Menatek to Complete Corporatisation Process & Expand to New Markets !
Menatek, a company that provides production, testing, and procurement services to the defence and aerospace sector of 35 countries, as well as the Turkish Armed Forces, continued its steady growth for the last 5 years, concluding 2022 with a 20 percent year-on-year growth. The company is continuing its institutionalisation journey as well as making plans to expand to new markets, being led by second-generation leaders like Mehmet Ünal, Managing Director of Menatek and Naz Ünal, Director of Business Development and Strategy of Menatek. The leaders of Menatek shared the current efforts of the company, as well as its goals, for AMAC MAGAZINE readers.
AMAC Magazine: It has been approximately a whole year since the passing of your father, Kazım Ünal. We would like to start our interview by commemorating him. At the same time, we would like you to evaluate the past year in the absence of Kazım Ünal, who was also the founder of Menatek. What can you share about this period?
Naz ÜNAL: First and foremost, I believe it is necessary to talk about the renewal of our organisational structure. After we lost our father Kazım Ünal, the founder of our company, we entered a rapid restructuring process. Because he had touched the lives of everyone in this company in some way, his presence gave us confidence. We were aware that his departure would impact every single colleague. We lost our leader on a Friday, and on Monday, Mehmet Bey and I were back at work. It was a critical period for us. We needed to work harder and grow, and that’s exactly what we did.
Firstly, we focused on expanding our workforce. However, we also started creating positions for experienced individuals to join the team and transition to a better-structured organisational setup along with this expansion. We took strategic actions and improved our processes with the help of management consultants. With their support, we worked to establish a more organised and scalable system. We restructured our systems at every level, from the finance department to human resources, from operations to our commercial units.
We accelerated the institutionalisation steps that we had already started when our father was alive. As a result, we took critical steps towards a structure that is more independent from us, where we could be more involved in major decisions without micromanaging the company.
Menatek’s Restructuring Process Creates Two Directorates: Operations and Commercial
AMAC Magazine: At what stage are the restructuring efforts of Menatek today? Have the institutionalisation efforts been completed?
Naz ÜNAL: Menatek is not only a producer of high-tech subsystems for military vehicles serving in the armed forces and sector firms, but also the largest supply chain manager in Türkiye and the MENA region. We are also the only company in Türkiye that works as a prime contractor with a special CAGE Code (T1978) for the United States.
We are advancing our institutionalisation efforts in line with these points. We view these efforts not as a project to be completed, but as an ongoing process of continuous improvement. Of course, our company has its own genetic code rooted in its history, and that influences this process. We are working to shape it in the best possible way without making drastic changes. Accordingly, Menatek will be managed by two main departments: the Operations Directorate and the Commercial Directorate. All other units of the company will be under these two main departments. We have taken some steps regarding our management team and strengthened it. For the first time in Menatek’s history, we have become able to outline career plans for individuals. We are now in a position where we have started to gain insights into how long our employees should spend in their departments, how long they need to stay there, and the ultimate positions they can reach.
AMAC Magazine: When the restructuring process is completed, will you operate as a board of directors, remaining outside of operational decisions?
Naz ÜNAL: After the passing of our father, we established an executive board and a board of directors. We have now stepped away from the day-to-day operations. In fact, constantly being involved in all the processes of the company also slows down progress, leading to vocational blindness. I have always advocated for someone better than me to come here, as my professional experience is limited to this company. I have contributed as much as I could, but I am sure this is not the best way to continue. I believe that individuals who have worked in different organisations can contribute much more to Menatek. We will always be taking part in the company with our strategic vision as leaders, but for the day-to-day operations, we are now at a point where we need to take a step back. Together with Mehmet Ünal, we will leave the operational management to people who will bring value with their experience and vision, and we will start to accompany them on their journey.
AMAC Magazine: How did this restructuring affect the employment figures of Menatek?
Mehmet ÜNAL: Currently, Menatek has a 68-strong team, 80 with Roqu Mobility. Our expansion is still ongoing, however, and we expect to reach three digits by the end of this year.
Design Gaining Importance for the Company
AMAC Magazine: Is Menatek’s renowned growth still ongoing?
Naz ÜNAL: We have also taken steps to increase our business volume while focusing on our institutionalisation process. The projects we have secured show a positive trend both in budget and volume. We are now at a point where we can say we are doing mass production and making weekly shipments. The number of countries we export to has reached 35. We have achieved the growth we desired. We met our targets for 2022 and experienced a 20% growth in Turkish lira terms. 2021 and 2022 were internal growth years for us. Despite that, we met our goals, but the real workload was pushed to 2023. Delays in the national supply chain had a negative impact on everyone’s activities. The main reason for the delay in our operations was also related to this fact. With the new orders we received this year, we have already achieved our 2023 targets for the first six months.
Mehmet ÜNAL: During this process, we also learned how to find customers that align with Menatek’s DNA. We are operating with more focused and strategic moves in 2023. We filter based on market analysis, market research, and budgeting. We create a customer profile from the results, and we use that profile as our focus. We also started to see main contractors coming to us for design-driven projects in 2023.
Huge Contract for NAZ Bearings
AMAC Magazine: Which stood out more for your work, projects, or products?
Naz ÜNAL: Actually, I can say that both stood out. There have been significant developments in our NAZ Bearings product family. We are about to sign a contract that is extremely exciting for us and this contract will make NAZ Bearings a global brand. Our MeVu periscope exports have resumed in 2023. We also associated our company with torsion bars, with continuous shipments. In addition, we have started to shift towards more strategic fields, thanks to the experience we accumulated. For example, instead of manufacturing parts for an M113 suspension, we can design a suspension system specifically developed for the M113. As I mentioned earlier, we have started to utilise our design capabilities more. We now receive requests for assembly design from various countries and global brands. We are excited to take the step from production to design, that is the next rung on the ladder. However, first, we need to ensure the sustainability of our internal organisation. Only then we can celebrate our success.
We are initiating product diversification efforts on our NAZ Bearings; we introduced new sizes. We are in discussions with major global players in different sectors. This year, our focus was not on creating new products but rather on improving our existing products and organisational structure, and now we have reached that critical point.
Sway Bar: Newest Offering from Menatek
AMAC Magazine: We are aware that in the past year, you have been expanding your presence in Europe and NATO countries. Did you introduce a new product during this expansion process?
Mehmet ÜNAL: Yes, we have introduced a new product during this period. We started manufacturing sway bars. Based on demand from our customers, we utilised Menatek’s expertise and engineering to add this product to our portfolio.
At first glance, this product might not seem like a completely new design, and one might question its difference from a torsion bar. However, I must emphasise that this product is created with significant experience and knowledge. Not everyone who can bend a steel bar can manufacture a sway bar.
Additionally, we had significant opportunities in the European market. Two of them have been concluded. We have signed a 3-year contract with one of them, and a 5-year contract with the other, as a 3-year contract with a 2-year option.
Menatek Expands Its Export Portfolio to New Locations
AMAC Magazine: Does Menatek plan to develop a new product soon?
Naz ÜNAL: Rather than developing a new product, we aim to reach new clients in new locations. With our strategies, we have focused on finding new markets that we can establish new collaborations and utilise our capabilities to the fullest. As Menatek, we have an extensive knowledge and experience regarding production, and we are especially strong in the Middle Eastern markets. We are adding new countries to our export portfolio in this region. We will be taking part in the land platform modernisation projects more actively, both in Türkiye and abroad, utilising our products and design capabilities.
AMAC Magazine: You had plans to complete the AS9100 certification process in the second half of 2023. How is this process ongoing, has there been any changes in the planning?
Mehmet ÜNAL: The certification process for AS9100 is continuing as planned. We have expanded our team; we plan to receive this certificate by the end of this year.
AMAC Magazine: How will these developments reflect on IDEF? Does Menatek have any developments it will highlight or unveil?
Naz ÜNAL: We are very excited for IDEF. Our location in the fair has changed, we will have a larger booth in the area for international companies. We also raised the bar regarding the products we will showcase. Previously, we had shown single parts, but now we will present whole assemblies. Our scooters will be present as well, but rather than showcase them, we will use them. It will make the lives of our team and IDEF team much easier.
Menatek Plans to Enter New Sectors
AMAC Magazine: What are the plans for Menatek for the second half of the year?
Naz ÜNAL: We are focusing on expanding the reach of our NAZ Bearings and Menatek’s capabilities to different regions and sectors. For example, we want to be involved in energy, railways, and heavy machinery sectors among others. We must be strong and present in global competition, especially considering the new and exciting developments in these sectors.
AMAC Magazine: We would like to talk about Roqu Mobility, a new structure within Menatek. When was it formed and why was it needed?
Naz ÜNAL: We have restructured our Nanobility Technologies subsidiary as a new brand, naming it Roqu Mobility. Roqu takes its name from the first syllables of “robust” and “quality”. We are strengthening our team in this organisation as well.
Our goal with Roqu Mobility is to create timeless vehicles. Rather than designing new vehicles every year, we wish to utilise the defence sector’s mindset of modernising our vehicles. Why did we take this decision? It is simple, the sector is not heading in the direction in line with the reason why electric vehicles exist. The market appeared to protect the environment, yet the current trend actually damages the environment. We took the decision to be a company that protects the environment and stops this trend. We will utilise our experience in the defence and aerospace sector and create a vehicle that serves this vision, and we will continue with upgrading this vehicle.
Mehmet ÜNAL: As Naz explained, that sector has a significant waste problem. A fleet may have 300,000 scooters, and they get replaced within 2 years, with another 300,000 products and this wastes hundreds of thousands of lithium-ion batteries. We focused on making a positive contribution to protecting the environment through recycling and extended product life cycles.
AMAC Magazine: Is Boqu Scooter still ongoing as a brand?
Naz ÜNAL: We have discontinued Boqu Scooter as a brand of its own and placed it under our main brand, Roqu Mobility. Boqu will be the product line for Roqu Mobility’s B2B scooter models. One can say Roqu Mobility is the main company, and Boqu is its sub-brand.
We would like to thank Mehmet Ünal, Managing Director of Menatek and Naz Ünal, Director of Business Development and Strategy of Menatek on behalf of our readers for taking the time to answer our questions, and for providing us with such valuable information .