27 January 2023 Friday

Elcab Kablo Profil San. Tic. AŞ Export Director Hatice Aslandağ:
“Elcab Cable believes in the importance of
quality, innovation and change to be a leader in competition and we embrace constant improvement and excellence as a fundamental value”

Elcab Cable is one of the most talked about companies in the cable sector with the investments they have made in recent years. We spoke with Elcab Cable Export Director Hatice Aslandağ about the past, present and future of Elcab Cable.

Can you summarize your company’s journey for us?
We began operating as Elcab Kablo Profil Sanayi Ticaret AŞ in 1998 with a staff of 2 in a 125 square meter building producing cable groups for the appliance sector. In order to be more competitive while producing oven door gaskets with silicon cable, we started our glass fiber cable production, which was produced by only one company in Turkey at that time. After having our own factory built in 2008, we continued to operate from 2009 at our factory in Arnavutköy, İstanbul. In addition to exporting our products to many countries of the world, we are also the approved supplier of Arçelik, which has created a great brand value for our country. Following Arçelik's acquisition of Defy Appliances Pty (Ltd.), an appliance manufacturer located in South Africa, in 2018, we started operating our production facility in Durban, South Africa manufacturing the same products we were producing in Turkey, to achieve our first foreign investment. With our investment, we are the only manufacturer to produce silicone cables not only in South Africa, but also in all sub-Saharan countries, as well as being the first company in the white goods sub-sector to invest in this country, which is a very large market and we also supply products to cooler groups. Within the scope of an investment made by our company in 2021 for the "Homecoming Project" initiated by the Zonguldak Industrialists' and Business People's Association (ZONSIAD), of which our Chairman of the Board of Directors Nejdet Tıskaoğlu is the chairman, in Zonguldak, Çaycuma, we have started full operations at the factory established in the Çaycuma Organized Industry Zone producing all products that are produced in Istanbul and Durban. Our company, which began operating in Istanbul, then made its first foreign investment with the production facility it opened in Durban, South Africa, and increased its production and business volume with the factory it established in Zonguldak, Çaycuma, manufactures silicon cable, glass fiber cable, silicone gasket, silicone tubing, silicone profile, cable group, signal lamp, plug-in cable and PVC cables used in the appliance industry at these 3 locations.

What are your vision and goals for the upcoming period as a management?
Our company policy is to meet the demands and needs of our customers at the highest level with all the products we produce at our factories located in Istanbul, Çaycuma and Durban, South Africa in the KwaZulu-Natal State, and to carry out production that is sensitive to the environment and the community. Our mission is to present good quality products and professional services at European standards to our customer through qualified personnel and an efficient service approach with reasonable prices. Our vision is to follow technological developments closely and work with the goal of becoming a leader company by utilizing these developments. As Elcab Kablo, we believe in the importance of quality, innovation and change in order to be a leader in competition with the necessity of increasing productivity, as the most important success factor for the sustainable growth of our organization. We embrace constant improvement and excellence as a fundamental value and place great importance in the trust relationship we establish with customers in the service we provide them.

In recent years, there has been sensitivity about environmentally friendly production, especially in EU countries. Digital transformation, Industry 4.0, The European Green Deal. What is your approach to these as a company?
In the current period, when mechanization is more important than manpower, even though it may appear to present some issues in terms of labor supply, no company that maintains its presence in all branches of industry can ignore and resist Industry 4.0 as very large development and trend in a positive sense. As a result of the technological developments in the developing structure of the world, I believe that the opposite of this cannot be considered since the use of machines and robots rather than human power is more prominent in the field of production today. In this context, as Elcab Cable, we attach great importance to this development in order to transform the advantages created by Industry 4.0 to added value for our company on this path that the world has entered, and we follow the current developments closely by acquiring the data generated from organized trips and workshops.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a producer in Turkey? The exchange rate that has become a chronic problem over the years, energy costs and raw materials must be some of the major issues. When we consider the disadvantageous part of being a producer in Turkey from a sectoral point of view, we see that there is a slowdown in global economic growth and world business volume, commercial risks occur due to interest increases and weakening of direct capital investment inflows. In general terms, due to the chronic fluctuations in the exchange rates caused by the unreliable trade and market conditions created by the political turmoil on a global scale and unstable market conditions, the energy costs and the inflation of raw material prices, the bad situation is not exclusive to our segment but affects all sectors and companies. Also, the corona virus that emerged from the People’s Republic of China, the world’s second largest economy, caused factories in China, known as the world’s production hub, to close and production to shut down. While this situation, which has had a negative impact on global trade and presented us with challenges in terms of importing as a company that acquires a portion of its raw materials directly from China and indirectly from domestic companies that supply products of Chinese origin, the fact that many domestic market and international customers that purchased directly from China, redirected their interests to Turkey served to increase our sales volumes and make being a producer in Turkey more advantageous.

How do you evaluate the Turkish cable industry in terms of production infrastructure, flexibility, product quality and sales-marketing capabilities?
As Elcab Cable, we include features such as safety, performance and ease of use, which are indispensable principles in a product, among the main objectives of our production policy. Our company, which capitalizes on the goal of increasing its production capacity to achieve more products and reach more companies in addition to its existing customers through fairs, market research and customer visits both domestically and internationally, has made it our principle to follow our existing quality policies and develop without compromising on quality while achieving these goals. The most fundamental problem we observe regarding the Turkish cable industry is that companies sacrifice product quality in order to increase their production capacity while minimizing costs and catching up with lead times or working with
idle capacity when capacity has been increased and reflecting an unjust increase on the prices as a result of increasing costs. Also, due to the lack of regulation in our country and the perception caused by a price focused approach in the markets, producers are not giving the necessary attention to R&D and innovation work in smart machines and zero error production that would achieve wide scale positive feedback and this unfortunately results in no steps being taken towards producing different product groups. It is essential to achieve quality production at high capacity with effective and efficient marketing strategies to serve customers on time. We at Elcab cable conduct our production operations in light of these strategies.