Executive Interviews




d23oyfzevdkvkmu2rjin-2c1e6826.jpgLean Institute, Turkey (LIT)
Mr. Hakan Akgul (Board Member)
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Many business people from abroad including the emerging countries have participated in HIDA training programs. Positions of the targeted audience vary with the programs, and there are some programs aimed for top executives.
This time, we interviewed with a person who runs a consulting firm in Turkey.

-Please explain your company profile first.

The Lean Institute of Turkey (LIT) was established in 2002 to support companies and organizations fulfill their vision and targets in an ever increasing globalized world. The results achieved have made us confident and filled us with more energy to continue helping companies grow their strategic potential as part of the Lean Global Network, a network of 20 national institutes disseminating Lean philosophy, methodology and practice. Lean Transformation is the new challenge. (http://www.leanglobal.org)
LIT offers unique consulting and training services to companies and organizations. Presently our 36 Lean consultants serve 63 different Lean Projects. LIT has an annual revenue of nearly 3 million USD.
We design more than 60 different training seminars and workshops which tackle every business dimension like Production Management, Operations Management, Supply Chain Management, New Product Development, Energy Efficiency and Maintenance as well as Marketing & Sales, Management and Leadership, aiming to diffuse knowledge and skills to become World Class Competitive Firms.
There are 19 books on Lean Management and Lean Methods translated into Turkish.
In LIT I serve as a board member and work as a consultant and trainer on strategy, sales, leadership, innovation, lean office, etc. Also I am responsible for the management of HQ in Istanbul where a team of 7 people has been working as secretary, and in accounting, web and sales jobs.
-What aspects of corporate management do you put much value on? Please share with us your management philosophy or policy, or something considered important. 
Lean management and servant leadership is our philosophy. We think that purpose, people and process should be aligned cooperate wise, and people should be developed. Team work is also important and knowledge sharing is essential.
-Do you think of any challenges that hinder your company business to grow and develop further? What kind of actions do you think need to be taken to address the above-mentioned “challenges”?

First rule is that we should be running everyday as the sun rises; otherwise, we cannot develop ourselves!
We should both enhance our effectiveness for the services we have been already delivering to our customers and satisfy them by the results (lead time, effectiveness, growth, quality, etc.) and also search for new business areas and opportunities that we can/should learn, digest and offer to our current and new customers.
In addition to that, we should find new consultants and develop young staff to be competent enough to get good results at the customer site. Otherwise we lag behind and cannot update ourselves. This means that we lose against competitors and remain on a plateau where we are stable and static.
LIT is a learning organization and cooperates with strategic counterparts like TEC (Toyota Engineering Corporation) and JMAC (JMA Consultants Inc.) in Japan, LEI (Lean Enterprise Institute) in USA and other brother Institutes.
For the last 4 years LIT has been trying to launch new business areas other than production, like sales, strategy, innovation, entrepreneurship, HR, IT, healthcare, lean office, construction, etc., and spending money for participating in conferences, courses, creating awareness on these topics and holding seminars with speakers from abroad.
Also LIT searches for and welcomes talented consultants.
-How do you view the current status of your business in the global market?

LIT is a part of the Lean Global Network and has been responsible for regions from the Middle East Africa to Russia for the last 3 years. As some may understand because of regional conflicts at the moment, we couldn’t inspire and affect the region as we desire.
After all we have some business projects with some customers in the region as lean assessment and lean training abroad (all around world) but it is a small amount in our revenue at the moment.
-Are you planning to expand your business overseas? What does your company consider important and wish to focus on to lead your business overseas to a success?

We wish to expand in the Middle East, North Africa (mainly in Egypt), Iran, Russia and Central Asia. We would like to improve our capabilities in teaching, helping, and improving the total enterprise system based on TPS (Toyota Production System) and our experience in TQM. Although we have no plan to start working with any Japanese company, we want to learn more about Japanese best practices.
-What are the points that you have kept in mind to develop human resources in your company? In other words, how do you wish to improve your engagement with the matter in the future?
As to HR Development, first we should select the correct persons to be satisfied mutually in the future, then develop him/her to motivate and drive more efficiency and keep him/her in the company as an expert.
We believe in respect for people at every level in the company.
Also sharing, trust and experimental learning are essential in this matter.
-What is your impression about Japan and Japanese companies? Please share with us an episode or experience that surprised or touched you.
I was actually familiar with Japanese companies and the mindset behind their success before I came to Japan for the EPQM course. Since my company is a consultancy business, in our customer companies we apply the Toyota Way of improvement both in production and sales functions.
But this time I learnt from the precious lecturers that Japan started its Quality journey country-wide in the 1960's. Companies improved themselves from that time using scientific methods in a disciplined and dedicated way to success. People have always supported all the QC activities with energy. This is very impressive.
The experience that touched me in company visits is that people are so energetic, sympathetic and working in teams. Senior management is so down to earth. From HIDA Tokyo Kenshu (Training) Center Front Desk people to ordinary Japanese in the streets you can feel the same thing.
Thank you very much for your cooperation.
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