In this issue, we discussed the pandemic process in the world and its implications for the lighting sector with Mr. Fahir GÖK, president of the Lighting Equipment Manufacturers Association (Agid), the umbrella association of the lighting industry.
- Can you consider 2020 in general?
Despite all the difficulties and negativity of 2020, I would like to say that the sector in general has not had a very bad year for Turkey. At least in terms of capacity utilization rates, there were no significant problems outside the first quarter of 2020 and we became one of the few countries that experienced some positive growth during the epidemic.
With the partial recovery of the countries in this region and the movement of their markets, new orders increased. However, sales gained significant momentum with a certain movement of the domestic market over the same period. After this rise, we know that with the impact of the second wave in the last quarter, especially companies that do not have export links are struggling with the increase in exchange rates and this is reflected in the costs. However, although there has been a decrease in the profitability of the companies during the year, we estimate that the number of balance sheets that have been negative at least is limited by the end of the year. Of course, the loss of more than 60% especially in tourism, the negativity experienced by the service sector and their reflections brought some problems, but we must not forget that this is a situation that affects not only our country but also the whole world. Although there is a decrease in capacity, we must bear in mind that all our members are working and striving for continuity in production. With the awareness of maintaining employment and making the peace of work sustainable, the sector made an important effort and prioritized the continuity of the trained and trained workforce.
When we look at capacity utilization rates, especially in the second half of March and April , we know that 10% of the sector has stopped their work, while the rest continue their activities without falling below 50-60%. However, after the periodic normalization that developed as of May, capacity utilization rates started to increase with June. In particular, the capacities of companies exporting to Europe increased.
- What are the positive/negative effects of the pandemic on the Turkish lighting sector?
As we mentioned above, there was no significant loss in capacity utilization rates during the outbreak except for the faltering in the first quarter of 2020, and we can even say that some companies are experiencing capacity shortages. However, with a few exceptions, working capital shortages as a result of currency fluctuations and problems with loans and interest rates naturally put many companies in the sector into a certain financing difficulty. In the meantime, it should be said that exporting companies have benefited somewhat from the increase in foreign currency.
During the pandemic process, we have a better chance of becoming an alternative supply center, especially for the EU. The sector, which can offer many advantages with our logistics opportunities as well as quantity and supply process compared to China and Asia Pacific countries, has entered into a growth trend. In addition, these advantages bring opportunities such as export opportunities and new markets.
Taking into account our dependence on the component externally, it should also be noted that there is an occasional supply problem during the epidemic period, but it is also worth noting that this is a problem faced by all electrical equipment manufacturing sectors.
- What kind of work do you talk to industry representatives about to mitigate or turn the effects of the pandemic process into an advantage?
In this period, in addition to training activities in many subjects, we keep issues such as clustering, cooperation and power unity on the agenda and create a roadmap with common sense in order to turn this special period into an advantage.
- Many fairs are planned, especially Istanbul Light 2021 fair. What new strategies are you talking about?
This year, in the fall, under the roof of UBM and in cooperation with ATMK, we will hold our IstanbulLIGHT fair if there is no radical change. According to the feedbacks received from the marketing activities and announcements of the fair, it is seen that many new companies are willing to participate in the fair. The fact that there are new players entering the sector alongside companies that want to show their new products and models in the time that passes very naturally indicates that the process will be dynamic.
- What would you like to say to overseas partners about the Turkish lighting industry?
Turkey has launched export moves in different sectors in the last few years. With this move, many cooperation and investment opportunities are born besides new markets. We are moving rapidly towards becoming a production and logistics center that we have been talking about for a long time. At this point, we believe that many foreign companies will implement joint cooperation and investment projects with the sector in our country. For this purpose, both the industrial infrastructure and the manpower of the country are extremely adequate.
- What are your suggestions for our industry companies regarding this situation?
Especially in relation to the export move, we implemented the URGE project last year and 23 companies took part in this project and we continue to work actively. In addition, together with ISTKA, we are working hard to implement our lighting center project. This project with 4 major topics such as accredited laboratory, R&D center, Academy and Waste Management will bring many advantages to the country and industry representatives and will also make a very serious contribution to resource use. In other words, we continue to work and produce more than ever before.
- What are your expectations for 2021?
We believe that 2021 will be more positive and better not only for our sector but also for all sectors. This is not only an optimistic approach, but also an indicator of the change and development that is happening. Especially with the new actors entering the sector in the process of digitalization, we anticipate that the lighting sector will reach much better points, we should not forget;
- The Lighting Industry is Competitive in Production and Has The Potential of a Regional Production Center.
- Production is carried out with the Norms of the European Union.
- Infrastructure Improvements Are Experienced with Production and Market Controls in the Domestic Market
- Lighting Sector Exports significantly and will develop.
- The Lighting Equipment Domestic Market is also experiencing growth.
- Turkey Lighting Equipment Offers Significant Opportunities for Industrial Infrastructure and Market Opportunities and Foreign Capital Investments.