On the Road: MATUYA Antalya, Turkey
by Marco Verkuijl
MIM International contributor Marco Verkuijl recently visited MATUYA, a Turkish company, to learn more about its MAXOR flash stamps and stamp production machines.
Wow, for the first time in four years, I have to prepare for a trip abroad for an interview. My destination is Turkey; to be precise, the beautiful city of Antalya. Although it will be a stay of less than 24 hours, I am still looking forward to the trip: talking about the company’s products, enjoying the local cuisine and feeling the sun burn (34 degrees Celsius in the shade), knowing that it is raining in Holland and only 17 degrees.
Marco Verkuijl: I’m here at Matuya with Mahmut Turgut Yaroglu, the owner, and Murat Uysal, the foreign trade manager. Your company makes machines and flash pre-inkers. Could you tell me when the company started?
Mahmut Turgut Yaroglu: Matuya was founded in 1995, and we started with the manufacturing of polymer system stamp machines. The polymer stamp machines are still in our production line. In 2008, we started producing flash stamp machines.
MV: What is your background? Why did you decide to get into stamps?
MTY: My professional background is machine design. The start was a coincidence. A friend of mine suggested it because no one in Turkey was producing these machines. All the machines were imported and it was very expensive, so I took the opportunity and designed the first polymer stamp machine. Later, with good feedback from the customers, I managed to make the machines bigger and add models for other needs. We also got into the business of making the other machines, like the Domesline (doming label machine), printing and flexo machines. In 2008, I imported some flash machines and sold in Turkey and then decided to enter into manufacturing them.
MV: So the machines were the starting point. Why did you decide to begin making the mounts?
MTY: We never thought about manufacturing self-inkers because of the situation in Turkey. There is big competition in the market. But after starting production of the flash stamp machines, we understood that there was no serious production worldwide and also no one in the domestic market. We thought that flash machines would be the future of stamps, so we decided to enter seriously into producing the flash mounts four years ago.
MV: The mounts only? Or also the ink, cartridges, foam…
MTY: We are only producing the mounts, but as I told you earlier, we have a big investment in ink production. We are more or less ready to start production. Within this year, two or three months from now, we will start ink production.
MV: That’s something I wanted to get into. I understood that the
main machine production is here in Antalya. You have some more warehouses spread out in the suburbs of Antalya. But from our earlier conversation, you said you will centralise that, in combination with ink production. Can you talk more about that, Murat?
Murat Uysal: We faced problems with inks, not specifically with one producer or another, but because of the local conditions while using stamps here, such as humidity and temperature. Sometimes with one supplier’s ink, you don’t face it, but you face another problem. So we decided to make our own because mostly, we don’t like to buy and sell materials and products. We want to manufacture our products ourselves, and the ink is a very important part of that. That is why we thought that we have to be in ink production. We have started our R&D department. At the moment, the investments have been made, and we have received some machines and are waiting for some others to be built. Then maybe by the end of this year or the beginning of next year, we will be able to use our own inks and supply them worldwide. Regarding the centralisation, we didn’t anticipate the level of customer demand for our products. As you know, we have one Maxor line with 35 different sizes. If you think about all the stamp components involved, there are a huge number of items you have to produce and stock. So since the quantities are getting bigger because of the demands we are experiencing, we need to move to one, larger location and all the production - the warehouse and the assembling lines - will be in the same place to save time and costs. In next year’s schedule, we will be able to build our own factory and move everything inside - all the injections, assembling, ink production and machine production.
MV: If you are moving to a larger place, would you add another programme that will allow you to sell other lines - normal self-inkers and daters, for example? Are you thinking about that or will you focus just on flash?
MTY: We have one of the biggest stamp collections, in terms of sizes, in the world - 35 different sizes - and we have exports to 42 countries at the moment. Because of our good quality and really reasonable prices, we have a very good demand from many different countries and especially our domestic market. We weren’t expecting that, and so we want to make flash stamps the focus of our selling efforts. We don’t want to enter the self-inker market at the moment, but we are still busy developing stamps. We have our small economy ones, which we call the S series, in the main sizes that the stamp makers use.
MV: Which means you are not trying to be a “one-stop” shop, as they say in the U.S. You are not trying to be the only source for stamp making. You are trying to be the source for flash, mainly.
MU: Yes, we want to be known as the flash manufacturer, not the stamp producer.
MV: How many people do you employ full-time?
MTY: 67 people at the moment, working full-time for us.
MV: You told me there are 42 export countries. How do you sell and distribute in Turkey and internationally? Do you have an export department?
MTY: We have a sales team of 17 people for our domestic market, who are based in Antalya but cover all of Turkey. Additionally, we have an export and logistics department to service our international customers. We try to reach our target customers by attending international fairs like Paperworld and the stationery shows. We try to find good people that we can have a healthy and long-term relationship with as an exclusive distributor. MV: Which means that you don’t sell to stamp makers in the export countries, but you sell to distribution partners.
MU: We are open to all offers. Of course, for distribution and exclusivity, we have some targets for our customers. But we want to see their performance in the market. So we don’t make promises to everybody initially. When we see that we can work in a healthy, longterm way, then we don’t make a lot of calculations about profits - we just go with the exclusivity and distribution of goods.
MV: If you look at Turkey, it is a huge country…
MU: 74 million people.
MV: Exactly, but it’s also big geographically. Is all distribution from Antalya? Because Antalya is in the South, on the coast. Do you have one distribution center in Antalya and ship all over Turkey? Or do you have distribution centers in other parts of the country?
MU: We are shipping all the goods to our domestic customers from Antalya directly. We don’t use an agent or any other companies to keep the costs low for end users. And of course, we have a logistics department which makes agreements with local courier companies for fast and safe deliveries. So up to now, we haven’t faced any problems. We have even more capacity, if needed, so we don’t have any problem with distributing from Antalya. I can add that within one day, the goods are delivered. We ship the orders within the same day. That is our policy. Even at the end of working hours, we somehow manage to send the goods. The next day, our customers receive their goods.
MV: We discussed that you want to focus on flash, that you like to keep the production as much to yourself
as possible, and that you ship the same day. This is all related to a business philosophy, as you could say. Can you describe your business philosophy?
MTY: The main issue for us is customer satisfaction, above everything else. We are very sensitive to the quality of the goods and customer satisfaction. If there is any negative feedback from customers, we don’t make any calculation of cost - we do what we can to make people happy with the product and our company.
MV: That is a very nice introduction for the next question, and you might have the same answer. What makes Matuya unique, in the landscape of stamp suppliers?
MTY: We believe the goods are of very high quality, and we test them. We are also unique because of our special expertise in machine production and the satisfaction of the machine customers for 20 years. It helped us to develop a very large number of customers and friends. We always keep our relationships warm with our customers, even if they are old or new. We always follow up on their needs and expectations. And with our customer database, with their satisfaction with the machines, we have very good feedback flow from the market. According to the feedback, we decided that flash stamps would be a good option to offer to our customers, so we have started producing mounts. They started buying without any question because they were sure about quality of the goods. Thanks to our past, we hold nearly the whole market for flash stamps in Turkey, even with competitors.
MV: I’m not sure if it is the same in Turkey, but it is more and more
important in many countries - in Western European countries, at least, and the U.S. - to be active in your community, as well. Is there a programme like that at Matuya?
MTY: Actually, we recently sponsored an international salsa dancing competition. We will think more about these sponsorships for the future. We do also believe that these social events are a good way of promoting the trademark.
MV: Are you active in LinkedIn or Facebook?
MU: We have a Facebook account that is active, but we must admit that it could be more active. And also for now, only Facebook. Actually, we need more time. Due to focusing on R&D and continuously improving the quality of our production, we allocate less time for social media and advertising.
MV: You started producing a flash machine in 2008. You know that 2008 was the start of a worldwide recession, at least in most countries…
MU: Even in Turkey…
MV: Turkey, too. How did this affect your start with the flash machine? Because you started trying to sell a new machine when everybody was facing a bad economy.
MU: The 2008 recession also affected us like everybody in the world - especially Russia and America, and Europe, of course. But we had very solid financials. The thing that actually affected us was the freezing of sales because the liquidity was very low in the markets. So we had problems with selling like anybody else. As I said, our financials were very good. We didn’t owe any money to the bank, other companies, etc., so we had enough liquidity for ourselves. We were planning and making our R&D through this time. But as a coincidence, of course - maybe a bad coincidence, you could say - it was a good time to start selling a new product. It has a future, you are offering something new to the customers, and it gives hope to the customers. It also helps them to make money under this economic situation. It was a good time to offer a new product for the market.
MV: If you look at your customers, are they the big stamp makers, the new stamp makers…? Maybe people who were not selling stamps to begin with? And where are the 42 countries geographically - what regions?
MU: It’s complicated, of course. Mostly, our customers are from the Middle East, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries and the Arabic countries. But we also have exports to even Surinam. We don’t have a problem with the transportation because Istanbul is a main port for the world. We can ship the goods without any problem. Mostly, we offer our customers Exworks and FOB standard prices, so the customers arrange the shipments or freight, or our department can help arrange a forwarding company. So we don’t have any problems.
MV: If you look at other suppliers, they are trying to find new stamp makers, especially flash. They are trying to sell to people who used to resell stamps and who now will have their own factory. Is that something you are looking into? Or is your customer base in Turkey mainly stamp makers? Is it stamp makers you are looking for or the reseller of stamps?
MU: For our domestic market, as I said, we don’t want to work with middle companies because in terms of costs, it will affect the end users. For the international market, since it is hard and costly to work directly with the stamp makers, we prefer wholesalers or resellers. We also have to think about the stamp makers’ costs and try to choose the right way to contact them. Of course, we don’t refuse stamp makers’ offers, but the cheapest method for the international market is always with a representative.
MV: I want to talk stamps. The first thing I noticed about your stamps is that usually when you have a stamp in front of you, and you want the imprint to be readable, the logo on the stamp - or the flat part on the handle if it is a wooden stamp - is facing you so you can see it. It’s not in every country, but it’s in a lot of countries. In Germany, the wooden handle is reversed - you feel it, you can’t see it. You do the same. I looked to see if it was a mistake, which is possible. But no. If I have the stamp in front of me, the imprint reads toward me. The logo
is on the backside, so I don’t see MAXOR when I stamp. Why?
MU: Because you know what the brand is. If you can see the MAXOR, the people in front of you will not see it. So you should see the stamp, and the person in front of you should see the brand.
MV: I know it sounds so logical, and it’s strange that other companies don’t do it. With other brands, you have that logo in front of you so you see the logo, but the people on the other side of the desk who are visiting you - if you have documents to stamp - don’t see it. So what you say is genius - never thought about it. Do your customers know - what I mean is, do they do the same (turns stamp around) because that’s what they’re used to?
MU: It could be, but our salespeople and technicians give training to our customers, and they especially inform our customers about this. The MAXOR brand should look this way, and then you should be able read the stamped logo correctly. It will be the right way to use the stamp, so you don’t need to open the cover. It will be the right side. In the training, we especially educate the stamp makers.
MV: It makes sense, absolutely.
MU: It’s a small issue but important for us.
MV: At Paperworld this year in Frankfurt and in the magazine, you said that you were launching the S series soon.
MU: The mould for the smallest one, S22, is finished. We are already selling in our domestic markets. But the other two sizes are in the mould production at the moment. I think we will be able to show all three
sizes - the finished products - at the next Paperworld.
MV: Will you keep it to three sizes?
MU: For now, the plan is for three sizes, but since we have the ability to produce our own moulds, if we have demands, we will be able to increase the number of sizes.
MV: You have 35 sizes of the MAXOR, which is enormous. I still have to ask if you are planning to do more sizes or change the product.
MU: Actually, the design will change in the future, but the sizes will be the same. We are planning maybe within two or three years to make a new design with the same sizes. It could 35 different sizes. But, of course, we have to see the reaction of the market - if they need the 35 sizes. Because logically, it is very hard to make this production. As I said, it is not only the plastic parts, it is the ink cartridges, the flash mounts, the assembling, the boxing, the carton. Everything needs to be separate so you have to make everything 35 times. It is a very complicated process.
MV: Even the handles are specially made for the size. Because a lot of suppliers only have five different sizes and use those for the different products, but you decided to have…
MU: Two parts are the same - the handles and the windows. We have eight different handles, but the other parts are all separate.
MV: You’ve been to Paperworld three times, and you’ve attended an office fair in Istanbul. What was the response from people who didn’t know you? If you look at the export customers, what was their response to the K series?
MU: We actually had very good feedback. And that has affected our international sales. Before this year, we were managing the export to 25 countries, but with our new moulds, we are reaching 42 countries at the moment. So the feedback has been good, even more than our expectations. At times, we have found it challenging to keep up with the target production quantities.
MV: Your start was with the flash machines, not the mounts. Do you sell them in combination with stamps? For example, if you buy a machine, you get 40 mounts for free. Or are they sold as two different products?
MU: They are two different products for us. And we don’t want to manipulate people with these kind of deals.
MV: Which means if people want to buy your mounts but use someone else’s machines, no problem. If people buy your machines, and they don’t buy the mounts, no problem.
MU: That’s right, it’s no problem. Because for example, if someone says, “If you buy our machine, you will get 100 pieces free,” to be honest, every company would do the same. If you are giving something free, then you would add this price to another product. So this is a trick - not an honest move - for me. That is why we don’t act like this. The prices are set for everybody. Of course, the prices do change with the quantity and some market conditions. But the prices are all open. Also, our quality is good - we don’t want to give it away. Of course, if you give something free, that means you add this price to another product. That is what we don’t want to do.
MV: Beside Paperworld 2015, are there any other shows you areplanning to attend? For example, Paperworld in Shanghai.
MU: Actually, for the last two years, we’ve been planning to be in Shanghai for Paperworld China. But up to now, we couldn’t manage to do that. Of course, there was a reason. When you are in Shanghai, there are a lot of visitors. Our current demand is keeping us very busy, so we need to hold off on a visit to Shanghai until we have made some enhancements to production. After some time, we will make some new machinery investments for injections and moulding. For stamp sizes, we will double up our moulds because when you have one model for one size, then you have to wait to produce the other moulds. It takes time. This is my personal thought on how to respond and supply the demand.
MV: So you will not go to many shows for a while.
MU: For the next year, we will not attend too many shows. But of course, Paperworld Frankfurt is very important to us. We don’t expect many sales, but we have to show ourselves every year. Every year, we are making our booth bigger so that people notice us, and this affects our sales. So we will be in Frankfurt, for sure.
MV: And Istanbul?
MU: Istanbul is another point. We always attend Istanbul in the springtime. We also attend regional shows in Turkey, like FESPA and PROMOTURK, and sign and photo digital fairs because of our other product, Domesline. So all the activity with shows in Turkey keeps us busy. In 2015, I am sure we will be able to go to more shows in the international
market, but not directly to China, at this point.
MV: What about Brazil? Big show, big market.
MU: This is one of my targets because Brazil - and Argentina, Mexico, America - are big markets for stamps.
MV: Is there anything else that you would want to add, Murat?
MU: As Mr. Yaroglu told you, we have a very good reputation and sales in our domestic market. Of course, it’s affected by the day-today conditions of the markets, but we have stable conditions. We don’t have any problem supplying people with product and deliver next day in our domestic market. We really care about delivery times. This is also our net target for international sales. We want to acquire the same reputation internationally and become one of the major flash stamp manufacturers in the world market. We do what we believe in.
MV: Turgut, do you have any final thoughts about your company for readers of the magazine?
MTY: They should visit our website to view our products and get in contact with us to able to see the quality of the goods. And our doors are wide open to everybody.
I would like to thank both Turgut and Murat for the warm welcome, the hospitality and the time they gave me. I hope to meet you again at Paperworld 2015.
Matuya Plaza Cumhuriyet Mh. 625 Sk. No: 6 Muratpaşa / Antalya / Turkey
Phone: +90 242 346 15 18 pbx
Fax: +90 242 346 15 10