Osman Güler, Elektroteks Chairman of the Board of Directors and IBIA President welcomed Sleeptech editor Furkan Akar in his office to give an interview. Güler answered questions about the ISPA EXPO 2022 Fair, in which Elektroteks will take part as a participant, and IBIA, he is the chairman.
Can we get your predictions about the short and long term effects of ISPA EXPO 2022 on the mattress sub-industry and technologies sector?
As you know, ISPA EXPO Fair is one of the biggest fairs in the world that exhibits mattress sub-industry and technologies. In this fair, where 197 participating companies from 23 countries will exhibit their products, the USA has the largest participation due to the fact that the majority is the host. Turkey ranks second with 24 participating companies. Hopes are high for this fair where 9 companies from Canada, 7 companies from Italy and 6 companies from China will participate. As Turkey, this intense participation is an honorable commercial activity and it is an indication of the importance we attach to its market in the USA. In the last two years, as the fairs were cancelled due to the pandemic, we as sector could not attend any fairs, and we are looking forward to this fair.
I hope İSPA EXPO 2022 Fair will not be canceled and two years later we will have mutual meetings with our customers, evaluate the sector’s progress and have the opportunity to work with new projects. Our country is the largest supplier country of America and neighboring countries after China. Because the USA is the region we as firm exported the most in the last three years, we as Elektroteks are very hopeful about this fair. We also have a business in the USA, although our company is not very big. This is increasing our strength here.
What are your expectations from ISPA EXPO 2022 Fair as a company? What is the priority order of the US market for your company?
As Elektroteks, we exported 25% of our production in 2019, 33% in 2020 and 38% in 2021 to the America continent. If we look at our growth rate in the region in 2020, we have grown by 56% compared to the previous year. We achieved a growth of 77% in 2020 and 92% in 2021. These figures show the importance we attach to this region and our strength here. Furthermore, we, as a company, have a significant share in this region in terms of mattress machines. We are one of the suppliers of the largest mattress manufacturers in the USA. The USA is a huge market for our country. Our country has become an attractive supply country and last year due to the supply problems in China, and we reached the level of 13 billion dollars in exports to the USA with a total growth of 45%. While the world is experiencing a global supply crisis, if we can make smart moves in this fair, not just as Elektroteks, but as Turkish exporters by rightly evaluating our studies, this can be a glory for our sector and we can double our exports to the USA.
Our country’s exports to the USA increased by 45% compared to the previous year and reached the level of 13 billion dollars. How does the export of our industry to the USA gain momentum with the ISPA EXPO Fair?
As I just mentioned, I hope that our fair crisis, which started with ISPA EXPO 2020 and lastly continued with the postponement of India Mattress Tech Expo in India and Sleep Expo Middle East in Dubai due to the pandemic process that emerged two years ago, ends with the realization of ISPA EXPO 2022 and we find the opportunity to meet with our customers.
We stayed away from our customers because we could not find the opportunity to hold a fair for a long time. We are continuing our trade by making short trips or online communication channels regarding partial supplies. However, online meetings are not a substitute for meeting with tens or even hundreds of customers at the fair. One-on-one meetings will give acceleration to us, suppliers and mattress manufacturers, in order to evaluate the course of the sector and produce new projects.
As I have just mentioned, if we, as Turkish exporters, can evaluate our work in this fair correctly and make smart moves, it will be glory for our sector and we can double our exports to the USA.
What kind of benefits will the resumption of the fairs and the continuation of their sustainability have on Turkey’s exports? Can we get your opinions?
I hope the fairs will start again, hundreds of manufacturers and customers will come together face to face. They evaluate the course of the industry and realize new projects together. As the fairs start, the way of trade is opened again. Thus, we and our country reach much better export levels.
Can you mention the vision that IBIA will follow in 2022 and the mission it will undertake?
Our association, we made application for founding about a year ago, has covered a long distance in a short time. In a period of one year, we reached 120 members by adding nearly 75% of the companies that supply the mattress sector in our country, to our association, and we succeeded in making a very good synergy ambience. All our customers and members are happy with this union. Our vision is to represent the mattress industry in the most effective way at home and abroad and to help make brands that are accepted around the world. Our mission is to consolidate the unity of the mattress industry, to lead the development of the sector, to protect the rights of the companies in the sector and to increase completion power.
At what stage are we at the IBIA EXPO 2022 Fair, which is planned to be held in October?
We saw the size and power of the sector in the statistical study we did among us. This excited us and we took action to organize a sectoral fair in Turkey, which is one of our main projects. After our general assembly, we started the fair work quickly and organized the IBIA EXPO 2022 Fair, which will be held between 6 – 9 October. We shared our fair area, which will take place on an area of sixteen thousand square meters in the 5th, 6th and 7th halls of the Istanbul Expo Center, among our members in a very short time, and we can say that there is no free space with our portfolio of more than 100 exhibitors. Because we gave priority to our association members, we did not invite foreign participant companies so far. But in order to add color to the fair and gain an international title, we had planned 20% international participation. But due to the high demand of our members, we were able to allocate an area of 10%. In order to make additional space, we are in talks with the IFC management.
Our friends and I personally visited customers in furniture fairs of the furniture sector in Italy, Russia and Istanbul. During these visits, we introduced our association and our IBIA EXPO 2022 fair. From now on, we will participate in all sectoral fairs and make the necessary promotions at the maximum level. We will work to invite mattress manufacturers, from the smallest to the largest, to our fair and bring them to Istanbul. We will try to host the mattress producer giants of the world in Istanbul by making use of our 150.000 Euro share from the fair budget and government incentives. By cooperating with furniture sector associations in Turkey, we will reach all mattress manufacturers in our country and ensure that they visit our fair.
What kind of influence do you expect the fair to have in both domestic and foreign trade?
Thanks to our fair, our customers manufacturing mattress will reach many new supply companies that they do not know or even know exist, and they will be introduced to new technologies and product types by making an alternative supply chain.
Our fair participants will meet with the authorities of the worldwide mattress giant manufactures and many new mattress manufacturers face to face.
Thanks to this fair, it will add many things to our customers, exhibitors and trades, such as quality, performance, cost and wide product range. And most importantly, according to my personal opinion, it will provide an export increase of at least 20%-25%, to the Turkish mattress industry.
As IBIA President, can we learn about your projections and targets regarding the export figures and rankings for the new year?
Turkey ranks number 14 in the world in mattress production with 408 million dollars. It ranks number 5 with its mattress export with 256 million dollars. The exports of IBIA member companies, that is, the exports of companies that provide sub-industry products and technology to mattress manufacturers, are over 2 billion dollars and this sector, of which total volume is around 3 billion dollars, provides employment for 25 thousand people.
I think that we can double our exports to the USA by doing correct and good work at the ISPA fair held in the USA, which is the most dense supply chain after China. Again, due to the supply problem originating from China, I think and believe that our exports will increase by at least 20%-25% with the fairs and other events we will organize as IBIA members. But, of course, there is a transformation in the world in terms of balance elements. Increasing costs in all countries due to the supply container and chip crisis issues in China destabilized the industry. Despite everything, production in our country still remains attractive due to its geographical location and low labor costs. Furthermore, new investments and new young companies have started to operate in Turkey in recent years. If we can make smart moves and use our attractive position correctly, we will succeed in getting a big share of the cake of the world mattress industry in the international fairs that we participate intensively in and the İBİA EXPO fair that we organize as an Association.
I am very hopeful; I see this excitement and hope in my colleagues who are members of the association.
I believe that we will increase the production and export figures in a very short time.