One of the five committees set up as part of the activities in the scope of the Strategy Paper, the R&D and Innovation Committee made its second organization by visiting the Arçelik’s R&D Center in its Çayırova Campus on Wednesday, 3 July 2013. 75 members and Arçelik officials attended the event. Following a series of presentations in a big meeting hall, Bahadır Balkır, BEYSAD chairman, made the closing speech and presented a thank you plaque to Mr. Cem Kural, Arçelik R&D Director, in appreciation of their efforts.
In the morning session of the event Mr. Cem Kural, Director of Arçelik R&D Center, made the first speech. Noting he was very pleased to host this visit, Cem Kural told Arçelik was one of the first private sector companies in Turkey to conduct R&D activities. He said that in line with the Turkey’s 2023 vision it is now expected from the entire manufacturing industry to perform R&D activities, which are now carried out with advanced level of cooperation that is named “open innovation”. He added that for that purpose the main industry and supply industry should now collaborate more effectively in order to shorten the time to market a product and gain capability to offer more innovative products.
Then, Ms. İffet İyigün, Innovation and System Development Manager at Arçelik A.Ş. R&D Division, who spent much effort for this project, made a detailed presentation to inform the attendants. This event was a means for showing Arçelik’s willingness to conduct R&D activities together.
İffet İyigün started her presentation giving general information about Arçelik. She told Arçelik had the vision to set up an R&D unit 20 years ago, when the concept of R&D was not even widely known in Turkey. She underlined the role of R&D activities in taking Arçelik further. Based on this presentation it was clear that Arçelik strongly believed in the necessity of R&D for global competition and it made big investments in this area. As a proof of this fact, Arçelik employs more than 1000 R&D personnel in its headquarters and facilities. Thanks to its intense R&D activities, Arçelik is in the top position in the Turkish patent league with its number of patents above 1500 and it is the only Turkish company to rank in the global Top 100 in this area. This prideful achievement has also been crowned with a commemorative book in its 20th year and this book was presented as a gift to attendants on that day.
Later sections of the presentation focused on R&D organizational chart, intellectual property rights management, collaborations with domestic/overseas universities, institutions and other organizations, awards granted to Arçelik and other R&D management topics (such as technology roadmap, project management, collaboration management).
This presentation also informed participants about the management approach of the Arçelik R&D process and financial risks of R&D projects. It was stressed that financial risks of R&D projects could be balanced with project-based support programs of TÜBİTAK (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) and Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology. It was also stated that there were special supports for projects involving collaboration with universities and it would be more advantageous for new R&D actors to set out the journey with these financial supports.
In line with its open innovation approach, Arçelik conducts R&D activities not only in collaboration with universities and technical institutions, but also with supply industry firms and is willing to carry on them at higher intensity.
Immediately after the presentation, the question & answer session started. Arçelik officials replied all the questions in detail. Then, Bahadır Balkır, BEYSAD Chairman, made a brief speech and thanked Arçelik officials for their hospitality, in addition to presenting a thank you plaque in appreciation of their efforts.
Visits to the laboratories were made in groups. Due to time restriction we were able to visit three laboratories: fast prototype laboratory, vibration and acoustics laboratory and electronics laboratory. This visit helped us better observe the testing and development processes which Arçelik products go through prior to design and production phases. These laboratories drew lots of attention from participants; moreover, engineers in charge of these laboratories were all very friendly and eager to share information about processes conducted there.
The event ended with a lunch.
We all observed that both BEYSAD members and Arçelik officials were pleased with the result of the visit. Such visits enable us to learn more about subjects that arouse curiosity and help us gain vision on how to write these success stories. We believe the more often we organize such visits the more our suppliers will improve themselves.
We would like to extend our profuse thanks to Fikri Özdemir and Yasemin Kaya, managers of Arçelik’s purchasing department, Cem Kural, Arçelik R&D Director, and İffet İyigün, Innovation and System Development Manager, for their efforts to organize this event. We also thank our members for their interest in the visit as well as BEYSAD R&D Capacity Improvement and Innovation Committee.