Uğur Makina is among the top technology manufacturers in the global milling industry. So far, the company has completed turnkey installation of more than 600 facilities in 98 countries, and continues to offer many innovative products to the milling industry, as it did in the past. Uğur Makina recently delivered an important single-unit project with a capacity of 1000 t/day in a very short period in Sudan, and the company continues its efforts to complete and deliver other 25 projects in 2017.
Okçul Barlık, the CEO of the company which is set to complete 62 years in the milling industry, is this month’s guest of our Technology Platform section. Barlık said it is honoring for Uğur Makina that many large customers prefer the company for their second and third facilities, and told us the secrets of the trade in our interview.
Uğur Makina is one of the leading companies in the global milling technologies industry. Could you tell us about the history of Uğur Makina and how it achieved such success?
The foundations of Uğur Makina were laid by our late grandfather Mustafa Barlık in 1955. Mr. Mustafa was first engaged in repairing power generators at flour facilities, and then was interested in maintenance and repair works on machinery at flour facilities and decided to set up his own business and started production at a 600-m2 lathe workshop at the Industrial Zone in Çorum. Our company soon gained 62 years of experience in building turnkey steel construction facilities for flour, semolina, feed, rice, salt, pasta and sugar refinery projects, and thus became a company offering global services.
On its 60th anniversary, our company has managed to be one of the 1000 top exporters of Turkey listed by Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM), and is the leader in the milling machinery industry.
Today we continue our efforts to address the needs of our business partners through our aftersale services. I believe our success came through an accurate analysis of the needs of our customers, which helped us to offer the right solutions to them. Thus, we have been honored to be their partners in their successive investments.
We know that you offer turnkey solutions to your customers; but what are the technologies and solutions that are completely manufactured by Uğur Makina? What kind of technological solutions does Uğur Makina offers its customers?
We produce almost all of the technologies that are used at flour, semolina or other similar facility. That is, we develop our own technologies from cleaning section technologies, milling and transporting section equipment, packaging technologies to automation systems and assembling equipment.
In turnkey projects, our high-end technology machinery which we manufacture with great care and diligence effectively communicate with each other and with the systems that allow integration of all the units in the facility. This is an important element that perfects automation.
Would it be more accurate to call you a solution manufacturer rather than a standard manufacturer of technologies? As far as we know, you offer customized projects, solutions and technical services according to the needs of your customers. Could you tell us about your approach and services in this area?
Yes, as you said, our operations do not always focus only on manufacturing machinery. We evaluate the project from the perspective of the investor and try to produce projects that will be successful, considering their expectations and competitive conditions. We are proud to see the immaterial gains we get from this approach, such as winning commercial friends.
Besides, we always emphasize that an accurate diagram, quality and cutting-edge machinery, equipment and automation systems are key in obtaining quality products with desired specifications and manufacturing these products seamlessly at the desired time. The millers and the investors to embark in this industry should shape their research on this basis. This will mitigate the future issues and, to emphasize it again, is a must for stable, efficient and uninterrupted manufacture.
Could you tell us about your position in the Turkish and global milling industry and your market share in the milling market? In 62 years, how many countries have you reached and how many turnkey flour facilities have you installed?
On its 60th anniversary, our company has managed to be one of the 1000 top exporters of Turkey listed by Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM), and is the leader in the milling machinery industry. The largest company in the industry in Turkey, Uğur Makina is also among the top 3 companies with European brands around the world.
Today, we have access to numerous regions, including the Americas, Balkans, Russia, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. To put it in more details; our company, since its foundation, has completed more than 600 turnkey projects in Turkey and around the world, and managed to export its products to 98 countries. Our objective is to further improve these figures.
Recently you have successfully completed several turnkey facilities in Turkey and other countries. Could you tell us about the projects you have completed recently?
Recently we completed the installation of a single-unit flour facility with a capacity of 1000 t/day in a very short period in Sudan, breaking a record in this area. This facility is also the largest single-unit flour mill in Sudan. Our other commissioning projects include a flour facility with a capacity of 750 ton/day and a corn line with a capacity of 250 ton/day in Tanzania. In 2017, we are planning to commission more than 25 projects in Turkey and around the world, which are underway.
Could you tell us about your abroad organization? Do you have agents, partnerships or offices in other countries?
Today, competition is fierce and time is valuable, and it is important to ensure sustainability of manufacture in milling, as is the case in all industries. This depends on the rapid services and solutions to be offered by suppliers for potential problems. Therefore, we are trying to expand our service network. Our company makes most of its sales to abroad, and thus we are expanding our abroad organization day by day. Currently, we have offices, workshops and agents in 20 countries, including North America, South America, Asia and Africa. As I said earlier, we are working to further increase these figures.
Let’s talk about training. After completing the installation of a facility or a machine, do you offer training to the staff involved in manufacture? Could you tell us about your works and support for your customers in this area?
Yes, training is one of our services. Besides offering training to the staff operating the machines in terms of proper operation and management, we train managers as well to ensure maximum efficiency from the system. These trainings are offered at our facility, during delivery at the customer’s facility and after the sales process. Besides, we offer special training programs for the teams to be employed at the businesses of our customers who are involved in the milling industry or planning to embark in the industry. In these programs, our company covers all the costs for the team sent by the customers for training and these people undergo special training at our facility. Thus, we facilitate our own business and offer more qualified staff to the industry.
R&D is an important issue for all technology manufacturers. What does R&D mean for Uğur Makina? Could you tell us about your R&D activities, your R&D budget and the issues you focus in your R&D activities?
Machine industry is without doubt one of the most important sub-industries in the manufacturing industry. The competitiveness of many industries, including automobile, textile, chemistry, iron-steel, which have the largest share in our national exports, relies on the performance and efficiency of the machinery used in manufacturing. Therefore, development and strengthening of our machine industry is a strategic issue that requires special focus.
Considering the global crises, R&D is never affected by such crises and to the contrary, it yields better returns during the times of crises. Therefore, it would not be right to consider R&D budget as an inefficient investment and a waste of resources. It is a well-known fact that the R&D budget brings greater returns in the mid- and long-run, even if not in the short term.
Our company allocated 5 percent of its sales revenues to R&D in 2016. Besides, we direct our R&D in line with the feedback we received from the field and from our customers, so that they are better focused on solutions that address their demands and expectations.
What can you tell us about the innovations, different and innovative solutions you have offered to the milling industry in the last 62 years?
As you know, flour facilities require uninterrupted operation and their maintenance process may take a long time. In the previous years, many machines and equipment that caused environmental pollution have gone out of use and replaced by more eco-friendly equipment in the milling industry.
At Uğur Makina, our machines which we call the Quantum Age Series, as well as our new roller, new semolina sensor, our 12-passage sieve which is brand new and one of its kind in the world, are a few of important innovations offered to the milling industry. Each one of our machines is user-friendly and offers significant efficiency in its area, thus addressing the expectations of our customers. That is, I can say that each machine offers higher capacity, more silent operation and more efficient production. Besides, it offers significant advantages in terms of energy saving. Energy efficiency is indeed one of the positive outcomes of using good technology. Our customers who place multiple facility orders with our have seen significant improvements in energy efficiency and profitability during their former experience.
These aspects of our technologies should make a contribution to the recognition of our brand value and quality beyond the borders of Turkey. I believe we will further carry the brand of Uğur Makina in the coming years, with our valuable business partners and colleagues. Our efforts to this end continue incessantly.
It must be remembered that such advantageous innovations are an important factor in further development of our industry.
You have generally summarized this but to be more specific, why do you think the millers prefer the technologies of Uğur Makina? What is it that distinguishes you from your competitors?
Our customers demand facilities and technologies that will ensure seamless, quality and efficient production and stable capacity use. And we are trying to produce the best of the technologies and services to ensure these, through their feedback, as I pointed out earlier.
It is one of our priority principles to go beyond the expectations of our customers, to fulfill our responsibilities for the society and to remain committed to our ethic values. Besides, we are making special efforts to help our qualified employees to improve their knowledge, skills and qualifications and to perform in a stable way. Our values and efforts are also reflected in our service and technology quality, making us a preferred company.
For us, a long-lasting business relationship depends on trust, quality and aftersale support. We are engaged in our business partners in all processes from purchasing and assembly to delivery, and we try to address all of their needs. As you can understand from our motto, “One Customer, Multiple Projects”, continuity and customer satisfaction are indispensable principles of our company. Our 62 years of history in the industry, the knowledge and experience of these years, the accurate balance of quality and pricing distinguish us from our European competitors.
The feedback and demands from our customers also support this idea. We think we are lucky in this sense. This is because leading companies in the world work with us for their second, third and even fourth mills.
Finally, what would like to say about your future plans, objectives and innovations?
At Uğur Makina, we increase our manufacturing capacity every year. From turnkey projects, we started manufacturing interconnected and integrated turnkey projects. This helps us to undertake large scale projects.
Besides, we conduct market research on the global markets where we are not present yet, and we make efforts to go into those markets as a Turkish company. The priority objectives of our company include increasing our capacity, improving our brand value, enhancing our aftersale services and reaching more customers. I am confident that we will achieve these objectives in the future, just like we have done so far.