Cable Manufacturers Association (Kabloder) Chairman Erkan Aydoğdu:
"In the recent period, we have detected in the sector
a high level of production which are non-compliant with the standards, this situation both jeopardizes the safety of life and property of those using these products and affects negatively the image of our country"
In the General Assembly held on March 14th, Turkish cable producers which were operating before under the name Cable and Conductive Manufacturers Association changed their name to Cable Manufacturers Association-Kabloder. What led to this change, what are the projects-targets of the new management in the cable sector? We talked about all of these subjects with the Cable Manufacturers Association (Kabloder) Chairman Erkan Aydoğdu.
You have changed the corporate identity of your association. You changed the association’s name and logo. What are the reasons for this change?
When our association was established about 20 years ago, the structure of our sector was very different than today. In this process, the world has changed, our sector has changed and the necessity of responding to the need for this change has arisen in terms of our Association's identity. Therefore, in the General Assembly held on March 14th, we took a decision to continue with the name of Cable Manufacturers Association-Kabloder with the participation of 20 companies, which are the leading members of the Turkish cable sector and our Association. We believe that our association's new name; Kabloder, has both responded to this need for change and removed the confusion created by the old name of our Association (Conductor). We have a new name and new corporate identity, yes, but our point of view is the same, since the first day we were founded, we continue to operate for the benefit of the Turkish Cable Sector.
What changes will be made in the association's works during the new management period that takes place in your presidency?
We are in a very busy working period for about a year with the Kabloder where I’m the Chairman. Since its establishment, Kabloder has been working to continuously increase the add value to its sector and country by providing services exceeding expectations of its members. Increasing awareness of the companies on the quality production, increasing the number of inspections, conveying the results of the use of poor quality cable, protection of safety of life and property of consumers are among the reasons for the emergence of Kabloder.
On the one hand, we continue studies to enforce corporate structure and to increase recognition of our association, on the other hand, we plan to make studies to maintain and continue previous and ongoing issues with the Turkish Republic Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology and the Turkish Republic Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning, and to carry out quality inspections of cables entering our country as imports and to prevent inappropriate import products.
As association, we will continue to collect samples from the products in the local market at different times and to conduct market surveillance, and to share the results with the Turkish Standards Institute and the Turkish Republic Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology. On the other hand, we continue to collaborate with other active non-governmental organizations such as Association of Turkish Building Material Producers (IMSAD) and Association of Electronic Engineers (ETMD) and we continue to be a close follower of the sector related problems and demands by representing the cable sector in all official public enterprises and in all kinds of platforms.
What are the main problems you have identified in the cable sector as the new management? What are your plans for solving these problems?
In the recent period, in the sector we have detected that production which are non-compliant with the standards are unfortunately in a high level. We absolutely should eliminate this problem. Especially related to its proximity to countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, due to the geographical location of our country, the importance of our cable sector in the region is great. Nonetheless, the fact that quality perception is behind the European countries such as England and Germany and that production is not in accordance with the standards both jeopardizes the safety of life and property of those who use these products and negatively affects the image of our country. However, many thinks would change if we are aware of the importance of the work we are doing and the impact of this work on the sector and on our country, but from this point of view, we can improve our sector.
Regarding this issue, we met with the officials of the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology on December 22, 2017. We held a meeting where the Turkish Standards Institute (TSE) officials were present and the situation of the Turkish Cable Sector was discussed. We also had the opportunity to share the 2018 action plan. In the action plan of our Association, there are subject headings such as increasing market surveillance activities in the cable sector which is vital for security to prevent improper production and distribution, creation of a special Inspection Team consisting of 20 persons, providing regular exchange of information between the Kabloder and the Ministry of Science, Industry and Commerce, inclusion of the cable sector in the “focused auditing” by the Ministry, informing the public on the tests made with different tools and on the detected nonconformities, making the ALO 130 Complaint Line more efficient, organizing a Cable Workshop in the first month of 2018 and bringing the parties with the Periodic Review Meetings to be held during certain periods of the year.
Within the scope of close studies with Ministries and public institutions; 93% of the samples we collected from the different producers on the market in the recent period did not meet the standards. We will continue to collect, test and share these results with the relevant institutions.
We hope that, in the future, we will all see the results of these studies.
Innovation, R&D, industry 4.0 are concepts we hear often in recent years. What do these concepts mean for the cable sector? Can Turkish cable producers make the definition of these concepts?
Yes, these concepts are extremely important and they are now exactly within the cable sector. The amount of cables used in buildings is increasing steadily related to acceleration of the transition towards more high-rise buildings thanks to the growth of the Turkish construction sector and related to introduction of technologies such as the Internet of Objects and Industry 4.0; thus increasing amount of flammable material, in turn, increases the risk of fire. With the increase in density of the cables used in the new generation buildings, required qualifications in the cables became: having a design not to jeopardize the safety of life and property and to improve their performance against fire, to transmit more data faster and with less space. The cable industry is also using a new generation of innovative cable technologies that can keep pace with evolving technology, while keeping up with changing regulations and doing R & D studies on fire-proof cable production.
Export is indispensable for the cable sector ... What kind of activities are you targeting on this issue as association? Do you consider state-funded foreign market research activities?
The Turkish cable industry has reached a level which can compete in the international cable sector and export to all the countries of the world with international standards of production technology, educated workforce, R&D studies and increasing quality awareness. In recent years, according to studies and statistics made by institutions such as Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) and Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), the total size of local and international sales of the Turkish cable sector is around 4-5 billion USD. The fact that our annual export figure is about 2 billion USD and about 40% of the sector is exported, is the greatest indication of the importance of our cable sector in the region, especially related to its proximity to the countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East due to the geographical location of our country. As association, we are conducting studies to increase the efficiency of the Turkish Cable sector in the foreign markets as well as to remove obstacles in the markets where our producers want to export and to facilitate exports.
How is the volatility in exchange rates reflected in the cable sector?
Since the main raw materials used in cable production such as copper, aluminum and PVC, polymer materials such as polyethylene are traded on foreign exchange basis, any activity in exchange rates causes producers to make repricing and contractor, distributor, project company and the end-users also makes pricing studies every time. In a situation where almost 90% of the costs are in foreign currency and sales are in TRY and forward sale, the continuous fluctuation of exchange rates affects the sector negatively.
Other issues you want to add…
I would like to mention about the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) which is a milestone for Turkish Cable Sector. CPR became legally required for cables on July 1, 2017. Together with this regulation, it is very important to increase the level of quality and safety. As of July 1, together with all members of the European Union, the EN 50575 standard has also been implemented in our country. CPR brings serious responsibility from cable manufacturers in the supply chain to the end users. The Market Surveillance teams affiliated to the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning have started to inspect the cable producers under the regulation, and sanctions are being applied to those who make improper productions. As a result, every producer has to make production in line with the legislation. With CPR, opportunity is given to manufacturers that can keep up with these standards to increase both their product range and their chances in exporting markets.
For further information: www.kabloder.org