As a textile chemicals and performance chemicals producer, the company has obtained many certificates of quality and standards for its products and quality approach.
Denge Kimya‘s Vice General Manager Refik Gülbahar explained this as such, “Because we don’t do it just to have a job done. We work to make changes and innovations in the chemical industry. We don’t want to produce what is already made, but we want to develop brand new, groundbreaking and unimagined products. With this approach, everyone in our company from the management team to the production team, the R&D group and the sales representatives, focuses on this issue, and they work very hard to achieve this with all means.”
Pointing out that innovative products cannot be developed by trial and error, Refik Gülbahar said, “In order to achieve this, you need to develop new methods, implement world-wide recognized methods, be prepared and willing for innovation, be technically competent and keep up with the innovations.” We are doing all of this for a long time, with great precision and earnestly.”
Refik Gülbahar says they have imple- mented the 6 Sigma methodology which has been used for increasing efficiency in all processes in the company and this has changed their perception and they apply this methodology across all the management of their projects from the beginning to the end. Gülbahar answered our questions on the company’s present and future targets.
Why do you have these sensitivities?
We try to rank in top three companies in all areas we operate in Turkey. We will be in the top three in the Turkish market so that we can be everywhere in the world. We are a world-renowned company from Asia to America. We are well-known especially for our innovative products. We participate international exhibitions in our industry. Generally, we receive a lot of attention with our innovative products at events and we have very significant number of visitors. This makes us feel proud. Because this way also are also promoting Turkey.
What did this transformation gain you?
We have developed innovative products in textile auxiliary chemicals. We have designed many products, which increase energy and water efficiency, and are totally sustainable. Our innovative products, which eliminate many stages in the process, and shorten the time, and even finish the production in a single stage, are highly preferred thanks to its features that reduce costs, save energy and protect the environment. The conventional idea that “I will give them cheap chemicals, and I don’t care how much water or energy the dyehouse wastes” began to disappear. Under common competitive circumstances, the amount of water or energy consumed was not regarded. However, with the concept of “sustainability” they have become significantly important. You have to pay attention to this for products you export. European companies, for example, do not order any products from you if you haven’t reached a certain level of sustainability.
Is the same perspective prevalent in Turkey?
This issue still needs to be improved and become widespread in Turkey. They may prefer the cheap byproducts because of the challenging competition conditions. However, with a perspective of total factor productivity, you can save costs from other expenditures. For example, the costs you have on a process will include water, energy, chemical consumption, and dye. Let’s say the total cost for all these is 100. In the other process, the chemical is more expensive, but let’s not forget that the energy and water costs are reduced by half. The total amount is the same here, but still cheaper chemical is preferred.
However, when you use innovative chemicals, costs are reduced in the following processes, and you are protecting the environment and contributing to sustainability. It is not possible to develop such special products and sell them at a low price like ordinary products.
So, how do you get the quality approval?
Finally, we have worked with Bluesign, an independent and global approval system for the textile industry, which takes into account the entire production process and aims at minimizing the impact on the environment and protecting human health. Instead of testing the finished product, this system considers all input flows, from raw material to chemical components, water and energy sources, and examines each component, and removes potentially harmful substances from the system before production begins. According to the first report prepared by the Bluesign team, we are well above the average for many companies around the world. We consider the Bluesing approval as a standard of sustainability. Because it’s not just a document. Bluesing is a control system that is highly important and preferred in the international market.
Did your international customers require this document?
If you are exporting to Europe, you have to have the Reach document. However, we obtained the Bluesign certificate becayse as it is in line with our quality, environment and sustainability approach, and our company philosophy. We didn’t do it just because someone asked us to have the Bluesign approval. Bluesign is not just a document for us, it is a holistic perspective that radically changes our view on life. In addition, we have other documents that we have acquired thanks to our company management, occupational safety and environment. For example, we have GOTS 5.0,the world’s leading textile processing standard, ISO9001:2008, the quality management for all activities related to production and service, ISO14001 Environmental Management System to minimize our impact on the environment and control this impact, and the internationally recognized OHSAS 18001 certificate for our occupational health and safety management system. Additionally, we are the first textile chemicals company to receive 5 stars on the path of EFQM Excellence Model.
What is the EFQM Excellence Model?
Companies in Turkey do not strive so much for institutionalization. These companies need to use a system that is valid in all parts of the world in order to institutionalize, and achieve a truly sustainable success.
We’ve searched and found this system. EFQM is a European system managed by Kalder in Turkey. More than 30,000 organizations in the world, particularly in Europe, use the EFQM Excellence Model as a management model.
We are working hard to spread this model. Here, we are not only producing good products here, but we are also ensuring all aspects such as financial, employee engagement, leadership, strategic working methods, and business processes by achieving a sustainable success.
What is the main reason for your detailed and comprehensive implementation?
You cannot just say and become an innovative and leading company. It has a method, an operation, criteria, and standards. It is important to search and find it, and implement what it requires. You must want it, make your decision, and then start the process. This kind of things come to people and companies that are already prepared for it. When you say that you should institutionalize and achieve a sustainable success, you must fully implement what needs to be done, and this should be a worldwide attempt.
For example, you can’t just say and become eco-friendly. So, you are going to sign a contract with Bluesign, they will come and audit you, and say “You are a good company in global standards in accordance with our criteria.” When this happens, it will be confirmed that you have done something for the environment. Otherwise, saying things like “I care about the environment, I’ve planted trees” will remain a populist attitude, and cannot help you achieve sustainability.
What will be the next step for Denge Kimya?
Currently, we have now planned on exports, innovative products and a little bit of Industry 4.0. We want to increase the number of countries we export to, and diversify our products. For this purpose, it is important that we develop new products, namely focus on R&D. Because if you want to do R&D, you need to have an R&D center in Turkish standards, and then you need to start doing business worldwide.
Our mission is: “Whatever we produce, it must definitely have an innovative side. We do not enter a business everyone knows and produces. We don’t do that and we don’t want that. We should do something new that no one has thought of before.”
As Denge Kimya, we apply world-class methodologies, and develop brand new products. This way, we aim to become an ever-growing important brand in Turkey, and a major player all over the world with this brand.
Interview: Z. Seda Demirdelen