“Since we can build today's developments into our lives, we have not lost our connection with the new generation”
Ünver Woodworking Machines General Manager Faruk Ünver and Production Manager Barış Ünver talked about the process of working together for the different generations. The father and son, who mentioned how valuable it is for the older generation to embrace and include the new generation in the game, as well as for the younger generation to benefit from the experience of the old, shared their efforts for the companies they work with, their ways of doing business and their advice to each other.
Family companies are the backbone of the Turkish economy. As far as the family businesses is concerned, we should not forget the different generations working together. Considering the companies managed by family members from different generations, although generational conflicts and economic activities that cannot be carried out come to mind, the number of companies that have left behind generational conflicts and accomplished successful works is not less. Ünver Woodworking Machines is an example to these companies… The founder of the company, Faruk Ünver, manages the company with his two sons and his goals for the future are quite ambitious. Ünver Woodworking Machinery General Manager Faruk Ünver and Production Manager Barış Ünver, who are guests of our Fathers and Children series, told about the ways their companies have gone through from past to present.
Faruk Ünver: I can summarize my view on this issue as union of forces and distribution of burden. But unfortunately, today, I am sad to witness that many successful family companies go back from the levels they deserve and even have to close down due to the dislike or not adoption of the work done by the new generation. In addition to these, even if they are in the minority, I observe some other companies that have made much faster progress with the second or even third generations compared to the first generations and this makes me happy.
Barış Ünver: Family companies constitute 95% of the enterprises in our country. The average rate of these companies in terms of reaching second generation is 30% and reaching third generation is 12%. As a family company, our goal is to transfer our production culture, knowledge and brand value to future generations. Experience is like climbing a mountain, the higher you climb, the more you are tired of, you are short of breath, on the other hand your vision increases. My brother and I are at the mountain foots as the second generation. I consider it a privilege to work together as we benefit from our father's experience and field of vision.
“As not every individual can be a doctor or a lawyer, they cannot be a manifacturer.”
Faruk Ünver: Sector companies in Europe are generally companies that were established many years ago and have come a long way. Therefore, most of the companies were able to put the institutionalization work into the system. Our biggest disadvantage is that the staff we teach the business while institutionalizing allows them to create new formations as competitors to our companies. This is a general formation, not just for our industry. The reason for this is that establishing a new company in Turkey is much easier than in Europe. Unfortunately, this situation creates obstacles for the growth of both companies and their financial and production forces. These conditions also highlight the importance of family firms. Thus, it is essential to have adequately educated family members in important key roles. In order to achieve the balance with Europe, the state should not allow the establishment of businesses that do not have financial competence, competence in the field of activity, or should control them regularly, instead of encouraging anyone who wants to do whatever they want.
Barış Ünver :Unfortunately, the partnership culture in family companies does not last long in our country. European companies have great advantages in branding and institutionalization due to their early start on this path. While European companies are growing by merging with a common working culture, companies in our country are getting smaller by dividing. This situation increases competition as well as reduces quality. For this reason, many companies can continue their activities without institutionalization. E.g; With the support of KOSGEB in our sector, many employees leave their place of work and establish a new business. However, most of these businesses are short-lived and pose a threat to companies that do their business properly in the market. For some reason; This is due to the fact that these companies do not conduct feasibility studies well without doing business. Not every individual can be a doctor or a lawyer, nor should they be a producer.
1984 On the Right Faruk Ünver
Faruk Ünver :Of course it should be institutionalized. The success of companies that cannot be institutionalized can continue for a while, usually based on the selfless work of certain individuals and their very good knowledge of the business. In such companies, when these people withdraw from the field, all knowledge and experience may disappear with them. I have witnessed many companies shutting down because they could not institutionalize and change their flag even though they have a young generation. This situation deeply saddens me. As my life motto; Since I have made it my way to learn from people who make mistakes as well as from successful people, I have always taken care to be careful in these matters, and I still do.
Barış Ünver :It must be institutionalized for long-term success. E.g; When it comes to institutionalization in our country, there is a thought that the bosses leave the job entirely to the professionals and withdraw from the job. However, institutionalization is when the members of the family are at work at key points, while the employees and the business become a system. The key point is to continue to run the business with minimum need for family members.
“Direction when neededthe need to changeWe continued on our way with the awareness of
Faruk Ünver :As a sector, I have had a very busy professional life with crises. Even though I was a child in those years, there were embargoes applied after the Cyprus Peace Operation in 1974 and then queues of absence in the domestic market. The economic crisis due to the military coup in 1980, the gulf crisis in 1990, the devaluation crisis in 1994, the economic crisis in 2001, the mortgage crisis in 2008… Now we are experiencing the epidemic crisis that has deeply affected the whole world since 2019. These are the first crises that come to my mind. Every crisis has its own unique situations. There are often opportunities at the end of the wounds of crises. Those who see these opportunities also catch rapid growth. In these crises, we continued on our way with the awareness that besides being determined and persistent without giving up, it is necessary to change direction instead of unnecessary insistence when necessary. Between 1980 and 2000, we produced classical reclining circle, milling and belt sanding machines and marketed other machines. Since the 2000s, we have produced multi-drilling machines, flatbed circles with plotters, panel sizing machines and marketed other machines according to the changing needs of the market. After the 2010s, besides the production of edge banding and door trim machines, we have evolved to supply and install all machines that will meet the needs of production companies at all levels.
Barış Ünver :The way our father advised to overcome the crisis environments with minimum damage; 50 percent export and 50 percent sales to the domestic market. When I started to work in 2014, only 20 percent of the turnover of our business consisted of sales made through exports. We had to keep up with the change and increase our export rate. We have created a 10-year roadmap for our company. For this reason, our primary goals were the development of the products we produce, the production of original new items, market research and participation in domestic and international fairs, researching foreign dealerships, and developing the after-sales technical support team. We have established dealerships abroad in England, Poland, Israel, Palestine and United Arab Emirates. As of this year, we export 90 percent of the products we produce to 45 different countries. Foreign sales constitute 70 percent of our overall turnover. In summary, we have brought your ship to this time as a company by producing quality machines in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, and by exporting more since the 2000s and 2010s.
“Education, ability, skill andI make assignments according to needs”
Faruk Ünver :I see that the biggest mistakes made by our family firms are that they do not prepare young people for business life. First of all, if they don't want to continue the same job and they don't like it, they shouldn't force it. If they are going to continue their business life in the company, it is very important and necessary to ensure that they either learn from the kitchen of the business or receive the necessary and sufficient training about their business. I came from the kitchen of the business due to the conditions of the time. I developed myself there. I did not include my two sons in the kitchen so that their education would not be disrupted. In addition, I recommended my eldest son Barış to choose one of the mechanical, electrical, electronic or industrial engineering if he is going to do this job while choosing a university. Barış graduated from the mechanical engineering department. I suggested that my youngest son, Burak, take a different department education such as economics and administrative sciences. He preferred the international trade department and graduated. If they had received the same training, there would have been more differences of opinion. They will be able to support each other by completing each other with trainings in different branches. I make decisions and make assignments based on education, abilities, skills and the needs of the company.
Barış Ünver : Firms must adapt to new economic conditions with their own capital. Most companies in the woodworking machinery manufacturing and furniture manufacturing sectors act with short-term plans. Companies cannot make accurate cost analysis with personnel expenses, operating expenses, tax expenses, depreciation expenses. Companies that cannot shrink when necessary, cannot adapt to innovations and changing economic conditions with the thought of what the society will say, cannot survive when there is a crisis in the sector or when competition increases. Due to incorrect product costing, they cannot make a profit in the long run, and they have to close.
“We must take a joint decision. I take care"
Faruk Ünver : Every company should have certain rules. In addition, these rules should be able to be revised according to the needs of the day and the new views created by young and dynamic minds. I always take care to make joint decisions for every job except routine work.
Barış Ünver : It is necessary to evaluate each period with its own dynamics. Machines produced with difficulty in the past years were in high demand due to the openness of the market and its continuous growth. Especially in the 1980s and 1990s, the machines were sold before they were produced and customers were waiting in line. Today, we have come to the conclusion that niche production is more valuable than price-oriented competition, and we have evolved in this direction since 2014 with our new production philosophy. With our new roadmap, we turned the mass production in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s into niche production. We produce machines with higher added value, which respond to customers' requests and where special designs and productions take place. Our goal is to become a brand abroad for the items we produce in the next 10 years and to increase our sales price per kilogram. Along with the machines we produce, we exhibit all the quality and affordable machine needs demanded by our customers in our store. Our new building is under construction. We are planning to move our store at the end of 2021 and our production at the beginning of 2022 and to provide our customers with more professional, fast and diverse service in our new location under one roof.
“Goods bought the easy way have no value before the buyer”
Faruk Ünver :While sales by check were very valuable in the past, we were making sales based on promissory notes and even words. In those years, there were some sinking ones, but the ones that were sinking next to the sufficient snow were not visible to our eyes. In the last 10 years, we have started to focus on the foreign market. As a result of this, our international sales have reached 70 percent of our overall turnover in the last five years. As a result of foreign sales, we were able to reduce the forward sales to almost non-existent levels in domestic sales as well. We are machinery manufacturers or dealers. In the past years, we made sales to buyers with very long terms as if they were financial supporters. The main reason for this was the pressure of some of our companies to turn very high volume production into sales. Other companies had to comply with this situation because of competition and market conditions. However, over time, we saw that some of our companies fell into economic tightness due to these conditions and therefore went to bankruptcy. My advice is to take out a loan without money, make financial leasing, start or grow your business with your own means. If we increase the financial support, it is our money, not the companies that fail. We have seen and experienced this many times. Aren't the hard-to-get things in life worthwhile anyway? Goods bought in an easy way have no value in front of the buyer. Therefore, if his job gets a little difficult, he can give up immediately because the money to sink will be someone else's. We have seen and experienced this many times. Aren't the hard-to-get things in life worthwhile anyway? Goods bought in an easy way have no value in front of the buyer. Therefore, if his job gets a little difficult, he can give up immediately because the money that will sink will be someone else's. We have seen and experienced this many times. Aren't the hard-to-get things in life worthwhile anyway? Goods bought in an easy way have no value in front of the buyer. Therefore, if his job gets a little difficult, he can give up immediately because the money that will sink will be someone else's.
“Totally own with our own resources”
Barış Ünver : Financial literacy and market foresight is very difficult in countries like ours, whose economy is growing and developing. Especially, today's epidemic conditions have turned all market habits upside down. Our cash assets are very limited and valuable in most businesses.
Except for a few items of raw materials and semi-finished products, we take utmost care not to cause high costs under the name of cash purchases and delay interest. In addition, since there may be supply shortages for some finished and semi-finished products during these periods, we pay attention to keep our stock levels at the highest levels as much as possible. We manage this process entirely with our own resources and without using any bank loans.
“Even if the young people know, If old people could…”
Faruk Ünver : This is actually the hardest question you've ever asked. There is a saying; “Even if the young know, if the old can do it…” I am a person who takes care to empathize. Therefore, I would suggest being tolerant towards young people, giving them opportunities, and benefiting from their dynamic and energetic performances.
Barış Ünver : Our father grew up as an apprentice in the market term. Me and Burak started this business by getting training. While taking the training, I think it is necessary to go into the kitchen of the job more and take responsibility. My advice would be to direct us to the kitchen of the business earlier.
“The most important principle that our father taught; Being open to innovations and lifelong learning”
Faruk Ünver : I consider myself lucky in this regard. Namely, the lifestyles of the grandfather and grandson of people who lived before the beginning of the 1900s were almost the same. In general, they continued and completed their lives in the same lands with the same lifestyle and local customs. However, it is very different today. I was able to see the radio at the age of five or six and the television at the age of ten. Our cell phone may have been in our early thirties. When I got my first computer, I was thirty-five, half way. The luck I mentioned at the beginning is that we managed to integrate today's developments into our lives, albeit late. This caused us not to break with the new generation. In addition, existing in the old generations; The thought of "I did it with little difficulty, I succeeded, the new generation is ready for free, let them try and succeed" fuels generation conflict. My view and approach; “I brought it to a certain level, how far can we go with the new generation of young minds?” has been. If this fusion is achieved, there will be no generation gap, I did not. In addition, if the truth we adopt and accept is not personal, but universal truth, there is no difference in truth between the younger generation.
Barış Ünver : We did not experience a generation gap because our advantage is that our father was a visionary person. Even when we disagree, we always take care to act with a common mind. Providing us with an environment where we can develop our business and supporting our decisions with their experiences form the basis of the environment in which we can achieve success. The most important principle that our father taught us; is to be open to innovations and lifelong learning, to do his job with love. Success and money are already coming as we embrace these principles.