Interview: Menatek & MSI 2021

Menatek has grown during the epidemic process in favor of its export-focused approaches and tracked the right acquisition strategies.

Menatek, which is the sub-system supplier of many armed forces and private companies around the world, realized the 200% growth in employment in the last 3 years. Within the last twelve months, Menatek increased its annual return 3 times compared to one year ago due to its completed deliveries. The underlying reason for this growth of the company is unremitting export-focused projects during the pandemic. We have gathered the details of these successes from Mehmet Ünal the Co-Founder and Naz Ünal The Director of Business Development & Strategy.

MSI Dergisi: Defense and Aviation sector went through sort of a hard period because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, sectoral reports show that similar challenges already continue for many other companies. So, how did Menatek manage the process efficiently during the Pandemic process?

Mehmet Ünal: Although nevertheless this sector was affected negatively due to pandemics in 2020 and 2021 years, We undergo a different process. Especially, the growth rate of our company was increasing rapidly beginning from 2018. This growth rate continued up to this point without losing anything. If It is needed to put a figure on this growth, In this process, we doubled our employment size and reached 55 people as an employee. During this period, particularly our endorsement already has risen threefold associated with deliveries we completed within 12 months.

MSI Dergisi: In this adversity period, what is the credit to this success of growth?

Mehmet ÜNAL:  We can say that we overcome the crisis based on pandemics by practicing the right acquisition strategies. Because we work with many different companies for each profession department separately in this period, even if one of our suppliers paused the production because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we supplied our needs from another supplier we work with. Immediately before the pandemic has started, the intensity of our project rate has just begun to increase. Due to our right acquisition strategies, we could be able to proceed without slowing down. This approach we developed and our ability to continue to deliver increased the trust of our foreign customers much more. Eventually, in the period when every company paused to work, we didn’t abandon to meet the needs of our customers. And as a result of this acceleration of growth, we have taken on new projects during 2020. This tempo is still going strong in 2021, too. We haven’t finished 2021 yet, however; I can say that if we forecast the annual return of our company by considering the data that we have today, we will be monetized 95 percent of our revenue by year-end. In brief, we have its growth during the epidemic process to thank for its export-focused approaches and tracked the right acquisition strategies.

2021, has become Tracked Vehicles Year for Menatek

MSI Dergisi: Can you give more information about your export-focused projects?

Mehmet ÜNAL: Nearly all of these projects comprise the projects that we conduct for the prime contractors abroad in the military land vehicles sector. Most especially, we produced and delivered in high quantity powertrains and running gears intended tracked vehicles. About powertrains, we got crucial experiences, particularly in the 2019-2020 years. There are gears which are hard to produce between the products we delivered. In case, our profession about running gears occurred between 2017-2019 years. Suspension arms and Idler Arms can be examples of running gears that we delivered.

Firstly, It proved oneself in Exportation

MSI Dergisi: How did the growth you achieved affect Menatek based on the sector?

Naz ÜNAL: We are a company which address the needs of both main conductors and end-users from mainly abroad for long years. In case, in this process, we ran works aimed at end-users in the domestic areas. We haven’t announced the successful businesses so much in foreign countries in the past. Therefore, the domestic players have recognized us as a “system supplier of Turkish Armed Forces”. Lately, we started to share deliveries we send to foreign main conductors with the sector. Thus, our domestic defense industry has started to both realize and trust more our capabilities. Although we emphasized that we were ready to be a business partner with domestic companies in the past years, our domestic sector is getting realize it barely. Accordingly, we believe that our place in the domestic sector will grow stronger in the long view.

MSI Dergisi: Except for your approach in the pandemic process, if we look at the topic in a general view, what can you say about the strategies of Manatek?

Naz ÜNAL: First of all, from Menatek was founded, we always focused on exportation strategies. We think that this strategy is essential for the sector which comprises project-based works instead of permanent works just like our company. Hence, we have targeted to gain our 70 percent endorsement from export revenue. As a result of, we always achieved this target. Even, sometimes we can overshoot our target the same as we did in 2021. Besides, our jobs are engineering, project management, and supply chain management indeed. We have improved ourselves in these fields. So, the quality of works we achieved increased consistently. Also, recently we really care about corporation improvements because our know-how which is technical knowledge increases continuously. It is quite necessary to manage this know-how if the product range of the company comprises many different fields just like ours. Therefore, we started to work in the field of digital transformation compared to our competitors much more.

MSI Dergisi: Can you please give us information about your current works on the side of exportation? Are we going to hear the news about this topic?

Naz ÜNAL: Yes, we are quite strong in the field of export, however; it doesn’t prevent us to find new target markets. Indeed, we can say that one of the secrets of our success in this pursuit. Within this scope, I can say that one of the markets we include actively will be Ukraine in the upcoming period. Our country has surplus tanks remaining from The Soviet Union and at the same time faces NATO. Hence, considerable modernization actions are progressed in our country. Also, we take firm steps forward to be a part of these actions. Soon, Menatek and Ukraine's words will be heard together by people much more.

Also, Institution Grows Associated with Business Volume

MSI Dergisi: Menatek renewed the infrastructure of its institution recently. What would you like to say about the scope of this renewal?

Mehmet ÜNAL: The growth of our business volume pushed us to make renewals on our infrastructures. Besides, our familiarity increased in domestic area and as a result; we decided to modernize our office which reflects us outside. To get to what we do, firstly we carried our storage from inside institution to outside. This move gained us extensive working place. In addition, we purchased a new CMM rig. Thus, we can both conduct the quality control activities more delicately and gauge the pretty large size parts. We digitalized whole gauge equipment in our quality control area. Correlatively, we installed special test rigs which we designed and unprecedented devices in Türkiye. On the other hand, we established 4 different production lines which we can make assembly of the subsystems that we already produced.

Menatek is Entering the Urban Mobility Industry

MSI Dergisi: One of the last important operations of Menatek is investing in the Micro-Mobility industry. Can you please mention this enterprise of Menatek for readers?

Mehmet ÜNAL: We targeted to focus the intracity mobility solutions under the brand of “Boqu Scooters” associated with our micro-mobility activities. In the first step, We targeted that we make the most durable, high-tech, and well-designed scooters all around the world and make them with a sustainable focus. Our activities on this topic began with scooter production, but soon, we planned to develop a tri-wheeler and four-wheelers. Moreover, one of our targets is to produce public transport vehicles and autonomous vehicles which have electrical drive systems.

MSI Dergisi: Why did Menatek feel the need to enter this sector?

Naz ÜNAL:  There is a significant vocation on scooters all around the world. China currently dominates this market all over the world. We as Menatek have outstanding know-how especially in the field of R&D in the defense industry, therefore we want our country to have some say in this market. Moreover, we aim to catch this trend from the beginning in the world.

The Future of The Electrical Vehicles is on Electrical Drive Systems

MSI Dergisi: What will the reflections of your activities in the micro-mobility field to defense and the aviation industry? 

Mehmet ÜNAL: Ultimate goal of will be that we can retransfer our know-how which we will gain from producing electrical drive systems to the defense industry again. Although the civilian sector comes up from behind, the sector of military land vehicles tends to change electrical and hybrid drive systems. Even, we saw the first samples of this kind of vehicles in sectoral fairs and exhibitions, recently. In the upcoming years, we think that this kind of vehicle will enter the inventory of armies all around the world. Yet, the needs of the end-users must develop. We will improve ourselves in the civilian field in this process.

MSI Dergisi: During IDEF’21, Menatek has signed a cooperation agreement with ASPİLSAN to supply e-scooter batteries. Could you please mention the details of this agreement?

Naz ÜNAL: Within the scope of this agreement, ‘Boqu Scooters’ will use the battery packages which are produced by ASPİLSAN. Domestic and industrial e-scooter batteries will be produced thanks to this agreement first time in Türkiye.

MSI Dergisi: What kind of improvements do we expect from the activities that you did in the micro-mobility area?

Naz ÜNAL: Because our products will be overreaching, our negotiations are proceeding with companies from both domestic areas and foreign countries. We will attempt to design new type vehicles in the B2B model classification soon. Briefly, we will keep you posted relevant these developments.

The First Step Has Been Taken for AS9100

MSI Dergisi: Do you have anything else you would like to add?

Mehmet ÜNAL:  I can say that we initiated the process connected to AS9100 certification. For that matter, I can proudly say that we completed our first inspections with “zero major failure”  within this scope.