Nursacan, “The mattress industry should prove its independence identity. It should not be squeezed under other industries!”
Established in 1995 Milkay has been operating in recycling business gaining 90 tons of textile wastes annually to the economy and exporting to over 50 countries. Having a daily felt production capacity of 150 tons the company is growing in exports, too. Mr. Tahir Nursacan, general manager of Milkay, says that the sector is a good industry for recycling. Nursacan detailed the problems of the industry and offered solutions for them in an exclusive interview he granted to Sleep Tech. Full text of the interview follows:
Could you outline your activities? How do you contribute to the recycling industry?
Our company was established to serve the furniture sub-industry twenty years ago. We only had felt production line when we first started this business. We later continued to develop and grow. As the final step we installed our seventh production line with our own opportunities and facilities. The felt industry was a tough business for us because it is not a practical industry for recycling. In Turkey, the recycling business is unfortunately not respected very much. You, for instance, buy the wastes of textile workshops in Istanbul and carpet factories in Gaziantep and add value to them but you are not respected for this. Others don’t know the value of this work. Besides, you face some difficulties. One of these troubles is a problem that we face in differentiation of raw materials. People consider the raw materials as trash and throw any harmful materials which eventually stop your production, damage your machinery or cause similar big problems during manufacturing. We are also struggling with these types of problems. On the other side, some people see that we gain money from trash they consider increasing its value. You have to pay 30 kurus to throw trash in Kayseri today. For instance, we have to pay TRL 2.20 this year for carpet waste which we would buy for 1.30 Turkish Lira last year. We pay this difference but we couldn’t reflect this over our felt prices. Ours is a sector having these types of problems and our industry is squashed under the furniture industry. This is not something wrong we should admit. The price of raw materials to be thrown to the trash has been very high today.
Turkey grasped felt production from Italy
Italy quit felt production. We keep hearing that companies left felt production every day. As Turkey we achieved this and we manage the sector. We are almost capable to compete with China in this. But the labor costs increased too much at our side. These can be overcome but we hope that our competitors support the industry and our sector will progress better.The usage of recycled materials yield a fact that we really buy those products for less cost. The added value of those products is low. However, the usage place is right over the springs. If you don’t use felt at this level you will have to use an alternative and that will cost three times more. The prices of synthetic products were dropped down in recent years. But unfortunately we pay 60% when we buy recycling materials. The government should manage this and should motivate the industry.
Is felt an unhealthy product?
We made measure of this. Can a product heated 220 degree be unhealthy? Besides, we have dust-absorbing systems at our production lines. All bacteria are whipped away until the final process of production. We have reports and documents from various universities proving that our products are produced from natural and synthetic fibers and that they don’t contain any hazardous or carcinogenic materials. Being unhealthy of a mattress is totally up to its usage format. If you don’t change your mattress after 2 or 3 years, there will be bacteria and the mattress will naturally be unhealthy. In addition, in order to mention felt’s being unhealthy, we should be talking about felt’s disperse and air should be circulate through and you should be breathing that air. It is a fact that if you open a mattress that our felt was used after ten years, you will see that the felt stays securely. We guarantee this.
Innovation in felt
There has been a friend asking us “Can you produce felt with chocolate aroma?” You have to innovate in line with expectations according to the usage places of the product. If it were at a place where human body touches you would have more expectations. But instead, since it is used a few layer below the touchable level, it doesn’t have to smell at all. But we are considering if we could use 100% cotton instead of polyester in the felt. We are conducting these types of R&D studies.
What makes you different from other companies?
The major factor with us is that we stand behind our product. All customers both at domestic and international markets know this fact. There is no product which we don’t stand behind. For felt is a strategic product. This is something which can cause returning the mattress. We have never experienced a case like this until now. Our season starts in May and continues until December. Activity is less during the period from January till May. We prefer the companies which work with us throughout the year. The process requires loyalty and honesty. Other companies purchase periodically. Companies not acting like this are against the standard ethics of trade and we don’t prefer working with those types of companies.
We are passengers in the same boat
Those who are familiar with me know that I never accept making the work which somebody else is doing. I strictly follow my cultural, ethical and spiritual rules. But whoever produces a product that Turkey is importing, I respect him. But still, we don’t have to play with one another to do this. We are travelling in the same boat. Turkey is a market. There are around 1400 flour factories at this market for instance and most of them are wasted investments. If the market needs only 500 flour factories, why should we build more? The government and chambers of industry should control this. We cannot develop further unless we do such works and controls. We should produce the products which we import.
We will realize innovations rather than growing
We are not considering growing in the sector from now on. This volume is enough for us. Instead, we will consider what we can innovate in the sector and what other sectors we can do something. We export even to America today. We are planning to choose more lucrative
type of customers and do more profitable business with them.
Everybody owns his own product
There is no one else to keep an eye on your product in the sector. Unfortunately there is no respect for the product made. I can say this very confidently. Sellers should respect the production of the supplier so that the companies can develop better. Another point I would like to comment on is about fairs. The fairs are very important from the standpoints of countries and exports. The government should do its best to motivate the Turkish companies to exhibit at international fairs held in abroad. The officials should visit those fairs and should consider how to increase attendance. I would like to mention one of my experiences at this point. I had gone to a show as a visitor. There was only one Turkish firm at that fair. I was affected very much to see the Turkish flag there. I congratulated the exhibitor. The number of Turkish exhibitors in that fair increase in the following years and I was very happy to see this.
Turkey is bigger than Istanbul capital
A foreign company has participated in another fair with 150 personnel and a space of 2,500 square meters. A few Turkish companies could find small spaces for themselves in that same fair. I believe the state officials would be very upset if they had seen that situation. We wouldn’t experience these types of problems if we support our producers and we grow better. Our country is not only consisted by Istanbul market. The smaller companies in Anatolia should be noticed as well.
A final remark
Turkey is at an important position and has a promising future. We should get rid of problems among us. As the motto reads, united we stand, divided we fall. We should carry the national position to better places altogether.