We organized an interview with Mr. Burak Önder as General Manager of Lux Plastic. He got the word and we listened to him about the success story of the company: Lux Plastic, exporting plastic utensils to more than 83 countries in 5 continents, realizes nearly 75% of its production as export. Referring, once more again, to the importance of reaching more markets around the world, Mr. Önder claims that: “We need Turkey as a brand in the world."
What is Lux Plastic and what does your company do?
Plastic utensils, which had an expansion in recent years due to advanced technology and high quality production, continues to deliver quality and aesthetics in economic conditions. Especially the utensils companies choosing the way for branding, began to have a say across the globe. Today’s Turkey ranking after Italy, provides also a significant contribution to the land’s economy with its plastics manufacture. Producing in Silivri, Lux Plastic is one of the leading firms of the industry through its exports to more than 83 countries in 5 continents.
Lux Plastic is a successful company in this field. What is your export share and your target countries?
Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Colombia and Algeria are the first five countries to which we export intensively. In new period, we target the sub-Saharan markets. Today we are selling goods to Portugal and Portugal is selling these goods to Angola. Real African scene there differs from what we see here. African countries are potential markets for us. Who enters to these markets early, he wins. We are exporting 75 % of our production and we offer the rest to the domestic market. Our main customers consist of supermarket chains, discount stores and wholesalers. We are assertive especially in kitchen field. Our prices are close to those of China and our quality is close to European standards. Nowadays, Turkey is a good brand in the world. Therefore, we need to expand our brand to all around the world without restrictions. Because the sense of trust is the most important factor in trade. When you inserted confidence to people’s mind about this sector and made them say “Turkey is good” as a perception, it would be easier to deploy yourself better in the market.
What is the place of Turkey in the world in terms of plastic utensils?
This sector is becoming a brand in the world. Although Turkey is stepping further towards being a world’s land, there are still people in the Far East and South Africa who do not know yet where the location of Turkey op the world map is. However, the number of these latests are decreasing with each passing day.. Turkish cuisine is really good but we are not aware of our strength in this field. All we need is the design and I believe that we can succeed in it within a short time. We must introduce Turkish culinary industry to the world. Our location is very good and we are able to respond instantly to the customer. For example, when our customer sends an e-mail from a Far Eastern country at night at 24:00 o’clock, we can give him a response immediately. We have approximately 300 kinds of products. Despite the fact that they all have different prints, we can perform millions of prints monthly.
The plastic industry experienced a significant change in the last 6-7 years. This is a kind of race against the time. Therefore, companies could sell their products only to a limited point. That is why we must be on branding as much as possible as country. Turkish cuisine sector will have more facilitates if they can realize it. Of course we like to have been known in the world markets as country. We have come to a good point and it is inevitable for us to forward this.
What about the risks of the plastics?
There is no scientific evidence which can prove the plastics are harmful for human health. All of our products are made from premium quality raw materials. Second grade raw material may not even get in our factory. All of the paints we use are proper for food. Because our customers want to see the test results before they install the products. Also our molds are very good. We sell now the quality for affordable prices. Plastics industry has a very wide range. Plastics is used in many areas from healthcare sector to automotive industry, from food packaging to kitchen utensils. The most important thing is to produce the plastic kitchenware in appropriate circumstances compatible to the purpose of use. If the product is made from first-class material and if the proper food coloring is used, there would be no harm for human health and environment. The best recyclable and economic raw material is plastics. You can convert it over and over and you do not need high energy during this process. Likewise, you can also reduce the costs in the shipping. In short, plastics is an economical and easy convertible product.
What should be done for a better success in this field?
We must improve our designs.. The branding is also related to the assortment of products. For branding, we must respond to the needs of the customers instantly. We have pretty much products under the name of Lux Plastic. We have bowls for kitchen. We have cooky- and cream molds too. There are also containers and graters that called as salad groups. Storage containers are also available by us. We are mainly turning to non-market products. The image we want to create in the market is hearing that sentence from the customers: "This success could only be created by Lux Plastic". Therefore, we give great importance to R&D activities. There is a mix of imitation and innovation in the world. You can make it better by developing a good product. We watch the situation of the plastics sector in the world. We must follow our competitors. Italy is the world leader in design. Turkey ranks second after Italy. If we can improve our designs, we will have a strong say in the world markets. At that point, the Exporters’ Association of Turkey (TIM) is working very well.
Manufacturers and designers should catch a common language to create new projects and designs. You must start with design if you want to differ yourself from the others. Now we have the process in recognition of industrial designers. While manufacturers prefer salable designs, the designers are turning to produce more creative designs. Here a common language must be captured. Designers have also improved themselves. They already grasped that every detail is important for industrialists from production to transport. The design competitions and workshops organized by the exporters associations are also useful. I believe that much good works will be done in short term. Our companies should participate in fairs and should tend to be more energic towards the branding. When we take part in international fairs together with lots of companies, that would dispose the economical strength of our country. Because this accelerates the companies for the branding process, it would also contribute to the development of the industry and to abandon the production of poor quality. There is a market for all of us in the world. Our company has its own particular vision. We must not see each other as competitors in the industry, but we should be able to look at each other as colleagues and make corporations. In the past, there was not such an understanding in the sector, but it has began to emerge since the last couple of years.
Can we hear your last words?
Ok.. Design is indispensable for the sector. And a rational production is inevitable. We must not forget that Turkey made a long way in this course. We have to apply optimal methods for production and a good marketing to increase our profit margin by taking a more active role in the competition in general. To realize that, we must invest in brand and should watch over our customers. Henceforth, we must produce in a highly rational way but not by conventional methods. And we should create added value. The time of outsourced labor is already over and now we have to invest and create new brands. Turkish Ministry of Economy, Turkey Exporters Assembly and our exporters' unions have serious work on this issue. So the government supports the companies which want to introduce their brands abroad.