Kervan Gıda is a pretty competent company in jelly gum manufacturing. It exports to nearly 80 countries, possesses many certificates and along with these it follows the manufacturing technologies closely. We made an interview with Burhan Başar, General Manager of the company which has the target of entering among the first five jelly gum manufacturers in the world.
Could you please briefly tell about yourself and your business life?
I was born in Van in 1973. I graduated from Yıldız Technical University, Department of Civil Engineering. Because I got into this university, I came to Istanbul from Van in 1990, and in 1992 my family came to Istanbul to live with me. Between 1992 and 1995 we engaged in trade. Within this context we sold luxury hardware which comprised of products such as Permatik, Perma Sharp, Ören Bayan yarn, chewing gum and so forth. Later on, we decided to manufacture when we experienced the tough side of trade in Tahtakale. Since we had been selling chewing gum then under the circumstances of those days, we started manufacturing chewing gum founding a family run business in 1995.
Would you share your career story in Kervan Gıda?
For I am an engineer, I held the office of different departments of the company such as finance, accounting, marketing and especially product development. I completed my fund of knowledge by holding the office of almost every department. And finally I became the General Manager.
We are aware that there are many countries which Kervan Gıda exports to. At this point, are you seeking for new markets? What are you doing to maintain and develop your presence in the markets you are already in?
We are exporting to nearly 80 countries. We are not seeking for new markets. Reason for this is, we are a company involved in Turquality process and within this context we are advised to grow vertically not horizontally. Consequently, we are aiming to grow vertically in the markets we are present. While doing this, we are trying to enter the growing markets or markets claiming the potential to grow, like national and regional markets, in the country we exist. Thus, we are hoping to make our brand Bebeto more permanent.
What if you are asked to evaluate the markets you are in recently?
We are very powerful in the Middle East market since we are manufacturing in a Muslim country, Turkey, claiming Halal Certificate. Apart from this, we are growing in Europe and the U.S.A. markets as well. I can tell you that lately an increasing interest towards halal food emerged in Europe as well.
You have competitors in both domestic and foreign markets. Could you evaluate this competition measuring foreign against domestic?
We are in a very strong position in exports. Despite the fact that we have many rivals, we, as Kervan Gıda, are exporting large amount of jelly gum. As for domestic market, we are in a more active position and we will strengthen this position more later on. We are never afraid of competition, as long as we manufacture goods of quality, care about branding, innovation and R&D. So far, we are having a hard to satisfy the demands despite the hard competition.
Could you talk about your investments?
We are investing seriously in R&D. We are giving importance to human resources. We are providing educations. We are also concentrating on IT investments, within this concept we started using SAP program three years ago. We have training programs. We give pretty importance on IT investments as well; concordantly we started using SAP three years ago. We keep on improving this and moving forward. We will soon be receiving ISO 27001 Information Security Management Standard Certificate. Since there is an energy shortage in our country, we give a lot importance to the efficient energy consumption. Concerning this, we set up energy management system and soon we will be receiving ISO 50001 certificate. We give a lot importance to hygiene. We have customers in nearly 80 countries and they inspect our products all the time. Within this scope, we invest in hygiene seriously. Our quality assurance system works very accurately. Our customers ask us about these before they ask for the price of our products. In this sense, we possess quality certificates such as Hygiene Standard of the American Institute of Baking, Certificate of Conformity granted by British Retail Consortium (BRC), ISO 9001, ISO 2200, etc.
What are your plans and targets in the short, medium and long terms?
Our biggest goal among these is to grow in the field of jelly gum. By saying jelly gum, I mean jelly, licorice and marshmallow types of candies. We want to grow with Bebeto brand and we are making all the plans accordingly. We completed our 2015 budgets in the short term and we are completely focusing on this. In the medium term, we want to grow investing in jelly gum. As for the long term, we have a goal for the year 2023; which is to rank among the first five jelly gum manufacturers in the world.
Well then, what kind of investments are you planning for 2015 and further?
We made marshmallow investment and we hope to start it in 2015 February. Apart from this, we continuously keep on investing in jelly gum. Additionally, we have project called “Bebeto Fun Island”. In short, our candies are put up for sale in the empty spaces of shopping malls. Within this context, we have around 60-70 islands in total both in domestic and foreign shopping malls. We want to increase this number to 500 until 2023. We consider these as milestones in order to raise our brand awareness on our way to become a world brand. They attract a lot of attention and there are customers conveying that they like our products, such that they write poems in our brand’s name. We like such things. We hope to bring Bebeto brand where it deserves to be.