Menatek Takes Firm Steps Forward To Its Targets!
Menatek Defence, which has made a great contributions to the indigenization of the industry, was founded by Kazım Ünal in 1995. Since then, Menatek has produced thousands of vehicle pieces with an emphasis on ground vehicles, and now they are preparing for IDEF’21. We got together with Naz Ünal and Mehmet Ali Ünal, second-generation executives of the company, to get their opinions on the contributions of Menatek to our defense industry.
Ms. Ünal, let’s start with you. Could you tell us about the effects of the pandemic on Menatek?
The pandemic has affected us just like it affected every other sector. For a very long period, we couldn’t work from the office. Consequently, we had difficulties in communication, which in turn made our jobs more challenging. However, among the negative impacts, we gained experience in realizing our jobs from far away. Even though this was not by choice, we were able to form our plans for the future accordingly. Therefore, we want to increase our efforts in the name of digitalization. Considering the past and recent developments in online working, we are glad to have had the experience. During the pandemic, we took all the necessary precautions and protected our employees in that regard. As a result, we are happy to see no positive cases. Nevertheless, even though we were not terribly affected by the difficulties composed in supply chain, the pandemic has negatively affected our industry. With our two-supplier policy, we were able to lessen the effects of this period.
Ms. Ünal, could you please make a critique of the year 2020?
Especially considering our growth figures, 2020 was a very positive year for us. We approximately had a 300% revenue growth. In employment, we had a 200% growth. Along with these figures, we expanded our catalog and diversified the sectors we work with. In addition to our sub-brands, we established sub-companies. We started working within the micro-mobility sector. We had substantial developments in our software projects we brought our software projects to incorporation level. Furthermore, we started commercial activities within the medical equipment industry. All in all, despite the pandemic, we have had a very positive year.
Ms. Ünal, considering what you have told us so far, what can you say about your plans for the future?
For the future, to be more active in marketing, we have increased our budget in this field and will continue to do so. We have exportations to eighteen countries, and we want to increase this number as well as our force within the markets we are already a part of. In this regard, we believe that we will have positive growth, just like we did in 2020.
Mr. Ünal, you are a part of substantial developments in the field. Could you tell us more about the projects you are working on?
As a company, our primary work is to produce the subsystems of ground vehicles within the defense sector. We make the subsystems of tracked and wheeled ground vehicles. Predominantly, we produce all components of the suspension systems, brake systems, movement components, and power transmission systems of tracked vehicles. Additionally, with a strategic decision we took with Ms. Ünal in 2017, we have established an Ar-Ge (Research and Development) department. Currently, there are four ongoing development projects in this department. The scooter we have produced is also one of successes of our Ar-Ge department.
Mr. Ünal, do you aim to transform your Ar-Ge department into an Ar-Ge center?
We took all the necessary actions, and the process is still ongoing. We have provided all the requirements, and we are currently in the process of applying.
Ms. Ünal, there is little time left for IDEF’21. Could you tell us your thoughts about the fair?
The biggest challenge, the sector has faced during the pandemic was the fairs. IDEF is one of the signature events of our country, and that’s why it is very special for us. I think that IDEF will not be held like the past fairs. Due to the pandemic, I don’t think that it is right to have a crowd like in previous years. For us, I don’t think we will be hosting as many foreign guests as before, yet I still believe that it will be influential. I believe that we will be able to realize active work with a crowd that is especially interested in the industry. I am not pessimistic about this. We will be joining IDEF’21 with the same rigor and enthusiasm. During the fair, we will also be holding a signing ceremony regarding the scooter batteries with the Aspilsan firm, led by Mr. Ünal. In that regard, I think that our partnership will continue for years to come.
Ms. Ünal, we hear that there is an increased interest in the defense industry by domestic firms. Your contributions as a domestic firm are very significant. Could you please tell us about your thoughts about the subject?
The domestic contribution conditions established by the Presidency of Defense Industries have been a significant attempt to make Turkey self-sufficient. Due to this, very big and serious suppliers were formed. I believe that one of the best things that could happen to a country is an embargo. When we consider historical events, after the sanctions were put into effect due to the Cyprus Peace Operation, Aselsan, one of the most important defense companies in the world, was established. I believe that we take steps in the direction and improve when we are forced to do some things. Within this regard, since the day it was founded, Menatek has helped form the domestic production of many pieces. Kazım Ünal, our founder who has served the country for 25 years, has contributed to the domestic production of approximately 600 parts. In the proceeding years, this number has reached thousands. It is a very strategic approach to have domestic production for the defense industry. Otherwise, God forbid, in case of a war, you may end up by yourself. That’s why I believe that being self-sufficient here is not only profitable but also the power of the country.
The production in the defense industry has significantly contributed to the augmentation of our quality standards. Mr. Ünal, could you tell us your thoughts about this topic?
By its nature, the defense industry is the leader of technology. The advances that are led by the defense industry are used by other sectors as well. This helps the development of the country as well. It is a sector that helps advance our quality standards and the number of qualified people.
Mr. Ünal, we also want to talk about your projects on micro-mobility. Did you join this sector thinking that there is a potential market here?
Of course, we can say that there is an important market in this sector. Right now, it takes place in the rapidly growing markets in the world. We can see that the pavements are filled with scooters in Europe. In most European countries, you can rent scooters from 7-8 different companies. We can say that there is a $200 billion global market right now. Research shows that this sector could be worth $350 billion in ten years. I believe that the pandemic will expedite growth. We can also observe that the market is rapidly growing in Turkey as well. With this at hand, we created a product for rental companies. The biggest firms in this industry realize their productions in China. Now, one company in Turkey produces scooters through assembling.
Mr. Ünal, have you released your brand Boqu Scooter to the market?
Our product is ready, and we are in the process of negotiating with firms. We will be starting our production in thousands by July. We foresee a market of 200,000 scooters in our country. With that in mind, we aim to claim 50% of the market share. We also took some initiatives to be effective in foreign markets. Our biggest advantage will be the high quality of our products. Today, the average lifespan of the scooters in the market is 14 months. Our product will have an average lifespan of three to five years.