NOTHING VENTURED

Zafer Ustuner:

We have ambitious plans for the future

The Turkish company BEKO has been operating in Russia since the late 90s. Zafer Ustuner, the CEO of the Russian company, talked to Capital Ideas about how BEKO’s operations in Russia are currently going. We agreed ahead of time to not discuss the sensitive topic of the crisis in Russian-Turkish relations: business is not at fault here and business people can’t fix anything without help from politicians.

Lots of new brands have appeared on the MDA market in recent years. Well-known brands are expanding their business. How long has BEKO been around as a brand? How does it position itself on such a competitive market?

BEKO is a global brand operating in more than 100 countries, with top positions in Europe and growing in other continents. Naturally, BEKO is not new to the Russian market, having big volume and potential. Our company first appeared here in 1997. Since that time we managed to become one of the leaders on the MDA market and our brand awareness among consumers is at 85%. The consumers know our brand well and prefer purchasing BEKO products for their good quality and reliability.

Tell us a little about your factory.

We have 14 factories in 6 different countries, including China, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey. Our Russian factory has special significance for us as it is the first “green field” investment out of Turkey and our success here gave us courage to do it in some other countries as well. Our headquarters took the strategic decision to invest in the factory construction in Russia in 2005. The amount of investments was over 100 mln. Euro. We have chosen an empty space in Kirzhach city of Vladimir region and started the construction. One year later, in October 2006, the BEKO LLC factory produced the first refrigerator and washing machine. Our company’s investment group chose Vladimir for its good investment climate and support from the region’s administration.

The factory’s total area amounts to 546,000 m2. Our up to date equipment allows us to manufacture the full range of high quality appliances. All products go through computer quality control. BEKO factory is a highly integrated production cycle plant that requires a strong labor force, but we are trying to develop a supplier network in our region as well.

We manufacture 2 categories of products at the factory: washing machines and refrigerators. But it does not mean that the assortment of goods BEKO LLC offers is limited only to these two categories. Our offer consists of wide assortment of products: dish washers, free standing ovens, dryers, built-in appliances and climate goods. In one word, the consumers can have a wide range of products according to their wishes, expectations and requirements.

How is BEKO LLC doing these days, especially given the present economy?

We have long-term potential in Russia. Over the years, we invested continuously in our business for more advanced production and new products. Our production volumes are also constantly growing. In 2007, the capacity of the factory’s production was 427,000 units ( WM - 283,000 units, Refr. - 144,000 units). But the results of 2015 showed practically double figures and corresponded to more than 750,000 units for both product categories.

More importantly, we have invested in our people and developed many experts, engineers and business managers. With our strong team, we are confident that we will be able to overcome all challenges and improve our position further despite current economic conditions. We develop projects with engineering schools and universities as well as our business partners. All companies and people should focus on development and improving efficiency to overcome economic problems, especially right now.

The increase in production quantities is not the only point we pay attention to. Our marketing strategy focuses on developing products that best fit the expectations of the Russian market. Our engineers pay special attention to Russian nuances and we have products for all tastes and consumer expectations.

Where can the consumer find BEKO branded products?

BEKO products can be found across all retail points in Russia: from the biggest to the smallest ones. We do business with all national chains and important players that are well known. But at the same time we also work with all regional customers. In short, I can say that our policy is to penetrate all corners of Russia.

What about service strategy? How it is arranged?

Special attention of the company is paid to after sales service support. The quality and customer satisfaction start from product design and production quality. This is one of BEKO’s strongest points. But still, we have direct contracts with professional authorized service centers around the country. The consumers just need call the BEKO Hot Line when needed and service is be arranged by BEKO specialists.

As the CEO of such a big company, what would you like to say to the market?

We are confident in our team and company as well as in Russia’s potential. It’s normal to face some problems from time to time. It’s the natural way of development. But if you have a professional team and the confidence to come out on top, you will be able to overcome all challenges. We have ambitious plans for the future and I have no doubt that we will be successful.

Note from Capital Ideas:

The Turkish company BEKO is a subsidiary of Arcelik A.S. that was founded in 1955 and headquartered in Istanbul. It is part of KocHolding and manufactures a wide range of home appliances. It is on the list of well-known veterans of the Russian market. The appliances produced by BEKO, from refrigerators and stoves to washing machines and dishwashers first appeared on the Russian market in 1997.

BEKO had a good start, and established a representative office in Russia in 1999. Later, the company took another important step: after securing second place on the list of the biggest manufacturers of home appliance in Europe, BEKO opened its own factory in Russia. The factory is located in Kirzhach, Vladimir Oblast, about 100km outside of Moscow.

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