In this issue, we had a nice interview with Mehmet Emin ALTUN, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sistem Elektrik and Phonexled lighting brands. "The lighting industry is undergoing a rapid transformation with LED. To the right light; we draw attention to products that save energy and resources and protect human health, which increases efficiency and safety. We will not let go of companies that do not comply with standards and misled consumers."  Said.  

First of all, can you tell us about your company?
38 years ago, we established our company in Karaköy for the purchase and sale of lighting and electrical materials. At the time, the Chinese ambassador was among the partners of our company. We started our business by importing electrical and lighting products that were not in our country from China. Then we started to produce easing coil wire as ETS transformer. In 2002, we entered into project contracting works and it was one of our first jobs to make the lighting project of Akparti's headquarters building. Then we realized the Lighting project of the Bolu crossing tunnel, which is also a reference for us. To date, we have successfully delivered hundreds of projects belonging to the Public and Private sectors using our own products. Our company produces the most modern and economical lighting products of our country.

You said we have imported lighting products that are not in our country. Can you bring that up?

We became the first company to bring many lighting products to our country with altaş brand. Our aim is to be accurate in the development of the lighting sector and we have become a pioneer in terms of quality and trust in the sector by working towards success. In 1992, we introduced to users in Turkey by importing ballast sodium mercury steam bulbs, energy-saving bulbs, PLC-saving bulbs, Halogen Bulbs, Metal Halide Bulbs, Standard Incandescent Bulbs etc.

Our company is one of the brands that guide the Karaköy market. In 2006, we became the first company to introduce tradesmen in Karaköy to LED. Led conversion of Bosphorus bridge is one of the first works we design with these products. At that time, we delivered the exterior lighting works of Dolmabahçe palace under the tender of a contracting company together with an important brand that we are partners with. In fact, we had the opportunity to provide our president with a little information about the LED.

What are your company's Product and Product Groups?

If we outline our products, we have decorative lighting product groups besides interior and exterior lighting. Street lamps, Industrial high ceiling lighting products, linear product groups make 80 percent of their production ourselves. We are the main dealer of NICHIA Led products. We also have dealerships of Samsung and Philips brand OEM products.

What can you say about production as a company?

We produce with a staff of 30 people. Depending on the intensity of the projects, sometimes this number can double. Na ok we are completing the products. We contract the case, body and injection parts of the products to our brand with our own molds. We send our products to our customers after quality control is carried out in our factory

So what is your company's export rate?

We export our products to 17 countries. Although our exports have slowed with the pandemic in the world, we can say that in terms of turnover, we can say the same levels as last year. According to 2020 IMİB data, we became the most exporting company to Nigeria. The heart would like us to raise these numbers higher. We will devote more of our new structure and energy to exports. We trust our brand and products. Our biggest advantage is that our customers and users in the countries we export are satisfied with our products and service.

What's your roadmap for projects? How does the process work?
We are an innovative, economical company that is open to development, disciplined and locomotive that meets all the needs of our sector. We have a team that follows the projects.While we take some projects ourselves, we provide product support to some projects due to our work experience. As a result, our products are used in many projects.

You mentioned projects. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

Our company cooperates with many companies from the same sector or different sectors at national and international level. I mentioned OEM products. In addition to selling these OEM products, we also use them in our own projects. We have now realized 70% of the lighting of stadiums made in our country with the Phonex brand. We provide lighting for Mugla Stadium, Yalova Stadium, Kocaeli Stadium and Mardin Midyat Stadium, which is currently under construction.

The Covid-19 pandemic is happening. How did you plan this process?

People are worried about their lives and health. As a company, we have taken all our protective measures. Despite this, many of our friends, especially myself, have encountered this disease. Our company's workload increased during this period. There have been requests from abroad. We're more focused on projects than retail. Due to the negatives of competition in the domestic market, our profit margins have decreased. We started to appeal to a wide area by further diversifying our product line. We currently have four stores and one of these stores sells our fully decorative chandelier products. In addition, we are opening a new store that will become fully active after the Eid al-Fitr holiday. We also plan to open a store in Ankara in the future. We're going to sell our own products. We're not a buy-to-let company. We are a brand that produces and develops.

There is a serious mechanization in the lighting sector. What do you think the reasons for that might be? Where is the future of the industry going?

The investments that have been made and will be made need to be analyzed very well. There is a good saying in Anatolia. "Half a teacher washes religion, half a master washes a house, half a doctor hurts. When investing, you need to know what the market wants. What you can sell to overseas markets is essential to analyze and identify before investing. It is necessary to balance the ratio of sales and investment very well. If you make a product that you can't sell, the product swells in your hand and you have to lower its price. This is reflected in the cost of investment. At this cost, it becomes difficult for you to survive. Before investing, you need to create a market and value with product sales and then decide on investment. Since we don't know what to do and how to do it, we first invest and then look for a market for the product. For this reason, many companies are withdrawing the price. It is not possible for the product, which has fallen in price, to make you money. As a result, the brand and company are damaged by an idle and inefficient investment.

You are a company with five stores in Karaköy. Everyone complains about poor quality products in lighting. What are your views? 
Our products are sold in many of our e-commerce sites in addition to our five stores. We also respond to requests from abroad through Alibaba. People are starting to learn to light up. Previously, the comparison of the two products was only price-oriented, but today the characteristics of the product have started to be asked. People aren't confused anymore.

Let me tell you about an event we've been through. In fact, this is where the root of the problem in our country begins. A company from our sector has produced a TSE branded catalog. We asked TSE if the company had a TSE application or certificate. The response from the general secretariat of the TSE stated that this firm does not have such an application. When we told the company why you hit TSE on your products, it turned out that they showed the TSE certificate in one product they passed through the customs declaration when importing in all products. Very interestingly, in a tender, the tender with a fake TSE certificate remained in this company for half price. Because the business stayed in the company with an offer below the cost. How healthy do you think the products to be used here will be? TSE has opened an investigation into this firm. Companies that do honest work are much needed in the lighting industry. Now it's worth talking about things openly.

So it turns out there's something wrong with customs?

Of course, free market rules operate in our country. Everyone will import. They need to write down what's on the goods they're offering. If you compare apples with apples, the problem will be solved. But if you compare apples to pears, you'll never solve the problem. There have been a lot of regulations regarding trafficking in our country. TSE-free products are now included in smuggling status. In our country, there have been many regulations regarding trafficking.While the law no. 1918 and the ban penalty law are seen as crimes committed against the state, the law no. 4926 has been changed and the law on trafficking bans has been classified as monetary. Lighting is an industry that needs to be taken seriously, has a wide market and is open to innovation. You have to be much more careful when there are people who don't know the job and who cheat like above. He thinks he's going to make money on the easiest lighting with some money.

I'd like to share a moment I just had. That's actually, in a sense, the bottom line. When we went to interview for an important project, the relevant official asked us a question about what you do for a living. So we said we're doing lighting commitments. Most of the companies that came to the tender were jewellers, contractors, bus company owners, investors, people who had nothing to do with the business, he said.

People who have nothing to do with lighting show up at the auctions saying we're doing this. He brings products from China or other countries with some money and comes out thinking he's going to make a lot of money. But when it doesn't go their way, they put it on the market for half the price. Believe me, we buy products from people like this from time to time so that the market doesn't deteriorate.

After all, we stand behind our products such as quality, inspection, documents, etc. in all subjects. In recent years, public institutions and organizations have been subjecting products to product safety inspection in the import stages according to the degree of risk, ensuring that producers are not subjected to unfair competition of poor quality and unsafe imported products and that the safety of citizens' lives and property is protected. At the end of these inspections, products found to be inappropriate/unsafe are either destroyed or sent back to the country of origin.

Why is this thought happening?
The lighting industry has started to be much more diverse with LED. And the market volume is quite wide. That's a reason of choice for those with money. But now technology is involved. In lighting, technical and information such as light values, design, electronics are now discussed.

Finally, what would you like to say?

Lighting is a very serious profession. Let them hand over their projects to people who know the business. I started this industry at the age of 17 in a 20m2 shop. We have come to these days by learning and experiencing. Many people who do lighting work do not know the relationship between watt and lumen. We see them all the time, but we never see the same person in the industry again. Make sure that people who know the business enter the sector. Capital does not operate in the lighting industry. Even many global brands around the world are now out of the industry. As a company, our goal will be to sign more qualified products by paying attention to R&D.


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