Ahmet Güvercin: “Changes in research and development and production in the lift-building industry open for innovation will be shaped in accordance with cognitive changes and the requirements of the construction industry. To date, there has already been an increase in the number of buildings with 'smart technologies'. However, after a pandemic in the long run, it will increase even more and structures with elements of artificial intelligence will firmly enter our lives. "
We spoke with Ahmet Güvercin, Fupa Asansör’s Sales and Marketing Director, about organization process in a pandemic and its projections for the future of the industry. Mr. Güvercin talked about his doubts that the restoration process could be completed by the end of 2021 and said: "The world will no longer be the same as before and will transform into a new normality with digital technologies."
Hello Mr. Ahmet. Please tell us about the measures that you are taking as a company operating in the elevator industry in a pandemic
From the very beginning of the pandemic, we treat the health of our employees, business partners and society as a top priority, so we switched to a remote model of work. Thus, we reduced the risk of spreading the virus. We have suspended our visits. All the work, including maintenance, we transferred to digital format. Internal meetings of the company and meetings with customers were held in digital format.
In your opinion, what are the biggest problems and opportunities of the market when the Covid-19 outbreak turned into a pandemic?
As in all around the world, during the pandemic, significant changes were seen in our country. We went through a process in which health has become a common priority to all. Some supply chains for companies with limited financial capabilities were interrupted. Similarly, many enterprises had problems closing export routes. We witnessed the cancellation of some orders received before the pandemic.
Since FUPA stocks a large number of products of various brands, we have turned the pandemic into an opportunity to organize additional deliveries and sales. We have not refused shipments to any of our customers. During the pandemic, there was a significant drop in demand. This factor partially affected FUPA and the entire industry. Our export liabilities were accumulated. Now, when we return to the process of normalization, we are ready to fulfill all these liabilities. In the new era, we will be at the forefront of innovation and information research and development. As the company invests in the installation of the 4th industrial revolution generation, we see the new era as a period of opportunity. For each company that embodies such an approach, this period means new opportunities. At the same time, it is extremely important to carefully monitor government policy regarding macroeconomics.What do you think on the change in consumer behavior due to the pandemic and how will it affect the industry in the near future?
The confusion in the minds of consumers during a pandemic and their sense of panic will also lead to a constant change in consumer behavior trends in the industry. We are entering into an era when factors such as the choice between price and the total value of the brand, as well as trust in the supply chain, acquire special importance in consumer preferences. The most important factor in the search for alternative products and brands will be changes in legislation and requirements, affecting the scale of technological and innovative developments. Since the lift building industry is not in a special position during the pandemic, many companies will try to go beyond the traditional areas of activity despite the technological integrity of the lift industry. Companies will turn to structures involving innovative solutions. In this context, top-level companies will come to the forefront. In the long run, Turkish elevator construction will take important steps towards institutionalization, and companies that are not able to keep up with such changes will remain on the sidelines. An industry that is currently undergoing serious segmentation due to a chronic lack of order will in the long run reach the desired level, albeit partially.
How can manufacturing and R&D in the industry contribute to the fight against Covid-19?
Changes in research and development and manufacturing in the innovation-open area of elevator construction will be shaped in accordance with cognitive changes and the requirements of the construction industry. To date, there has already been an increase in the number of buildings with “smart technologies”. However, after a pandemic in the long run, it will increase even more and structures with elements of artificial intelligence will firmly enter our lives. Such revolutionary changes in the construction industry will undoubtedly lead to various changes in the elevator industry.
Have you revised the company's goals for 2020 after the outbreak of the coronavirus? How much has the demand decreased?
The company's budget for 2020 was drawn up delicately. Since the crisis began in August 2018, when by the end of 2019 it began to decline, we began to prepare a budget for the next year, taking into account all the predictable risk factors. However, by the 3rd quarter we will need to review the budget in order to properly balance the activities. In other words, we are trying to balance the decline in domestic sales with our export activities. Our indicators are at a fairly good level. Taking into account observations for a certain period, during the month of July we will make the necessary decisions. Despite the fact that domestic demand fell to 40%, we have not yet felt any changes in export demand rates.
What are your forecasts regarding the lift industry, taking into account the impact of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic?
As I mentioned, our lives, as we know it, will not be the same as before. The world will move into a new normality with digital technology. There will be some difficulties at the beginning of the transition process. However, after a while the process will be stabilized. However, it cannot be said that this will happen in 2020. Since the vaccine against coronavirus has not yet been developed, it is difficult to imagine that normalization will begin to occur before 2021. For the industry during this period there will be no significant changes. First of all, the construction industry should gain momentum.
In your opinion, how will coronavirus affect the Chinese and global elevator industry?
Turkey, like the rest of the world, found itself in a situation where life is divided into the period "before" and "after" the Covid-19 pandemic. There is no doubt that life will not be the same as before the pandemic. It is expected that in all areas of the economy with which our industry is associated, the process of digitalization will continue actively. The manufacturing processes of the fourth IT-based industrial revolution will rapidly develop in these areas. Innovations will come to the forefront of the elevator industry around the world (and, above all, in China) and in our country, bringing the industry to new heights. Thus, new technological developments will lead to the restructuring of many global manufacturers, especially from China and Europe. Germany, which laid the foundations of the 4th industrial revolution, will become one of the leaders in this process.
How do you think the industry will develop in the next 5-10 years? Will there be new players on the market?
It is logical to assume that many players who do not correspond to the new normality will leave the market before new companies enter into the same. At first, our industry will experience hard times. This process will not work in one day. I am convinced that after approximately 2 years of transition, global, digitalized, innovative and financially independent companies (local or international) will become the market leaders, which will transform markets in dynamic countries like Turkey accordingly. At the same time, there is one more thing which should not be forgotten. As you know, the economy of our country is subject to politicization. The main parameter of the entry of foreign investors into the country is the stability of state power. The development of domestic and local companies is also expected. Time will put everything in its place.