Interview: Savaş Yanık, Vice President of Operations, at HAVELSAN – MSI Turkish Defence Review / MSI TDR Reference Magazine of Turkish Defence and Aviation Industry

Interview: Savaş Yanık, Vice President of Operations, at HAVELSAN

1 Kasım 2016


HAVELSAN, a leading player in the Turkish defence industry, aims to expand its business ecosystem with competent and capable companies. We had the opportunity to talk with Savaş Yanık, Vice President of Operations at HAVELSAN, about HAVELSAN’s approach towards the concept of business ecosystem.

MSI TDR: Can you inform us about HAVELSAN’s strategy on the use of subcontractors, and in particular of Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SME)? What actions are you taking to improve the ecosystem of the industry?

Savaş YANIK: The term ‘subcontractor’ is somewhat of a legal term, so we prefer to say ‘business partner’.  In line with its strategies, rather than saying “I can do everything by myself”, HAVELSAN adopts the “I can do everything in the most efficient way” approach, and this approach naturally leads to the business ecosystem solution. In the development of indigenous technology products, we are aiming to make use of the specialised knowledge acquired through all types of dynamics – large and small – and to utilise approaches that are also effective in terms of time and cost. We are looking for cost-effective cooperation models based on a win-win approach that increase the domestic contribution rate, and combine existing capabilities in a complementary way. Under present-day circumstances and means, this search obliges us to establish long-term, sustainable, innovative, efficient and strong product/ service life cycles with other companies.

In this context, it is of great importance to develop strategies that will help us achieve our goals, such as offering competitive prices, being a strategic partner for the customer, increasing product diversity, supporting new business ideas about technology, products, market and processes, conducting innovative processes, and getting concrete outputs from these activities.

Besides, we also started designing the ‘HAVELSAN Technology Management System’. We are doing this by evaluating successful practices by world giant companies that are pioneers of technology, and by taking into consideration the conditions of our country. We are planning to categorise our business partners in the Business Ecosystem according to the technologies they use and their areas of activity. To assess the competence of our Business Partners, we have identified their Technology Readiness Levels with our expert staff. This will allow us to monitor the technical infrastructure, human resources and production capabilities of our own company and Business Partners. The requirements and outputs will be evaluated together, allowing both HAVELSAN and our business partners to better plan their future activities.

MSI TDR: Can you tell us about the geographical distribution of companies working with HAVELSAN?

Savaş YANIK: As you may already know, the companies and institutions operating in the defence industry are largely concentrated in Ankara and Istanbul. We are working with hundreds of local companies for our activities which include the development of systems and subsystems, cabling, production of mechanical parts and electronic components as well as engineering and integration services, all of which are necessary for the projects in which we provide turn-key solutions. In region-specific projects, we work with local companies which we believe we can cooperate with. Considering the cost and resource efficient life cycle of our projects, we prefer such companies located in the provinces where we conduct our projects .

In this context, we have Business Partners from various provinces, especially from Ankara, İstanbul, İzmir, Kocaeli, Mersin, Kayseri and Konya.

Other than these companies, we are also looking to developing our cooperation with universities as well as the technology centres that are generally established under universities. Looking from this perspective, we can also add Bursa and Sivas to the list of provinces I just mentioned.

MSI TDR: Ahmet Hamdi Atalay, General Manager & CEO of HAVELSAN, had told the following in the interview we conducted with him last year: “We are now in the process of creating a new system, which we call the ‘Business Partnership Management System.’ We plan to complete the first phase of the project by the end of 2015, and to launch the project after completing its remaining stages in the first half of 2016.” In this context, can you tell us about the current status of the Business Partnership Management System? How does the system operate? Can you brief us about the principles of implementation? How many companies have joined this system and how many more do you expect to join?

Savaş YANIK: We opened the HAVELSAN Business Ecosystem Portal – which we call as Phase-1 of the implementation procedure regarding HAVELSAN Business Ecosystem – on January 19, 2016. In this context, we started keeping a register of the companies we think we can work together in 135 different fields. We then launched Phase-2 as of the end of June 2016. We started to carry out Administrative, Quality, and Technical assessments of the companies registered in the portal at their own facilities. We share the results of these evaluations with our procurement units and engineering groups that are developing solutions for our customers. This is done in-house, within our company. We also evaluate the performance of each company and institution we work with, and use the results of these evaluations in future collaborations.

In this context, we have included over 150 companies in HAVELSAN Business Ecosystem over a period of about nine months. Our goal as a prime contractor is to establish a strong Business Ecosystem that will support our main fields of operation across the country. The ecosystem is intended to include companies whose infrastructures and capabilities have been evaluated, and which have been deemed eligible for cooperation whenever the need may arise in accordance with our project requirements.   There is no upper limit to the number of companies that can be included in our Business Ecosystem. All companies that have the potential to contribute are welcome to join this system. To avoid any misunderstandings, there is another point would like to mention. The companies we cooperate with are not limited to these 150 companies within our Business Ecosystem. In 2015, we worked with a total of 904 local companies in projects of different scales. This number was 621 in the first six months of 2016.

MSI TDR: Can you comment on the status of small and medium scale enterprises in the local defence industry?

Savaş YANIK: To sustain its strong and deterrent position in the region, it is indispensable for Turkey to have a strong armed forces and a strong defence industry that will support it. We have to improve existing technologies and/or produce new ones. More importantly, we have to do this indigenously, without any external dependence.

On the other hand, to reduce costs, share risks and increase their effectiveness by disseminating technology to a broader base as much as possible, prime contractor companies operating in the defence industry need to share their works with reliable business partners capable of meeting the technical infrastructure requirements.

Although only a very short period of time has passed since we started; when I look at our assessment reports and the information shared by the companies exist in our Business Ecosystem regarding their capabilities, I can say that our country has a strong defence, security and informatics industry.

MSI TDR: What are the features that set local companies apart?

Savaş YANIK: Before commenting on what sets them apart, it would be more appropriate to first talk about the requirements which companies must definitely meet to be able to work with us. To list these requirements, we need them to:

  • Have internalised and acceptable quality management systems, along with the relevant certificates;
  • Be focused on/ specialised in a certain area, and have the potential to take part in HAVELSAN’s value chain with this expertise; and
  • Hold a security clearance at the relevant level, if they are to take part in confidential projects.

When we look at the companies that meet these requirements, we see that they are the ones which can transform technologies into products and commercialise them, support our competitive power, adopt an R&D-oriented approach by allocating resources for R&D, and have close relations with universities and research institutions. We are planning to develop sustainable cooperations with such companies, and to move forward with our technology road map together with companies that have prioritized these criteria. Naturally, we will see the efficiency of these plans during implementation. As you would also agree, companies that fail to offer competitive prices, to meet the quality, performance and time plans defined in contracts/ agreements, or to put the necessary level of effort in meeting the expectations of our customers, will eventually find themselves excluded from the ecosystem.

MSI TDR: What should a company do if it is interested in working with HAVELSAN?

Savaş YANIK: We can start the cooperation process through the HAVELSAN website immediately after they inform us about their interest in joining our Business Ecosystem by sending an e-mail to We will then contact them to give information and guide them about the ensuing steps.

It is also worth mentioning that we, as HAVELSAN, put great effort in conducting this process without causing any extra financial burdens or serious losses in the labour force of our stakeholders.

Furthermore, stakeholders may still contact with us even if they think they don’t meet the above mentioned basic requirements. There is no obstacle to that. It may even be useful for them, since we can provide them advice on how to achieve such qualifications.

MSI TDR: Are there any other points or issues you would like to mention?

Savaş YANIK: On behalf of my company, I would like to sincerely thank MSI TDR for providing us the opportunity to share our goals and activities concerning the HAVELSAN Business Ecosystem.

On behalf of our readers, we would like to thank Savaş Yanık, Vice President of Operations, at HAVELSAN, for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing us with such valuable information.

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