BY DIDEM ERYAR UNLU
The Austria-based quality control, audit, and certification company TÜV Austria Group plans to invest EUR 20m in Turkey, according to Yanki Unal, Asia and Africa Region Head of TÜV Austria Group. “We plan to invest EUR 7-10m in two years. We aim to raise this figure to EUR 20m with new investments in the fields, including railways, test services, and cyber security test centers,” Unal told in an exclusive interview with daily EKONOMI.
Founded in 1872 in Vienna, TÜV Austria Group operates in the industrial services, system certification services, information services, and training and food services fields. The company offers testing, inspection, and certification services in over 300 business lines, from automotive to information security, information technologies (IT), and food, from certification of systems and personnel of firms to training. TÜV Austria Group, which has hit a consolidated turnover of EUR 308m, operates in more than 40 countries with 63 subsidiaries and 16 countries with its partners. The company serves in Turkey with its 100% subsidiary TÜV Austria Turk.
TÜV Austria Turk launched around 25 years ago. The company, which operates in the industry, energy infrastructure, automotive, transport, training, certification, life, and sustainability sectors, manages over 20 region countries through Turkey, including countries in Asia and Africa. TÜV Austria Turk provides services for almost all sectors, such as electric and electronics, automotive, IT, technology, manufacturing, rail systems, chemicals and oil, logistics, tourism, agriculture, food, construction, health, and textile. The firm also offers test, control, certification, inspection, conformity assessment, audit, surveillance, and training solutions with its national and international accreditation and power to enhance competition and reliability of its products and services.
TÜV Austria Turk participates as a business partner in all mega projects in Turkey and the region, according to Yanki Unal. The company took place in the technical inspection, surveillance, certification, and approvals of many projects in Turkey, such as the 1915 Canakkale Bridge, Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, Zonguldak Filyos Valley projects. “We also work with enterprises listed in Turkey’s Top 500 Industrial Enterprises (ISO 500) and Turkey’s 500 Largest Private Companies (Capital 500),” Unal said. The company is a solution partner for over 20,000 customers in different industries.
CONSIDERS TURKEY AS A GATE TO THE WORLD
TÜV Austria Turk has created payroll employment for 1,100 people as of today. The firm currently employs 2,500 people overall, including those working in the field on a project basis. “Employment generally hovers around 40-50 people in our sector. Our current employment reflects Turkey’s importance for TÜV Austria Group and its potential,” Unal noted.
From this perspective, the company has important goals for the Turkish market, where it has operated for almost a quarter century. The firm does not only consider Turkey as a country but also a central country that opens to important markets in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, through its location between Europe and Asia. “We believe we will catch lightning in a bottle in the near term,” Unal added. The Austrian group has invested EUR 36m in Turkey since 2009. It aims for another investment of EUR 7-10m in two years. It also plans to increase this figure to EUR 20m with new investments in the business lines such as railways, test services, and cyber security test centers. “We are very keen on rail car testing in Turkey. There is no testing and technology center on a scale that we want to build in the country,” Unal said, stressing that they believe that such a structure will create a very high value added to the Turkish railway ecosystem and rail systems industry. The company has determined Eskisehir or the capital Ankara as target locations for his investment.
Regarding the latest investments, TÜV Austria Group became a majority shareholder in the Turkey-based cyber security firm Syber Code. “SyberCode, which completed five years in the sector, became a TÜV Austria Group subsidiary as of June 1, 2022, with its new official name TÜV Austria SyberCode,” said Unal. To him, IT and cybersecurity are the backbone of the company’s international operations because the firm expects these fields to be more important in the rapidly digitalizing world. The company aims for a comprehensive partnership and technology share with the SyberCode teams. TÜV Austria SyberCode offers solutions for the specific needs of firms in many fields, such as IT, infrastructure, organizational and technical information security, artificial intelligence (AI) applications, and data protection. The firm plans to export products manufactured in Turkey to the global market. TÜV Austria Turk aims for TÜV Austria SyberCode to be a world-known, transparent, understandable software and security firm. “We aim to reverse the brain drain by directing young Turks to the more value-added projects in Turkey as they move to other countries in the software industry,” Unal added.
The company also raises its business lines. TÜV Austria Turk started operations in the maritime and yachting sectors for the first time with its new subsidiary TÜV Austria Marine established jointly with Turkey-based maritime firm Bodrum Denizcilik. Within the frame of appraisal and quality control, TÜV Austria Marine offers consultancy, audit, training, and certification services for yachts not only in Turkey but the world. “We provide objective solutions through our survey, test, laboratory, and training services. We work as a solution partner of yacht manufacturers, their owners, and employees,” Unal said.
KICKED OFF MARITIME AND YACHTING OPERATIONS
Furthermore, TÜV Austria Marine aims to create a difference in the sector by providing training for the maritime industry with its “Marine Academy”, which merges training included in the service scope of TÜV Austria Group, such as quality, self-development, and management systems with knowledge, experience, and success of the TÜV Austria Marine. The firm has started the boat survey services this year from Turkey. It aims to offer services to all stakeholders in the maritime industry on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. “We will particularly collaborate with the flag countries in Europe and the coasts of the Aegean and Mediterranean. We aim to globalize for the next five years,” Unal noted. TÜV Austria Turk aims to play an authority role and offer innovative products to clear the yachting way for the sector with TÜV Austria Marine.
TÜV Austria Ekspertiz, on the other hand, another joint venture of TÜV Austria Group and Bodrum Denizcilik, provides survey services in the secondhand land vehicles market. The company forms a station network for high quality and customer satisfaction with sustainable quality control in line with the TS (Turkish Standard) 13805. The firm carries out vehicle controls and appraisals on the corporate and end consumer sides. From this perspective, TÜV Austria Ekspertiz aims to eliminate unjust treatments during the secondhand vehicle sales phase. Unal stated that the dealership process of the firm continues. “We aim to serve end users and corporate firms with strong dealers in 11 big cities, including Izmir and Istanbul in the upcoming period,” he noted.
TO HELP TO KEEP EUR 25M MINIMUM IN TURKEY
TÜV Austria Group Asia and Africa Region Head Yanki Unal stated that some products manufactured in Turkey are tested abroad. “The entire work for the product, including R&D and manufacturing, is sent abroad due to the absence of test service in Turkey. It cannot be sold without testing,” Unal said. To him, the cost of overseas tests is expensive. “We must pay EUR 100,000150,000 per product for some tests, especially in the railway business line. We aim to operate in this field in Turkey as much as possible. That’s why we have an investment plan in railway test services, especially rail car tests,” he noted. The company also has different laboratory projects for railway and other business lines. These planned and approved projects are currently under construction. “Thus, we will ensure that EUR 25m resource will remain in Turkey minimum. Our basic approach is to bring services, which don’t exist in Turkey, to the country and create a substantial value added for Turkey.”
“TRAINING PEOPLE IS THE BEST WAY TO ENHANCE SECURITY AND QUALITY”
TÜV Austria Group established a training center named TÜV Austria Akademi for professional business life in Istanbul Turkey, according to Yanki Unal, Asia and Africa Region Head of TÜV Austria Group. The institution provides comprehensive training, seminars, and certification programs. It organizes these training in line with the implementations, up-to-date information, experience, regulation, and legislation specific to sectors. TÜV Austria Akademi works in many fields, from management systems to medical devices, information security to automotive, food security to management, and efficiency. Individual training, products, and system certificates enable authorization in the public, commercial, and industrial fields and help people and institutions to be known globally, as the academy is an international institution with many accreditations. “As TÜV Austria Group, we believe that training people is always the best way to enhance security and quality. That’s why we brought the Turkeybased training firm Mavi Akademi under the umbrella of TÜV Austria Academy, and therefore we continue more comprehensive activities in this field,” Unal said.