Glass Worldwide Magazine Conducted an Exclusive Interview with GCA General Manager Mr. Abdullah Gayret

According to General Manager Abdullah Gayret, Turkish glass container manufacturer Gürallar Cam Ambalaj is on the way to increasing production capacity.

 

Gürallar is among the world’s largest glass manufacturers, having originally gained popularity with its LAV tableware brand. The company was set up in 1996 by the Güral family in the city of Kutahya in western Turkey. Growing at a fast pace, within two decades it has been selling the LAV products in 35,000 shops in Turkey and a further 100,000 stores around the world.

In 2014, the Gürallar Group decided to increase its glass container production with a new venture called Gürallar Cam Ambalaj. The company expanded its production capacity by building a second plant, again located near Kutahya. The plant began operations in February 2015, with a focus on producing food jars and soft drinks bottles. It has a capacity of 400 tonnes/day.

The past year has been rather complicated for the Turkish economy, taking its toll on all market players, according to Mr Gayret. “Hit by a currency crisis that triggered a near -30% lira slide against the dollar, the Turkish economy contracted by 2.6% in the first three months of 2019 after shrinking 3.0% in the fourth quarter of the previous year. That lira slide pushed inflation to a 15 year high, severely limited companies’ ability to service foreign debt and multiplied bad loans in the banking sector” he commented. On the other hand, Turkey’s economy grew by 0.9% year-on-year in the third quarter, breaking three consecutive quarters of contraction as it shook off a recession, which followed last year’s currency crisis.” he commented.

Despite the challenges, Gürallar managed to increase sales in both domestic and international markets. “Despite the uncertainties in the market and being a relatively new player in the glass container sector, we are among the leading glass manufacturers in Turkey. We have been working with Turkey’s leading brands and carrying out important projects abroad; hence, we achieved slightly over 10% growth compared to 2018, five times higher than the national annual industry growth” Abdullah Gayret disclosed.

“Even in the presence of economic fluctuation, we are increasing our weight in the sector by expanding our customer portfolio both in Turkey and abroad. Our goal is to increase our export figures every year and to provide a better quality service to our customers with the development of our technology. Exports of glass packaging from GCA made up more than 15% of our total revenue in 2019, up more than 500bps from last year.”

“Turkey has a glass packaging production capacity of approximately 1.5 million tons in total and there are currently five local manufacturers in the industry” Mr Gayret confirmed. “We are evaluating the possibility of the capacity to increase next year. GCA has already been established with an infrastructure suitable for multi-furnace positioning.”

To remain competitive, it would not just be enough to produce more. The requirements of modern customers both in Turkey and in the global market have become more sophisticated in recent years. This is clearly apparent from the 10 global consuming trends conducted by Euromonitor International.

‘‘Everyone is an expert’’ -expresses the switch in power from retailers and brands to the consumer- Abdullah Gayret explained. “Previously, shoppers relied on brands for information to find and get what they wanted; now, companies must constantly innovate, drive prices down and streamline and increase aesthetics of their offerings to entice shoppers” he added.

“Recently, consumers both in our country and abroad have tended to prefer buying food and beverage products in glass packaging for several reasons; glass material’s lack of interaction with food or beverage stored inside, protection of taste and odour of the product, resistance to internal pressure, possibility of sterilisation, transparency and chemical resistance. In addition, from an environmental perspective, we observe an increasing sensitivity on a consumer basis, as they request eco-friendly and recyclable packaging materials. As a glass packaging manufacturer, we will continue to raise awareness among consumers about recycling, as well as the sustainability of glass packaging” Mr Gayret confirmed.

For the same reason, the government is stimulating glass recycling. “Glass packaging manufacturers (in Turkey) are today obliged to use 12% cullet by law” Abdullah Gayret confirmed “and this rate will increase by 3% every year. It is anticipated that glass recycling will increase in the next five years, a development that will also lead to the establishment of new recycling facilities and the creation of new business opportunities.

“With the use of recycled glass, we are able to save a considerable amount of energy. Use of cullet helps reduce air pollution, raw material waste and water consumption. Of course, we also protect our natural resources such as sand, soda and lime. For this reason, GCA is a glass packaging manufacturer that undertakes and supports various projects that will raise the awareness of consumers in order to protect nature and care about environmentally-friendly production.”

According to Mr Gayret, the recycling of glass packaging is extremely important for environmental health and the economy. “To illustrate this point, the cost savings of recycling are in the use of energy. Compared to making glass entirely from raw materials, cullet melts at a lower temperature, so we can save on energy needed to melt the glass when cullet is introduced into the furnace” he explained.

Today, GCA has one furnace, with another furnace investment planned for 2020, in an effort to increase the company’s overall production capacity. This requires a further increase in export performance.

“GCA is a company that provides service quality at a global level, which enables us to be a trustworthy supplier for international companies and countries” says Abdullah Gayret. “We currently carry out export operations in multiple countries and regions, especially in the neighbouring region of the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Australia and America.

“There is no doubt that we always try to stay up-to-date with global trends in our industry and increase our market share in international markets. For this purpose, we participate in several of the most important international food and beverage fairs and trade shows such as Anuga in Germany, Gulfood in Dubai and Sial in Paris. This allows us to meet the top food and beverage companies that are pioneers in their respective sectors” Mr Gayret added.

It is clear, however, that the future will belong to the most advanced and efficient companies, so digitalisation is also considered one of the top goals for the company. “On the technology side, we believe that machine learning and artificial intelligence tools, which are the main aspects of digital transformation in the industry, will play an active role in all processes, thus creating new customer experiences and needs” the GCA General Manager confirmed. “We professionally use digital marketing methods and increase our brand recognition to reinforce our competitive edge in the market. Research and development, engineering, innovation and industry 4.0 are among our top priorities as a glass container manufacturing company. Today, our LAV glass tableware business is one of the few companies that designs and manufactures its own manufacturing machinery in the glass tableware industry. Furthermore, we carry out our research and development activities extensively on the design and development of our glass machinery, increasing the efficiency of our existing production machines and developing new projects for customers” Mr Gayret explained.

“We have been collaborating with universities both in Turkey and abroad to realise new product development projects and creating systems adapted by industry 4.0 for enhancing our efficiencies during all production processes” he added. “Our goal is to increase our export figures each year and to provide better quality service to customers. GCA aims to be one of the leading players in the glass packaging industry worldwide” Mr Gayret concluded.