OUR MAIN GOAL IS TO MAKE OUR SUCCESS CONTINUOUS
* Stating that being a know-how-based company is the main factor in Tora Petrol’s success today, Fatih Akın said, “Making a company a know-how company and creating a brand is not only possible by taking technical staff and sitting them at the table and giving them tasks. This is an achievement that has been achieved over many years, through the acquisition of a certain culture,” he said.
Fatih Akın, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tora Petroleum, whose views we received about the works, investments and goals of Tora Petrol, which continues its investments in this direction by seeing that permanent success is possible by investing in people and knowledge, answered our questions by saying, “It is our main goal to make our success permanent.”
Could you tell us a little bit about the work of Tora Petrol, an engineering company, and its struggle to achieve its current success?
The biggest factor in Tora Petrol’s success is that we are a know-how based company. For this reason, it is known as a Tora engineering company both in the country and abroad. In fact, in the past, this feature of ours has created doubts that we are the right choice in terms of trade for some international suppliers with whom we want to make a representation agreement, whereas today we see that it is only possible to represent a product strongly and give it the market share it deserves with solid knowledge and technical support.
With the position Tora has reached in the sector today, the world-leading products it represents, and the selective customer portfolio it serves, it has once again been understood how right it is in investing in knowledge and people.
In particular, our ability to research and find our fields of activity ourselves, to develop them by taking into account the conditions in Turkey and to adapt them to the market has enabled us to be successful in the sector. When our company is compared to the companies in its sector on a world scale, Tora’s engineering knowledge and know-how are not found in any other company. This feature gives us many advantages in terms of entering new fields and competitive opportunities. Making a company a know-how company is not just by taking technical staff and making them sit at the table and giving them tasks. This is a long-standing achievement through the acquisition of a certain culture. The price is heavy, the return is mostly long-term. We have persistently made our biggest investment in people.
It was of great benefit to us to move to our current location, which includes all our units. There were difficulties such as our revision workshop, the places where the Field and Equipment tests were carried out, and the places where the tests were carried out in separate places in the past. We have provided great convenience by gathering all our units in a single structure in our current location. Most importantly, we were very relieved in terms of logistics. In addition, while supplying some products we bring from abroad, we use a free zone adjacent to our new location. The fact that the Free Zone is very close to us makes our work easier and increases our efficiency. Due to the value we attach to people, we have also had the opportunity to do much more social activities thanks to the spaciousness of our new place and the creation of additional resting and activity spaces. We can perform many social activities such as chess, table tennis, concerts, etc. more comfortably here.
Starting from 2014, we started our employees in company-sponsored healthy living and sports activities and we were very pleased with the very high participation.
In our new meeting rooms equipped with advanced technological equipment, we are able to hold faster and more efficient meetings for our customers. We have places here where we will provide extra training. In our training rooms, 50 people can be trained at the same time. In terms of environmental factors, we have a beautiful area and garden. We offer many opportunities for our employees to work in a comfortable environment. In addition to all these, as always, we have ensured that all materials are directed from a single place in terms of safety, and that logistics and security services are carried out in a healthy way.
For the past two years, we have employed technical staff to support sales to our regional services within Tora. By doing this in all regions, we have provided continuous training and adapted them to the sector. Our work in the field of education will continue continuously. By following the developments in the world, we take the innovations related to our sector and train our employees about these innovations. In order to increase the knowledge of our dealers on “Carwash”, which we have been working on for the last two years, we took it to the facilities in Germany and trained it there. These trainings were very useful. After completing the first tunnel installation, we have achieved a lot of success here. Previously, this product was intended to be sold in Turkey, but it was not successful. It is not enough to sell a product, a serious technical competence is required in order to install the product after selling the product, to provide after-sales services and technical support, and to maximize the benefits of the product to the dealer and the user. Thanks to Tora’s engineering know-how, we have been able to maximize product quality and customer benefits. Continuing training activities in order to sustain the success achieved By having it done, we have carried more detailed information to the companies you serve and enabled them to take their knowledge to the next level in terms of products and services provided. As Tora, I think we have achieved all these issues on a company basis and even with personal sacrifices without commercial concerns.
You are the distributor of Gilbarco, one of the best companies in the world in its field. Have you been able to reach the place you deserve in the Turkish market with your relations with this company and the Horizon pump you brought from this company? Can we get information about new product studies?
We bring the “Horizon” pump, which is located in the top segment of Gilbarco. The smoothly running “Horizon” pump took its rightful place in the Turkish market in a short time. I think that information is very important in the rapid growth of market share for “Horizon”. The market is limited to what you can explain the value you have well. I think we have explained the features of our product well to the market. We are not a company that is comfortable when we are successful. Our main goal is to make our success permanent.
In addition to our existing products, we have a new pump initiative that is more economical. We will also bring in a second pump. This product is a product that we will bring together with investors who have a more limited economy in areas far from cities. 2, which is completely in the “Gilbarco” standard. We aim to launch a pump by the end of the year. We designed this pump, which is unique to Turkey, together with “Gilbarco”. All parts, hydraulics, electronics and technology will be completely “Gilbarco”. There is a point in the world where Horizon has reached aesthetically. When we go to North America and Canada, which are very large users of Gilbarco, “Gilbarco” is the market leader. “Horizon”, which is sold there under the name “Encore”, is used in 2 out of every 3 stations. The fact that the production is in very large quantities necessitates the establishment of an international continuous standardization in spare parts and other elements of this product. Our relationship with Gilbarco is very solid. We are very pleased with the trust that Gilbarco has shown in us. For the first time, the “ATEX” assembly line for the “Red Jacket” submersible pump was established in Turkey after the United States and Italy. This is very important in terms of showing the trust placed in us. Companies in America and Italy are also their own companies. For the first time, Gilbarco allowed the installation of an “ATEX” assembly line in a company other than its own company, and we were authorized to assemble “ATEX”. For the first time in the history of Gilbarco, a company of more than 100 years, we have received such trust. We proudly carry this pride on behalf of our country. The fact that Gilbarco trusts us so much can be seen as a sign that we can do some things together in the future. Over time and if our staff is ready, we can start to produce some products in Turkey. People aspire to some opportunities too early. It is not important to aspire too early, the important thing is to reach a certain maturity, it is very important to have prepared and sustainable staff. In order to have sustainable staff, there must be a serious infrastructure work. It is very important to make your infrastructure suitable for this. Otherwise, the chances of success in the business entered are low. One-off achievements are not our goal. It is one of our important goals to ensure that customers are satisfied with us and maintain their continuity. As Tora Petrol, we have created a more permanent core staff. This year, we have established Microsoft’s “Navision Management System”. Although well-established and large companies implemented this management system, they could not make it sustainable, and they failed and abandoned it. We have finally made it sustainable. This took us about 2 years. In this way, everything can be seen transparently. The work we do in this field increases the trust of companies in us.
What other innovations have you made this year on the basis of products?
There is a lot that can be said on a product basis. As soon as we entered the “Carwash” business, we developed “Total Oil Turkey” and “Hobbywash” and started to implement them. Previously, many car users would get the job done with “Jetwashes.” Hobbywash “” is the top version of “Jetwash”. It is highly qualified and offers a wide range of options to a wide range of customers and car users. This is a new topic. “Carwash” is going well. “We have built a very extensive tunnel in Carwash and the second one is on the way. From the customer’s point of view, such products are huge returns for stations in the competitive and declining profit margin conditions of our time.
Although I am a petroleum engineer and have worked in the past in the exploration and production of fossil products, it is an inevitable fact that the usage areas of fossil products will change and will be replaced by other transferable alternative energy types, especially in the automotive sector. For this reason, we carry out studies in the fields of alternative and environmentally friendly energy (I call it earth-friendly, my personal opinion is that the future of our world and new generations depends on how positively we evaluate these alternatives). Our research in this area has reached a certain maturity. Our investments continue and our work in this area will be clearer by the end of the year. Apart from these, we have organized some meetings with companies that are not directly related to our market but have common markets, and we are trying to identify some joint working areas with these companies. We plan to announce one of our studies in this field in your Journal before the end of the year. When this is achieved, we will bring a different application to the fuel sector. At the same time, we are starting to bring tanker equipment related to “ADR” as new product. It is very important for our company to be able to take some proper steps by dreaming of the future of gas stations. 80% of the content of our R&D meetings is within the framework of what other innovations we can make and what more we can offer to the sector. Most of the people who work in Torah are researchers, innovators, creative, people who use human intelligence to the fullest, who can challenge the conditions and look at it from different perspectives.
We have a 2015 process ahead of us. How do you prepare for this process as Torah?
Regardless of market conditions, laws and regulations, country policies, we always look at the issue with a customer-oriented approach. When you provide a service that will bring additional profit to the companies, the companies will gladly pay for this service. The cost of a tunnel type machine in car washing is very high. It costs as much as opening a simple station with a few pumps in a small location. But when the operator sees that he will increase this price in 6 months and start making a profit from now on, he gladly makes this investment. As long as money-making solutions are offered to operators. In order to offer these solutions, your infrastructure, technology and R&D unit must be very good. In the past, we have worked with a few companies on how to use the stations more economically, how to save energy, how to benefit from the equipment used in a waste-free and healthy way, and to take measures to prevent the use of unnecessary energy. We carried out these studies on a dealer basis and presented our suggestions to the companies. Companies that started working in line with these suggestions achieved savings of close to 30%. Even if you can’t bring extra income at your station, even a 30% reduction in the money out of your pocket with the implementation of these measures is a huge income.
It is very difficult to see all the things that may happen in 2015 at once. Since the distribution companies cannot see this, it would not be right for us to pontificate here. Turkey has gone through very troubled times and bottlenecks in the past. Although there is a recession in the sector today, there is no bottleneck. These investments will eventually be made. People postpone their investments because they want some things to become clearer. There is no such thing for us service companies. We have to do what we know is right. We need to do everything we can and then be able or ready to adapt to the situations that will arise in the market.
However, there is a point that is of vital importance, and of course, I cannot pass without mentioning this issue here. If you try to provide the service that should be provided in 10 time units when the service is compressed into time, in 5 time units, the price to be paid for the same service deserves 10 liras, while in case of a request to pay 5 liras, you will disrupt the quality, the support of the service provided and most importantly, the continuity. If you have spent 1 unit of money here, after a while you will have to spend 1 more unit of money in the same place. Unfortunately, this is the most backward issue in our country. It is necessary to plan the quality of a service and the logic in the application very accurately. Otherwise, you can improve everything as a physical image side, but if its function remains sterile, it will not be permanent. The main thing is the quality of service. I have never seen the importance that should be given to service quality in the market in the past years. Today, 120 people work at Tora Petrol and we are trying to provide the best service to the fuel industry with more than 400 qualified people together with our regional services. If the commercial profitability of the company is the only parameter, this will be insufficient and it cannot be expected that a certain service will be provided here. Since our industry is a very dangerous sector, its quality and mind must be very sound. It is imperative that the people who do the job are competent. If we could increase and improve the quality here, I think this sector would easily meet the financial side. Not because the buyer has a lot of money in the sector, but because of the mistakes made, so much extra has been spent so far that this sector has been financially weakened due to these wasteful money. The main reason for the lack of money in the sector is that the work is not done correctly from the beginning, and unnecessary and unnecessary expenditures are made due to poor quality work. Misdirections, periodic savings, and the lack of correct, scientific and future-oriented investments caused money to be wasted. Therefore, the works that could be completed correctly and completely at once were done repeatedly, leading to financial losses.
In my opinion, these are the topics that the units working in the field of energy in the state should concentrate on. The quality of the work and ensuring that it is done by competent people should be the main parameter. In recent years, the government and the sector have been giving us hope with stirrings such as meetings and consultations on some topics. There are more accurate regulations than in the past. Lately, I have seen more positive approaches from the state. If you ask if this is enough, it is not enough. And it will never be enough. It is always necessary to look for the better.
It should be ensured that the necessary rules and sanctions for the provision of quality service are implemented as soon as possible. For this, it is necessary to supervise the work done by forming a certain technical team and to ensure that the work is done in a quality manner. A council should be established as soon as possible in the field of state technical competence and will include institutions and organizations such as the main distribution companies, fuel dealers, contractors, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, Fire Brigade, TSE, local governments, etc. As a result, what we always need is to provide quality and deserved service to this sector with the principle of continuity without endangering human life.
If we think of a large cruise ship, the comfort of the cruise ship and good food are not the only priority. It is equally important here that the boiler room is working very well. It is necessary to ensure that the devices that work as well as the commercial life of the ship, the boiler room, also have a life and that they work in a healthy and proper manner during this period. This can be achieved with competent personnel and correctly selected equipment.
Who wants a joyless and tasteless sluggishness that looks glamorous from the outside with a cheap ticket, but is extremely uncomfortable during travel, full of malfunctions and does not arrive at its destination on time?
What are your goals for this year as Tora Petrol? Will you be able to reach your year-end goals? In which countries do you work abroad besides the domestic market?
As it is known, there are problems in Turkey’s neighbors. Previously, due to our cooperation with Gilbarco, we were supplying both Gilbarco’s materials and services to some countries. Since Iraq, Azerbaijan and Cyprus are under our jurisdiction, we serve them. Our work has slowed down a bit, especially due to the events in Northern Iraq. However, with the cessation of these events, our activities here will continue to increase again. We sell some equipment and services of our own design to markets farther away from our country. As Tora Petrol, we are currently working in line with our goals. Companies that know the service provided by Tora, the quality of service, and the solutions we offer continue to work with us. In this direction, our customer portfolio is increasing day by day.
Finally, as a servant of the sector, I wish a healthy, safe and peaceful world to our friends who contribute to the entire sector. Work done in peace and tranquility is more efficient.