
WITH FEED PLANET, THE SECTOR SEES THE VALUE IT DESERVES
You note that the flour and feed sectors are close but different from each other. What was the turning point in Turkey about this?
In our first meeting, I mentioned some points. Together with this, the feed sector is not regarded as a sector in itself and considered a side stick of the flour sector. This is not because of the flour sector but the media organizations that do not value the feed sector necessarily.
There is nothing wrong in mentioning some sectors together. For example the motor and reducer sector, motor and driver sectors. But these sectors are really tied to one another. However, it is understood that the feed sector is not really tied to another sector. Especially with the publication of Feed Planet and some other magazines and TUYEM and similar organizations helped the feed sector to have its deserved place. In this regard, you really deserve a medal. I hope that we will contribute to the growth of the sector by producing machines with the quality it deserves.