Interview with Major Glassware Supplier, GCA
Aegg interviewed Abdullah Gayret, Ph.D., General Manager of GCA, a major glassware production company (and exclusive supplier in the UK and Ireland to Aegg), talking about major development plans, sustainability and more…
1. Congratulations on earning your Ph.D. How did you find the time to earn a Ph.D. while simultaneously carrying out a very busy role at GCA?
I was already working when I started my MBA at Kütahya Dumlupınar University. I advise young people, particularly those new to business life, who are aiming to complete academic studies, whether a master’s or a Ph.D., to gain a few years of work experience before launching into further studies. I found this path to be more beneficial.
I advise young people, particularly those new to business life, who are aiming to complete academic studies, whether a master’s or a Ph.D., to gain a few years of work experience before launching into further studies.
They can experience different areas such as production, marketing, sales, planning, logistics, and finance during their few years of working life, to see what interests them, and make an informed decision on which discipline to further specialize in.
After I started working, I focused my studies on target costing during my master’s program and my thesis. I was most captivated by calculating product costs from an early design stage, so focused on that area, a decision which later had a huge impact on my work.
It takes dedication to complete your Ph.D. on such a tight schedule, but I had the great advantage of a supportive team. As the General Manager of GCA, I know that all my colleagues, from the management level to supervisors, have a high sense of responsibility. I took strength from their dedication to complete my Ph.D.
2. What are the future development plans at GCA?
As a Gürok Holding company, GCA can call on over 25 years’ experience in glassware production with an innovative approach and is proceeding with new factory investments at full steam.
After commissioning a second factory in Kütahya last February, we have nearly doubled our daily production capacity of 420 metric tons with an additional 400 metric tons.
We have also increased employment by 100 percent, reaching 500 employees. Recently, we initiated investments to launch a third factory in 2022. This will be our first factory to produce clear and green glassware simultaneously. We will maintain our investments from 2023 onwards.
This factory will have a daily production capacity of 500 metric tons.
These two new glass container factories will also be the largest furnaces to be built by GCA.
By 2023, GCA’s annual production capacity will increase from 1 billion to 2 billion units.
By 2023, GCA’s annual production capacity will increase from 1 billion to 2 billion units. We will also add 700 new jobs. Additionally, we are designing the infrastructure required when GCA’s new production reaches a daily output of 2,500 metric tons with a total of five factories.
With these investments, we plan to increase our share in Turkey’s glass container production capacity from 15 percent to 20 percent, and then to 25 percent, while reaching new customers with our new product portfolio.
These two factory investments alone will allow us to become the second-largest glass container manufacturer in Turkey.
3. How has business been impacted by the increased cost of raw materials and gas?
We procure raw materials and energy in foreign currency, and we are naturally impacted by the fluctuations. Yet we continue to sell in Turkish lira. When the exchange rates rise, suppliers in the glass container industry lean further towards export, as do all Turkish manufacturers in times like this.
At GCA, we also aim to increase our export rates by 30 percent.
At GCA, we aim to increase our export rates by 30 percent.
Furthermore, we will boost our recycling capacity for glass containers to further reduce our dependency on raw materials. Production processes in the glass container industry are highly energy-intensive in terms of their impact on sustainability and the environment. Unfortunately, fossil fuels are our primary energy source. We cannot replace them overnight with renewable energy sources for our processes. Melting technologies are not adaptable. Consequently, we participate in the Furnace for the Future project. If this project can be launched, we will be able to pivot towards a healthier energy consumption model.
This would allow us to protect our environment and hopefully reduce our costs
[For more information on the Furnace for the Future, you can read Aegg's interview with FEVE here]
4. As one of the organizations involved in the Furnace for the Future, how does GCA see the benefits this will bring?
Glass is among the rare materials that can be recycled infinitely. While other materials are not suited for continuous recycling, glass is broken down to its initial raw material when it is properly recycled. It is a unique environmentally friendly material that can be reused in an endless cycle.
While manufacturing to global standards, we also develop projects to reduce our manufacturing footprint. The electric hybrid furnace project, launched along with 20 other container manufacturers under the supervision of the European Container Glass Federation, FEVE, is a particularly good example. If successful, the furnace will be the first in history to operate on 80 percent green energy.
If successful, the furnace will be the first in history to operate on 80 percent green energy.
Within the scope of the project, an application was made to the EU Commission’s Innovation Fund under the leadership of FEVE. The application was selected from hundreds of projects and successfully reached the second stage. Following our receipt of the EU Fund, we will commence construction of the Furnace for the Future project.
By the end of the project, we will have a furnace in Germany capable of operating entirely on electricity. We will produce the electricity to run the furnace through renewable energy sources. We will eliminate natural gas as fuel and reduce our carbon emissions. The energy consumption of glass production will therefore be more environmentally friendly. Currently, glass container manufacturers are solely working on the project. However, over time and following success, the method can be applied to flat glass or glassware.
5. What do you think sets GCA apart from other glass manufacturers?
Since our facilities are new, we can access the technology of global players in the U.S., Europe or Turkey.
GCA’s point of difference is our global-standard production technology. Since our facilities are new, we can access the technology of global players in the U.S., Europe or Turkey. We have 25 to 30 years of experience in glass and are continuing to broaden our scope with glass containers. We have already accumulated substantial experience and knowledge, and are further improving ourselves through R&D projects.
Furthermore, GCA has a unique approach to the glass container industry, customers and project development. I believe this is our main advantage over other glass container manufacturers. The glass container industry consists of giant investments by large groups who, because of their size, operate with hierarchical, bureaucratic and static structures. At GCA, on the other hand, we follow the glassware culture of LAV, our sister company, and maintain constant communication, transparency, and sincerity with the customer. This approach gains us higher speed and agility. This was the only way we could prove ourselves in Turkey and in global markets. We knew that this quality would make us stand out from the competition. I believe that we have so far succeeded in reflecting our energy to our customers. Achieving a capacity of 800 metric tons from the initial 80 to 90 metric tons is a significant indicator of our success.
How do we support our growing business? We immediately adopted the CRM investment, unlike other glass container manufacturers who have still yet to do so. We attempted to make corporate memory and a corporate approach more sustainable. Furthermore, we established a customer project coordination office within our company. No other glass container manufacturer has such an office, which directly reports to the general manager and serves as the voice of our customers in our factory.
Even when we receive no formal complaints, we continue to visit our customers three or four times a year to discuss any issues they may have with our products and to establish a sincere and close dialogue. We are also working with a consulting firm. We refer this firm to around 25 to 30 customers annually, which account for approximately 80 percent of our turnover. Through the subsequent feedback, we analyze the experience we provide to each customer, as well as our strengths and weaknesses to further improve ourselves.
6. You work strategically with customers in the U.K., Ireland and the U.S. What differences do you see in these markets compared to other countries you supply to?
Exporting to the U.K., Ireland and the U.S. presents GCA with many advantages. Adapting to these cultures and their work styles allows us to work more easily with different regions and cultures.
Being present in such large markets with reliable business partners is a major boost for GCA in terms of increasing brand recognition and trust.
Furthermore, being present in such large markets with reliable business partners is a major boost for GCA in terms of increasing brand recognition and trust. We aim to intensify focus on demands from these markets so as to adopt a faster, higher-quality and solution-oriented approach. Consequently, we can establish larger business partnerships and export glass containers to these regions, where glass containers will be increasingly preferred.
7. Which key factors do you think will play a large part in the glass industry from 2022 and beyond?
Sustainability is once again the key matter in container design trends, particularly in the beverage sector.
In 2022, sustainability is once again the key matter in container design trends, particularly in the beverage sector. Consumers are now more informed and aware than ever about investing tangible effort for our planet. Every company in this industry must therefore keep this in mind when designing packaging for their products.
Research indicates that the use of augmented reality for packaging has increased by 120 percent within the last two years. Such products have been found to appeal more to Gen Y. Besides, through smartphone interaction, smart packaging provides countless advantages such as transparency and increased brand loyalty. Traditional packaging cannot compete with these qualities.
Nature in Design
Many product suppliers now avert sharp contrasts in colour in favour of warm earth tones and softer, more neutral shades. Products with ties to the climate, earth and a local connection will be highlighted.
Consumers now prefer larger containers. As consumer movement areas contract, demand for smaller containers, which better suit more bustling lifestyles, has fallen. Additionally, consumers prefer to purchase larger containers to limit their store visits during the pandemic. Although COVID-19’s impact on our lives may have declined to some extent, it will be a while before consumer habits shift.
Brands must adapt to consumer demand for safe and durable packaging. As more consumers turn to online shopping, delivery-friendly, dent- and damage-resistant packaging becomes increasingly more significant.
Established in 2015, GCA continues Gürok Holding’s experience and knowledge of over 25 years in glassware production with an innovative approach into glass container business. GCA is rapidly progressing towards becoming one of the top players in the international glass container industry by achieving significant success in Turkey and abroad. It exports to more than 40 countries, with a particularly strong presence in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. With effective and sustainable R&D studies, GCA successfully carries out projects that will propel Turkey’s glass container industry forward. Prioritizing respect for the environment and people and high-quality and safe production, GCA is committed to adding value to the national economy and its customers, whom it deems its “Business Partners.”
Photo credits: GCA
Like this article? Click below to receive the latest articles, Aegg product launches and industry news.