Home INTERVIEWS Melih ÖZKAN, Founder and Chairman of the Board of İNDES Engineering: “As Turkey makes progress in the development of indigenous main systems and platforms, its need for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) like ours that can develop subsystems as products increases.”

Melih ÖZKAN, Founder and Chairman of the Board of İNDES Engineering: “As Turkey makes progress in the development of indigenous main systems and platforms, its need for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) like ours that can develop subsystems as products increases.”

by MSI TDR

Ümit BAYRAKTAR / ubayraktar@milscint.com

İNDES Engineering has recently turned its focus toward product development, in line with the industrialisation policies of the Presidency of Defence Industries, and is laying the foundations for future export sales through various initiatives, such as DEİK (Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey) membership. We heard about the activities of İNDES Engineering, a company with extensive experience in the sector and with vertical design expertise in the mechanical and electromechanical fields, from Melih Özkan, Founder and Chairman of the Board of the company.

MSI TDR: İNDES Engineering has been working as a solution partner with various institutions and organisations such as ASELSAN, Roketsan and TÜBİTAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey). Being a solution partner of these institutions and organisations is among the targets of many companies in the sector. Given this picture, what is it about İNDES Engineering that makes it stand out? What is it that convinces these institutions and organisations to opt for İNDES Engineering?

Melih ÖZKAN: For their projects, the institutions and organisations that we consider to be the prime contractors in the defence sector often require systems and subsystems, test equipment, special-purpose machines and software, which involve specialisations in the mechanical and electromechanical disciplines. In cases where the requested products do not fall directly within the fields of activity of the relevant institutions and organisations, we step in.

As you mentioned, there are many SMEs, both in our field of activity and in other fields and they are seeking to become solution partners of prime contractors. At this point, we make a difference both with the quality of the work we do and our experience in satisfying user demands. To this end, we work closely with our end users in all our processes, carrying out our engineering design and analysis activities in accordance with their requirements. This allows us to create systems that meet our user’s expectations and requirements when we finalise the project.

İNDES Engineering is consistently working to develop new products and to expand its product family.

We are continuing our efforts to respond to the demands of our customers in a timely manner and at the desired quality.

We never deliver any system without first making sure that it will perform its duties in the field in the best and most reliable way. To this end, we carry out full physical and functional testing on all of our solutions prior to delivery.

To respond to our users’ requirements and demands, we endeavour to be constructive and flexible, and to carry out our business to the highest of standards.

Furthermore, we take care to create cost-effective solutions in our works, and strive to maintain a stable and sustainable price policy for our users. Concerning labour time and unit costs, we have managed to keep our costs at a competitive level by taking works on previous projects as reference.

We carry out self-financed R&D studies, taking into consideration the experience we have gained in the sector, as well as the problems we have observed in the field. Our goal here is to address problems that our users may encounter in the future, and to make necessary preparations to offer potential solutions in a very short time as the need arises.

In order to respond to our user’s demands in the best way, we have an extensive hardware and software infrastructure as well as a large facility that can meet the requirements of different projects, with the desired quality. We keep our infrastructure and facility up-to-date, taking into account the demands our users may bring to the agenda in the future.

There are many SMEs, both in our field of activity and in other fields and they are seeking to become solution partners of prime contractors. At this point, we make a difference both with the quality of the work we do and our experience in satisfying user demands.

As a result of these efforts, we can provide our customers with a significant added value and make their work easier. As a result of all these advantages, those who work with us for the first time tend to again opt for İNDES Engineering in their new projects.

MSI TDR: As a result of your solution partnership efforts, you have been switching from your previous working model that was based on developing products on demand, into a new model based on developing products with İNDES Engineering brand. What does this transformation mean for the corporate development of İNDES Engineering?

Melih ÖZKAN: In line with the industrialisation policies of the Presidency of Defence Industries, we attach considerable importance to product development, and continue our efforts accordingly. We have structured our productisation strategy around the development of high value-added products.

İNDES Engineering never delivers a system without first making sure that it can perform its duties in the field in the best and most reliable way. To this end, it performs full physical and functional testing on all of its solutions prior to delivery.

At İNDES Engineering, we never say “we are done here” after finishing our R&D activities. After the prototype manufacturing process, we put the systems we develop through comprehensive testing programmes for qualification purposes prior to serial production and carry out maintenance and repair activities.

Our teams take an active role in the field in these processes, giving them the opportunity to observe other requirements in the field. Based on these observations, we carry out self-financed R&D projects that focus on requirements, and attach importance to product development.

To date, we have introduced many products to the market that were needed urgently for surveillance and security systems, life support systems and energy generation and storage systems, in times well below the sectoral average,  with the firm belief that productisation is of vital importance in ensuring sustainability. As Turkey makes progress in the development of indigenous main systems and platforms, its need for SMEs like ours that can develop subsystems as products increases. We continue our activities with this very vision in mind. While our products are the key to our growth, we are fully aware that the driving force of our company is always our mechanical and electromechanical design capabilities.

Energy generation and storage systems are particularly prominent in our productisation efforts. We are applying the experience we have gained during the development of these systems to the various applications required by the defence and aerospace sector, and are developing innovative products accordingly. In most cases, we integrate camera systems, radar systems or weapon systems into our solutions, powering these systems through stored energy.

MSI TDR: Can you give us information about your roadmap or plans for productisation?

Melih ÖZKAN: We are consistently working to develop new products and to expand our product family. Our priority is to develop solutions for our country, and our goal for the coming period is to export these solutions abroad, with a view to contributing to the overall exports of our country. To this end, we are actively working as a member of DEİK, and similarly, we have submitted a project to KOSGEB (Small and Medium Enterprises Development and Support Administration) to improve our export activities.

İNDES Engineering carries out self-financed R&D studies, taking into consideration the experience it has gained in the sector, as well as the problems it has observed in the field.

MSI TDR: The development of İNDES Engineering is also a story of entrepreneurship in the Turkish defence and aerospace sector. Undoubtedly, this topic warrants discussion in a separate interview, but here we want to ask about the result of the entire process. What advice would you give to those seeking to become entrepreneurs in the sector today?

Melih ÖZKAN: First of all, I think we need to encourage our people, especially our undergraduates, to engage in entrepreneurship, as it is not possible for an economy to develop without entrepreneurs and SMEs.

I recommend those who want to be entrepreneurs to work for a while in well-established companies engaged in the fields of activity in which they will initiate the entrepreneurial process, allowing them to gain experience before taking action. In this process, I think it would be beneficial to follow carefully the entrepreneurship support programmes provided by such organisations as KOSGEB and TÜBİTAK, and to start their entrepreneurship journey at the age of 28–30.

The initial capital is directly proportional to the possibilities, although scalable and gradual goals are important and worthy of note.

On behalf of our readers, we would like to thank Melih Özkan, Founder and Chairman of the Board of İNDES Engineering, for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing us with such valuable information.

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