Our guest of the interview section of this volume is our new member Karel’s Business Development and Planning Director Mrs. Elif Güngörer. We will get stronger with these strong member companies of ours. We would like to welcome them and we wish to improve our cooperation and see them in all our events. We would like to thank Mrs. Elif Güngören for her valuable time and my dear friend Mr. Can Us, the Senior Engineer of Business Development at Karel, who put a lot of effort in communicating this interview to us.
Could you introduce yourself?
I graduated from Izmir Science High School in 1989. I completed my undergraduate study at Bilkent University, Industrial Engineering. I got my master’s degree from the same department of METU. I started my working life as planning manager. After working as a planning manager for Aselsan for 4 years, I started working for Karel Elektronik in 1998. I worked for Karel Elektronik as a Chief Planning Manager for 2 years and Planning Manager for 14 years. Since 2014, I am the Business Development and Planning Director.
Could you tell us about Karel Elektronik and your operations?
Founded with hundred percent local capital, Karel started its operations in 1986 and created an electronic telephone switchboard market in Turkey with its original designs and today has become Europe’s 3rd greatest PBX manufacturer and one of the top 15 PBX manufacturers in the world as well as being the market leader in its business field in Turkey, Middle East and Africa according to the national and international research reports.
In 1997, Karel decided to embark on business activities in electronics production service with its experience in production and R&D and then, started to design and produce Arçelik’s electronic cards. Karel improved its operations in the industry every year; it started working with global companies besides Arçelik and it produced over 8 million cards for the white appliances industry alone. During then, the company added the defense industry to its electronic production service operations and became the main production supplier of big actors in the defense industry especially Aselsan.
The company continues its design and production operations at world standards with its production facilities with advanced technology production systems on a closed area of 22500 m2 and R&D to which the company allocates a mean of 10% of its consolidated sales turnover every year.
Today it exports products and technology to over 30 countries. It is considered one of the top brands in the "Turkey’s 100 Most Valuable Brands" list prepared by Brand-Finance, one of the most recognized and trusted institutions in the world.
Could you tell us about the organizational structure of Karel Elektronik?
The company is operated in 8 locations including Istanbul Headquarters, Boğaziçi R&D Office, Ankara Production Facilities, Bilkent R&D Center, and Izmir, Antalya, Van and Bursa Regional Directorates. The center of its finance, information technologies, sales and marketing operations is located in Istanbul and the center of its production, quality, human resources and R&D operations is located in Ankara. Karel’s educated and strong human resources consist of over 300 university graduates and approximately 700 technical high school graduates - 1400 employees in total, 169 of which work in R&D.
Which sectors do you serve?
Karel is operated in design and production of white appliances electronic cards, modules and finished electronic products. Besides, we serve in the telecom solutions, turn-key projects and communication solutions for the defense industry with our specialized production halls and staff for each of these lines of business.
Could you tell us about your export rates and to which country you export the most?
As of the end of 2014, we have exported an amount of 6.5M USD. We export white appliances electronic cards which we design and produce mainly to the UK, Romania, South Africa and Colombia.
What distinguishes you from your competitors?
Karel’s biggest advantage that enables it to be a global player in the electronics industry is that it has one of the best-equipped R&D centers in Turkey. It is critically important to develop new and rational technologies and turn them into marketable goods and put them on market in today’s world of rapidly improving technology. Therefore, having strong R&D capabilities has been Karel’s top priority since its establishment. Thanks to this, Karel has become one of the few companies that can provide its customers with a design service as per their requests besides presenting their product designs and that can recommend modifications in design of products of customers to reduce costs and increase quality.
We invest in production technologies with a significant portion of our income every year and aim to reduce the pressure of cheap labor in the Far East and to increase production quality thanks to automated production. We can respond to our customers’ requests with 3 fully-automated, 4 semi-automated testing and assembly lines, 14 automated printing lines, 4 automated visual inspection devices and equipment to perform any electrical, resistance and environmental testing in our Ankara production facilities where we conduct production activities at world standards with premium quality and technology.
Moreover, we are especially assertive, when it comes to flexibility and agility. With our end-to-end supply chain management, fast data flow and logistics skills, we enhance the reliability, speed and agility of customer processes, protect them from unforeseen down time and losses, and support their competitive edge.
Also, Karel can work with various business models and produce goods in different volumes, with different complexities and varieties using different production systems as per requirement.
We met you through the PD Project of TET Association. Have you benefited from PD Projects? If I am not wrong, you were involved in the 2nd PD Project, is that right? Could you please comment on these projects as an outsider, as you are a new member?
We benefited greatly from the first PD Project we got involved. We improved our relations with the global main industry companies, where we conduct business, and also we made important gains regarding collaboration and information exchange with other sub-industry companies. We think that the synergy created by such projects has high yields for not just our company, but the entire industry.
What are your thoughts on and expectations of BEYSAD? What can we do for you?
BEYSAD is an association that is successfully organized in both domestic and global platform in a very important line of business to us, has the skill to represent on a wide scale, and can feel the pulse of the industry. Karel believes that joining BEYSAD will make us a further stronger player in our industry.