Pervin Akarsu, after working in a company in the telecommunication sector for many years, decided to share her experiences in AKMEDA, which was founded by her two sons and manufactures disposable surgical gowns and drapes. Stating that the determination he sees in his children is the factor in his continuation of his intense work tempo, Akarsu emphasizes “production” by drawing attention to the signals given by the consumer society.
AKMEDA, a member of OSTİM Medical Industry Cluster, is expanding its targets with the contributions of Pervin Akarsu. The company is determined to wave the crescent and star flag in the sector, which has an annual average of 6 billion dollars in the world. The successful name, who is in his second spring in his working life, said, “Each of us will take the responsibility to produce as much as we can. She says Let’s produce toothpicks, safety pins, necklaces, but let’s do something.”
Can you tell us about yourself and your business life?
For more than 30 years, I worked in the leading telecommunications company of our country. I retired in 2017. After my retirement, with the invitation of my son Osman Akarsu, a textile engineer, and Şenol Akarsu, a biomedical engineer, I opened a different window to my working life. In OSTİM, I decided to share my experiences under the umbrella of AKMEDA, which produces disposable surgical gowns and drapes.
How did you make this decision?
I saw that determination and excitement in my children. In the family meetings we held with my children who run a sales consultancy business; We used to talk about how important it is to create a domestic production and employment area today. In this way, we have come to a consensus that they will give us the honor of raising good children for our family and our country by giving them the right to the engineering education they have received. They told me: “Mom, your perspective on work, your result-orientedness contributes a lot to us. Let’s do something together.”
I have served in public institutions for many years. This time, I wanted to boldly experience what I could contribute to my children and what and how I could achieve with them. Production is a different feeling. The best part is; You produce a product with your team and you stand behind it.
What are your products?
Disposable surgical drapes and gowns. These can generally be used in hospitals, clinics and many places where surgical operations are performed, during the surgical operation; Textile products that will not disturb the sterility of the doctor and the patient, and prevent the risk of contamination, that is, the person from getting germs.
These are called non-woven fabrics in the market. Its features are as follows; You can provide this fabric with water-absorbing or water-repellent properties whenever you want. This gives us the following advantage in surgeries; blood does not touch or suck on the patient’s or doctor’s skin. We evaluate fabrics according to the user’s request.
We work with the public. There are 4 million annual surgeries given by the Ministry of Health a few years ago in Turkey. About 50 percent of this is disposable. The market value of using a 2 million cover set is 50 million TL. We made a turnover of 8-10 million TL in the first three months of 2018. We entered our tenders in June and came out of the big tenders with positive results. We are in the process of delivering orders.
“We focus on female employees”
Number of employment?
90 percent of our 20-person staff is female. We plan to increase this number in 2019 with a predominantly female population. Women, who are the basic building blocks in the development of our country and in ensuring the economic development of families, have a great responsibility.
The success that women will achieve in business life by developing their self-confidence and courage; Since it will set a good example for other women, it allows future generations to be more conscious and productive.
How did your close friends react to your decision to continue working? Did anyone say ‘don’t do this job’?
More than one person said this. I was going to some authorities especially to do official transactions. “Sister, what are you doing after this time, go on a world tour.” Many people said.
How is your day going?
I stay at work for 10-11 hours a day with the children. We get up at 6 am and arrive at work at 7 am. We review our daily work plan and tour the production departments. If we have products to grow that day, we help the team and plan their transportation. We evaluate the new demands and orders and prepare offers according to the specifications. In addition, we go down to the production departments by controlling the material, equipment and stock and work together with our friends in accordance with our quality control business processes. In short, every moment of our life is spent at an intense pace here.
“We will put our hands under the responsibility for production”
Did you think that I would fail?
If you have a pessimistic feeling while intending something, you will lose from the beginning. You are already 50 percent sunk from the beginning. On the first day I started, I said to my children; The efforts we make here today should not be an end for us, but a means.
What does production mean to you?
After going into production, I wish I had left 10 years ago and came back. Providing a service is different, producing it gives much more pleasure. We have all kinds of resources in our country. I do not accept the opposite. My most valuable resource here is human resources. There is no job that Turkish people cannot do when they want. Each of us will take the responsibility to produce as much as we can. Let’s produce toothpicks, safety pins, necklaces, but let’s do something.
The consumer society is going very dangerous. I give examples everywhere; using the internet is very nice; You seem to have discovered the world, but right now, if we ask our young people the name of their grandmother, they wouldn’t know. Let’s produce to get rid of them. Anyway, let’s make something. If we devote our time to this, we will raise a generation with high self-confidence and not dependent on outside.
“OSTİM very big sea”
Why did you choose OSTİM?
We are very happy to be in OSTİM, we are very honored. Saying that my workplace is in OSTİM OSB gives a sense of trust to the other person. In Anatolia, “It is very safe in our neighborhood, you can sleep without locking your door.” There is a term called We feel the same way at OSTİM. How did we get this feeling; Until our workplace became like this, we received a lot of help from the OSTİM OIZ Regional Directorate. OSTİM is a very big sea; There is a large ecosystem here.
What do you think clustering will add to you?
In OSTİM Medical Industry Cluster; We can closely follow the developments in our sector. In addition, it provides support to us in domestic and international connections related to our production area. It guides us in the direction of what, when and where to find it. We have high expectations from the cluster for the future of our company and for increasing our sales potential by improving ourselves more. There is so much that we cannot see but that they can see.
“She gave up on vacation, she was with us”
When our education was over, my father asked us, “Will you get a job, what will you do, what will you get into?” he suggested that we start a job at a company. I also used the following expressions: “Let the risk be mine. I will be stressed, I will not sleep if necessary, but this is how I will earn my bread. I want a job like this.” he accepted.
My mother always said, “One day I will retire and travel, rest, take a vacation.” he would say. It was his only word when she was busy. Since I know her dynamism in business life, she said, “We need you. We can’t do anything without you.” I would repeat my request. One day I sat in front of her desk and said, “Mom, please take your retirement, come and start here. Let’s see you by our side.” I said and finally gave up on vacation, decided to be with us.
“I wish it had come sooner”
It is a great advantage for us to have my mother join us. We understand better how valuable her experience is in all processes of our company. I wish it had come earlier. The biggest advantage in our sector, which has a market of approximately 50-60 million TL in Turkey and an annual average of 6 billion dollars in the world; There is no import of this business in our country. We have customs codes, Turkey has a special tax application.
An additional 30 percent tax is added to foreign products at customs. Therefore, even if you find the cover set cheaper than in China, when you bring it to Turkey, the price is double what I produce. One of Turkey’s strategic production points is OSTİM. What is the best place close to both production and workbench? The answer to the question is OSTİM. This is the step that will take us to the next level.