By The Pro QC Quality Assurance Team
One of the most diverse countries to source from, Turkey offers a lot of opportunities due to its strategic location right on the cusp between Asia and Europe. We discuss some of the benefits of manufacturing in Turkey as well as some of the challenges.
What are the main industries in Turkey?
Turkey offers the capability to manufacture a huge range of products. The top ten exports include vehicles, machinery (including computer components), gems and precious metals, knits and clothing, iron and steel, electrical machinery and other equipment, non-knit clothes and accessories, articles made of iron or steel, plastics, and related products, and mineral fuels including oil.
Export of vehicles makes up 15.2% of Turkey’s total exports, valuing the country’s automotive manufacturing industry at US$23.9bln. While machinery makes up 8.8% of exports, at a value of US$13.8bln, number 10 in the export list – mineral fuels, including oil, alone comprise 2.8% of exports for an industry valued at US$4.3bln.
Products ranging from ceramic sinks, door pulls and handles, to PVC clingfilm and antiseptic wet wipes are shipped off predominantly to the United States, while Germany, another big export destination, has more demand for products ranging from toilets and seats, seat covers, to metal poles and leather notebooks. The United Kingdom, Spain, and even Hong Kong use Turkey as a sourcing destination for various products as well.
What are the advantages of manufacturing in Turkey?
With a well-established and diverse manufacturing sector, Turkey has several advantages for anyone looking to manufacture there. With an established domestic logistics network, Turkey’s geostrategic location is a huge positive – with the added benefit of a huge network of shipyards and a port structure that enables goods to be shipped out to both Asia and Europe very easily. Turkey’s trade agreement network is part of this geostrategic benefit, with both a customs union in place with the European Union, and free trade agreements with more than 20 countries.
Additionally, Turkey has a young and well-educated labor pool. Not only is there a qualified talent pool of engineers, but the country also attracts senior managers with extensive international experience – likely a by-product of Turkey’s strategic location. With such a qualified talent pool, Turkey has a reputation for being able to consider the brand image, yielding speed-to-market and high-quality end products for sourcing companies.
The ability to build strong relationships with Turkish manufacturers has led to an increasing number of US brands getting high-quality leather handbags manufactured there. The combined understanding of diverse production capabilities, understanding of the brand, brand-building, and product destination market, has given Turkey a strong competitive advantage.
Added to these benefits is a competitive foreign currency exchange rate, which makes Turkey’s price-point a positive for most manufacturers.
What are the challenges to manufacturing in Turkey?
Ultimately, there are still challenges to manufacturing in Turkey. These include a slightly higher political risk, so despite reliable manufacturing facilities, security risks may contribute to an inability to visit factories regularly. Currency fluctuation is also important to watch, although it tends to remain competitive, the variations can give rise to markedly different price-points at different times.
Other concerns include language and cultural differences, which can play a role in manufacturing anywhere outside the brand’s home country.
How do you ensure product quality and compliance in Turkey?
With so many manufacturers to choose from, it can be tough to assess which one exactly works for your sourcing needs. Ensuring supplier compliance and reliability as well as controlling quality assurance in Turkey are risks that need to be managed. Pro QC offers the following solutions:
- Supplier Quality Assurance and Auditing
Since visiting your suppliers can be a challenge, especially when travel is virtually impossible due to Covid-19, it is important to make sure you match with a factory that can handle your project requirements. To do this, an initial supplier evaluation, conducted by a third-party inspection service in Turkey, can provide relevant information through a one-day on-site assessment. This covers primary Quality Management System components, equipment, facilities, documents, and certifications, as well as general capabilities. Relevant information is submitted to the sourcing agent through a report with photos of the factory, a concise assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the supplier, and a recommendation on the risk level of the supplier.
Based on the product categories for import, there is a menu of different audit solutions that can be applied. For example, buyers of medical devices could consider conducting audits based on ISO 13485 (requirements for a quality management system that demonstrates an ability to provide medical devices that meet customer and regulatory requirements). Buyers of auto parts would want to ensure their potential supplier either has a strong quality management system in place, or complies with ISO 9001, IATF 16949 (quality management system for automotive-related components), or VDA 6.3 (a process audit assessing the entire life cycle of a product manufactured for the automotive industry).
2. Third-Party Inspection Services in Turkey
Third-party inspection services in Turkey are particularly useful for ensuring that product quality standards are met before goods are shipped. This service ensures the product conforms to product specifications and also identifies any defective products before shipment. The third-party inspection service deploys inspectors to the factory site for a factory audit, to verify workmanship, functionality, packaging, labeling, quantities for shipment, and other criteria as required. This enables quick identification, containment, and resolution for any quality issues at an early stage of the manufacturing cycle.