Interview with Turgut Taskin, General Manager at Huaming Turkey
Huaming in Turkey
Huaming Turkey is a joint venture of Shanghai Huaming, a majority shareholder with 51% stake in the investment, and two Turkish investors holding the remainder 49% of the ownership. Both Turkish investors are very much involved in transformers business – one is a producer of insulation materials for transformers, and the other is engaged in the trade and supply of transformer components.
My first introduction to Huaming products occurred at the time when I was with Alstom, in the period between 2000 and 2009, when we were looking to bring one more supplier of tap-changers to the market in order to create a more competitively advantageous supply chain. Through this cooperation Huaming entered the market as a serious player. Later on, when Huaming made a new investment, they approached me to lead the company here in Turkey. This was an exciting and a really great challenge for me; an opportunity to make this product better positioned in the existing market and to bring it into new markets.
The idea to set up a plant in Turkey came about because of the need to better cover some regional markets such as Turkey, Middle East, and North Africa. But also, it was line with the management’s dedication to being closer to these markets and penetrating new markets where Huaming had not been present. Selecting the right location for the factory was very important. The plant is located in Balikesir, which is quite convenient considering that in Balikesir we already have one transformer OEM. Only two hours away, there is another OEM. We are also located two hours from GE, and four hours from Astor. So, the plant is very well located to serve customers and the location is also very convenient for transportation purposes since there are two main ports close to our location that we use for export purposes.
The initial challenge was to establish the company itself. Following that, I simply received an empty factory of about 8,000 square metres of closed area, where today we can produce up to 2,000 units per year. I was the first employee of the company, so everything was done from scratch. Factory layouts, production and testing equipment selection, installation of this equipment with the suppliers and our own workforce – all this was completed within six months, thanks to the commitment of our employees. We started the work in mid-2015, and by 2016 everything was in place to start the production.
Since then we have been growing exponentially, doubling our turnover every year, and we have reached the stage where we manufacture around 700-800 units per year. Currently we assemble the tap-changers here, but at the same time we are running a feasibility study on how far we can go with producing parts and components in Turkey, including MDU, diverter switch, tap-selector, etc. This study shows that currently we can manufacture up to 70% of all parts in Turkey. We are negotiating with local suppliers of parts of course, and comparing our costs with Shanghai. What we already see is that in the coming years we can go for local production as well.