The opportunities outweighed the risk when 24 years ago, Serkan Gogus was approached to join Mogul Nonwovens, a new technical textile company that would revolutionise the non-wovens industry in Turkey.
“I thought it would be an advantage to specialise in such a niche area, rather than in an ordinary position at a more established textile business,” the qualified textile engineer tells The CEO Magazine. He was similarly aware that there was no guarantee that the company would be a success.
“As I reflected, however, I saw that there was more on offer than there were challenges, so I accepted the offer.” At a time when the non-wovens – defined as fabrics that are neither woven nor knitted – industry was still nascent, Serkan could see the potential of the business, especially in a country with such a rich textile tradition.
As he progressed from Commercial Director to CEO in 2014, another of his instincts had proven true. “I really believed that I could develop my career in the company,” he reveals.
Two decades later and the family-owned business is one of the top 40 non-woven producers in the world and Top 500 enterprises in Turkey. Along with its headquarters and production facilities in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, the company has a warehouse in Istanbul and sales agents in Portugal, Greece, Italy and China.
As a manufacturer of substrate for finished products, Mogul has built its name supplying the business to business market. “We serve almost every industry you can imagine, but our primary focus is on durable applications, or materials that are used over the long-term,” Serkan explains.
We have plans to grow our business beyond Europe and North America, where we already have a presence, especially towards Asia.
Filtration (such as air, liquid and beverage filters), automotive (including airbags and acoustic insulation), building (roofing and house wrap) and household (wipes) are some of the core applications for its non-wovens made from polymers such as polypropylene, polyester and polyamide.
“Non-wovens are used across daily life without many people realising it.” Yet, as the world scrambled for face masks and hygienic wipes – both non-woven applications – to protect against the spread of COVID-19, it was an industry that suddenly found itself in the spotlight.
“There was a lot of interest and business going on,” Serkan confirms. And while such disposable applications are not traditional markets for the business, Mogul has increased its production of non-wovens for medical applications such as masks.
“We have also made investments in melt-blown fabrics, porous materials that have a filtering function in face masks.”
Despite the uncertainties thrown up by the current climate, something Serkan says makes financial forecasting particularly difficult, the company is moving forward with its growth plans.
“We are investing in debottlenecking in the current production facilities, as well as in new applications and processes, such as a more sophisticated ERP system to improve our electronic data processing capabilities,” he shares.
“We have plans to grow our business beyond Europe and North America, where we already have a presence, especially towards Asia.” As a company in a B2B commodity market, Serkan admits it’s “difficult” for Mogul to stand out from its competitors. Difficult, but not impossible.
“We use innovation and diversification to differentiate ourselves,” he says. “Mogul is one of the few companies with such a wide range of product offerings for a variety of processes, especially in niche applications.” Such a scope of expertise may cause headaches for management, but it also means the company doesn’t have “all our eggs in one basket”.
“Across the different countries and markets we are present in, our biggest customer has less than a 10% share in our total turnover, which we see as an advantage,” Serkan points out.
“We also invest in our human resources to position ourselves as an attractive employer for talented recruits, and to strengthen our management team and fuel the future growth of our company.”
Strong organisation, strategic targets and performance evaluation systems are areas of particular emphasis in a company culture he describes as built on “trust and integrity”. “Employee engagement is very important as we believe engaged employees go the extra mile,” Serkan notes.
“As is providing opportunities for meaningful work so our employees are involved in the development and progress of the company.” This is something that Serkan, who has worked across all aspects of the business since he joined as employee number one in 1997, has decades of firsthand experience in.
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