Home INTERVIEWS Steve ZIFF, CEO of NOVA Power Solutions: “We aim to both increase the number of companies and end users we work with and expand our maintenance, repair, and production activities in Türkiye.”

Steve ZIFF, CEO of NOVA Power Solutions: “We aim to both increase the number of companies and end users we work with and expand our maintenance, repair, and production activities in Türkiye.”

by Aybars Meric

NOVA Power Solutions (NOVA Power) continues to be a reliable solution partner for Turkish defence and aerospace sector. The company completed its 10th year in the Turkish market, providing added value to indigenous systems developed in Türkiye and expanding its Türkiye-based maintenance, repair, and production activities. Steve ZIFF, CEO of NOVA Power Solutions and Süleyman Bayramoğlu, Regional Director EMEA at NOVA Power Solutions shared insights on the recent developments regarding the company for MSI TDR readers.

MSI TDR: NOVA Power was acquired by CLARY Corporation in June 2021. After one year of this acquisition, what would you like to tell us about its effects on your efforts?

Steve ZIFF: As NOVA Power, we had been working closely with CLARY Corporation for over 30 years prior to the acquisition. In the relationship between our companies, CLARY was responsible for the detailed design and production stages of our solutions and products. We have enjoyed working with Clary in harmony throughout all those years. Although we were two different commercial entities, both companies were fulfilling their responsibilities by banding together. After Clary acquired NOVA in 2021, this harmony went ahead. During the transition period and early months, we did not experience any layoffs or staff performance degradations that are quite common in this kind of mergers or acquisitions, . On the contrary, we immediately started to gain benefits of this merger. The communication between us became much more efficient, and knowledge sharing increased. Additionally, decision-making processes accelerated due to the advantages of shared knowledge base.

Süleyman Bayramoğlu, Regional Director EMEA at NOVA Power Solutions and Steve ZIFF, CEO of NOVA Power Solutions

Yet another good aspect of this merger is that NOVA Power has kept its name. From the perspective of partners and our customers, this merger was rather transparent, and there was no significant change in their interface with us.

Süleyman BAYRAMOĞLU: On the other hand, gathering all design and production processes under the same roof has also brought a number of advantages for our clients. We have been able to optimize some of the production processes that we were not directly involved in before, in accordance with the customer requests. We have had the opportunity to respond to our customers much faster on some issues, as well. For example, CLARY Corporation, before the merger, used to give longer lead times, as they were an outsourced company for us. Now, for example, when a request comes from a customer in Türkiye, we can respond to it in a much shorter time and prioritize it more effectively in accordance with our customer’s demands. Therefore, I am pleased to say that this merger brought direct and significant added value also to our partners and users.

MSI TDR: Which platforms and systems use NOVA Power products in Türkiye?

Süleyman BAYRAMOĞLU: The leading and largest end-user of our products in Türkiye is Turkish Navy. I am proud to state that, on each platform (surface ships and submarines) delivered to Turkish Navy in the last 9-10 years, there is at least one indigenous system or subsystem developed locally in Türkiye which employs NOVA’s reliable solutions. Among them are communication systems, sensors, combat systems and their subsystems that include NOVA’s custom design products.

I would like to emphasize that each of these systems or equipment are indigenous solutions locally developed by Turkish defence companies. I must also underline that we always target to contribute and support efforts of local development of indigenous systems by the Turkish defence industry by offering reliable and robust products. Majority of the solutions we offer in Türkiye are customized according to the requirements of these indigenous systems. However, for several projects we had to design new solutions from scratch to optimally meet the requirements. This is a result of our strategy and positioning our company when we first aimed to cooperate with the Turkish defence industry 10 years ago. Having seen plenty of successes in this cooperation is really what motivates us.

For land platforms, our solutions are mostly used in the ground stations operating in harsh environments, and many mobile platforms that carry mission systems. For example, some UAV ground control systems exported by Turkish defense companies employ power subsystems that were custom developed by NOVA.

Currently we do not have any solution in our portfolio with airworthiness certification yet. Nevertheless, we signed a frame agreement with a Turkish company for design and certification of a solution prototype that will continue with local production in Türkiye. So, the target is local design, local production and export.

Similar to the mission criticality in defense systems, the systems and equipment used especially in the transportation domain are not only mission-critical but more importantly life-critical to ensure safe and reliable operation. For instance, signalization systems in railways or intelligent traffic systems in land transportation are examples of such crucial applications. We have the right products and solutions for continuously and reliably powering those systems that are widely used in the United States and provide a significant added value especially for safety. We like to offer a similar added value to the government agencies, local administrations and relevant companies in Türkiye. For this purpose, we have been participating in events and trade shows held in Türkiye and also get together with our potential users and stakeholders to “educate” them on what kind of added value our solutions are able to achieve. We also know that raising such awareness in this pure commercial domain and making sure they understand the merits of our solutions is a process, and we continue our efforts tirelessly.

MSI TDR: What is the share of your activities in Türkiye, compared to the global scale?

Steve ZIFF: Even though it changes slightly over the years, we make 10 to 15 percent of our production for Türkiye. Considering that we have been operating in the US market for a very long time and the sheer size of this market, we can easily say this is a significant figure. This figure is also an indication of how important Türkiye is to us. Therefore, by taking this importance in consideration, we continue our activities in Türkiye with a special care and approach.

NOVA Power shares information on the added value its solutions provide at various events in Türkiye. The photograph depicts then Admiral Adnan Özbal, Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces and Rear Admiral Ahmet Kendir, Commander of Turkish Coast Guard receiving information from NOVA Power during 10th Naval Systems Seminar held in Ankara in November.

Failsafe and Upmost Reliable Systems and Equipment with NOVA Power Solutions

MSI TDR: What can you share on the added value your products in various systems and platforms provide to end users? Have you received feedback regarding this subject?

Süleyman BAYRAMOĞLU: 75 percent of all hardware issues in electronic systems are caused by anomalies in power supply, or degradation of power quality, and NOVA Power’s solutions completely eliminate these problems. We can thus safely say we provide a direct and significant added value. Our clients and the end users are aware of this. For example, a client of ours wished to replace their commercial uninterrupted power supplies with our customized solution, because of the power-related issues they were facing in their existing setup. Later, after this change, we have been informed that, merely all the electronic hardware issues they were previously having were gone. This was of course an indication of a huge customer satisfaction for us.

Steve ZIFF: There is another dimension to this. As our solutions perform their tasks extremely well, our clients do not even notice they have power quality problems and that our solutions resolve these for them. As such, they do not give us feedback like “We had 10 separate power quality issues and our systems continued to operate”. When we take a different perspective, when we look at the problems and malfunctions, we can see that the number of problems reported to us is very insignificant. Some of these problems are caused by the change of needs or equipment that can be a part of life cycle of the products. We have an unmatched reliability regarding mission systems serving in the field as a result. Our products not needing replacement or a special maintenance through their life cycle is a result and proof of our high reliability.

MSI TDR: Are your products used in platforms and systems exported from Türkiye?

Süleyman BAYRAMOĞLU: NOVA’s advantage here is, our products by regulation, considered to be “commercial.” Therefore we have only minor export limitations and no end user licence requirements. As such, we do not track where any system or equipment are deployed that employ our products. However, we proudly see many platforms and indigenous systems having our custom design solutions are exported to allied countries from Türkiye.

We can proudly say that, almost every class of ship in Turkish Navy, including fast patrol boats, has at least one NOVA subsystem integrated in a locally designed indigenous system installed on board.

Steve ZIFF: As NOVA Power, we provide a significant added value to Turkish defence companies by offering them solutions not subject to any export permit requirements. Turkish companies can also market their systems and platforms to countries where American companies do not have close commercial ties, and this increases our worldwide market share. We consider this a sustainable collaboration that runs well and provides clear benefits to both parties.

Naval vessels are platforms with a power infrastructure that can be defined as micro-electricity grids where many devices interfere with each other. As such, power quality is crucial for naval vessels. Specially designed NOVA Power products are utilised in many systems developed locally in Türkiye, both surface ships and submarines of Turkish Navy.

Close Cooperation with System Integrators and End Users

MSI TDR: NOVA Power provides boutique solutions in a specialised area. This requires a good technical communication with system developers and end users. You have been active in Türkiye for years. What are your evaluations on your dialogue with sector companies and end users and understanding each other?

Steve ZIFF: I can easily say we work in Türkiye in a very different way than in the US. There, the development processes are conducted in slightly more remotely. Platform and system designers request a solution from you, you work on this solution. You do the design, develop, and deliver the desired number of prototypes, and then the tests are started. No meetings or reviews are held other than the ones mandated by the formal process. Sometimes you work without contacting the customer project team for months. Whereas, in Türkiye, we experience an efficient interaction with the customer project team or even with the end user, somewhat in an integrated project team fashion. They demand maybe more things, but this close collaboration ultimately leads to the development of a reliable system for the end user.

Of course, these different approaches in Türkiye and the US have their advantages and disadvantages. But, we feel comfortable with both approaches.

We love the working climate in Türkiye as it has also been teaching us a lot. Extensive demands from Turkish companies not only contribute to the improvement of their system, but also, in most cases, help us further improve our products. In return we indirectly contribute to the reliability and quality of the defence systems or equipment that are indigenously designed and developed in Türkiye.

NOVA Power’s Activities in Türkiye to Grow

MSI TDR: In last year’s interview, Mr. Bayramoğlu had mentioned that one of NOVA Power’s focus points were providing technical support and maintenance services for the entirety of EMEA region from Türkiye, along with contracting certain Turkish competent companies for special design work. What are the latest developments on these points?

Steve ZIFF: I would like to underline the fact that these plans existed since the very beginning, when we started to focus on the Turkish market 10 years ago. Regarding our activities in Türkiye, we have a roadmap that will provide added value to all our stakeholders. We have been implementing this with great care and determination.

Süleyman BAYRAMOĞLU: True, about two years ago, we activated our local support and maintenance capability by launching the NOVA Technical Support Center in Ankara. With this capability we are able to provide our customers rapid responses and timely maintenance service, including on-site, or on-board support. This of course, reduced support and maintenance costs to the customers. I should also mention the significance of NOVA Technical Support Center in Türkiye that it is our first international support entity. Through our Türkiye based support center, we provide service not only to our customers and partners in Türkiye, but also to those in the EMEA region, including Pakistan.

Another notable development is that we started to produce certain battery modules in Türkiye, which are important components of the solutions we offer. We consider this is a good start in terms of local manufacturing effort. Because batteries are consumable components that need to be replaced at certain periods during the life cycle, local production of those components in Türkiye is very significant for us since it provides an added value for our partners and end users.

And another step in our roadmap was to work with Turkish companies for the design of some of our new product families Thanks to their skills and competence in electronic design. We have already signed a frame agreement with a Turkish company for design and prototyping. This is on hold at the moment due to the pandemic, but activating this is one of the first priorities in our agenda.

MSI TDR: Are there any developments or innovations in your products or technologies you wish to share with our readers?

Steve ZIFF: For the end user, “reliability” and “quality” always come at the first place. That’s why those are the first two most paramount features we focus in our R&D efforts. As such, regular additions of “colourful” new features that involve changes in look and feel that are common in commercial products are not often the case for our products.

We rather focus on improving the performance, introducing new technical features and minimizing the footprint of our systems, in accordance with the demands and wishes of our customers and end users. Of course, we add certain new functions, change the appearance and introduce new technologies, if required

Nova Power also offers online UPS solutions of its parent company, CLARY Corporation, for life critical transportation systems and process critical industrial applications worldwide.

MSI TDR: What kind of future NOVA Power predicts it will have in Türkiye?

Steve ZIFF: We aim to both increase the number of companies and end users we work with and expand our maintenance, repair, and local production activities. We know that there is a lot we can do in Türkiye, and many systems or platforms we can provide added value with our solutions. There are companies we have been in contact for a long time that we have not had a chance to work with yet. These companies employ commercial power products in the systems they develop. They will probably continue to use these products as they are unaware what power related issues they encounter . We want them to know if they encounter a power related issue one day, we will be there working with them.

MSI TDR: What is included in your plans for the future?

Steve ZIFF: Our parent company CLARY Corporation has important resources, while NOVA Power plans to penetrate new markets. As the pandemic conditions subside, we will be aiming to realize this potential. We will be carrying out some of this work Türkiye-based .

Süleyman BAYRAMOĞLU: In addition to local design and production efforts in Türkiye, we have also launched an initiative to utilize some Turkish manufacturers’ solutions that are not in our product portfolio. We are getting many inquiries from our customers in the U.S. or Europe, and we are offering their solutions to those customers. So, it’s not only the products and solutions we are delivering in Türkiye, but also, we like to offer some products manufactured by Turkish companies to our customers in the U.S and other countries.

In short, we are now focusing more on our expansion activities in Türkiye, in service&support, core manufacturing, design, validation and software development efforts by utilizing local resources.

We would like to thank Steve ZIFF, CEO of NOVA Power Solutions and Süleyman Bayramoğlu, Regional Director EMEA at NOVA Power Solutions for taking the time to answer our questions, and for providing us with such valuable information.

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