In this week's Industrial Talk Podcast, we're talking to Efe Erdem, Technology Center Director at MESS and MEXT about “Addressing the major skill gap that exists in today's Digital World”. Get the answers to your “Digital Education” questions along with Efe's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!
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Company Website: https://www.mess.org.tr/en/
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Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go. Alright, thank you very much. Again, thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast. Because this is where we celebrate industry heroes. I am so jacked for this particular interview coming up, and I just want to make sure you got to stick around. Because you are bold, you are brave. You dare greatly. you innovate and you're changing lives and you're changing. just changing the world. Why can't we celebrate you each and every day? That's what we do. We celebrate you each and every day. All right, in the hot seat, you know me, Scott, MacKenzie, you know me, and I'm all about collaboration, innovation, and education.
Here's a gentleman fa. That's e f e epi. Alright. Erdem, er d m, he's with an organization called matched. And they've got they're just coming out of Istanbul, Turkey, and they've got a lab, they've got an ecosystem that is really looking into industry for Dotto training the individuals around Europe, about the technology, it is a fabulous conversation, they are passionate about what they do. So let's get cracking. Stop listening to me right here. Now you got to keep on listening to me. You definitely do. All right. I've been doing some series, and we're gonna get into the interview. But I just I just need to reiterate. 2021 is right around the corner, it's right over there. And if you're looking out at the video, I'm looking at 2021 right down there. And it's right around the corner. Now what does that mean? Well, let's put it this way. It's going to be great to look at 2020 behind you, right. But the other thing is that what is your plan? What are you doing? How are you going to generate revenue? How are you going to close deals? How are you going to do all the things that you need to do because you can't live through 2020? Again, in 2021, now I understand the challenges that exist out there, I understand the the fluidness of this pandemic, and I have no idea. All I know is that 21 because it is December 2021. Let's create some strategies. Let's be bold here, let's be brave, let's, let's, let's consider going rogue a little bit and pushing that envelope in how you market and how you sell. Because right now, right now is the time to be able to differentiate yourself to be thinking about how things are just what can I do to be different? How What can I do to get my message out? You know, those are some of the things how do I reinvent myself, you know, that means Do you know what that means in reinventing yourself and going rogue and being, you know, unique and sad and being bold, requires you to be a little uncomfortable. But that's okay. You just been through 2020. And it's okay to be uncomfortable. Because you need to be we need you out there. So I did a, I did a live and then I flipped it into a podcast just because I can. And so I did that. And what was great about it is it's my beef with webinars, that's one that's a live that I did, we can do better, we have to do better, you have to do better, I have to do better, you know, just being okay is just not going to do it. We've got to be quite innovative when it comes to this stuff. And that goes for your marketing and your sales strategy coming up in 2021. You can tell I'm amped up on goofballs on that stuff. Because I just
I want you to be a success. That's it. So one of the things that we're doing, and I'm going to continue down this road, I want to collaborate because we're about collaboration, you know, innovation and education. But I want to collaborate with industrial sales and marketing people. I want to hear what they have to say, I want to be able to get that information out. Because if you're not generating revenue, if you're not breaking into opportunities,
it's not gonna be a good year. And I want it to be a good year for you. And so that means we've got to figure out how to do this whole marketing and sales things better. So I've got a lot of I got a lot of baggage that I want to be able to get off my back because I think we have to, we have to be so creative, so innovative, and we can't, we can't give up on our education. And that's brings me to this particular dog gone interview with Epic, fabulous organization. The, the the, the hub, they call it a hub and I'm looking at my notes because
The Hub the MCs me XT, and they're just all in passionate about educating
about industry for Dotto, it's here, your digital transformation journey has already begun, you need to figure it out, you need and that means education, because it is going fast, and it is speeding through your life. And you need to be able to educate yourself on that. And and when we start talking about all this, you've got you got to do it, man.
I'm all wigged up. Because I just, I'm so passionate about it. I'm so passionate about everybody collaborating, because we need solutions. And that means we've got to talk and collaborate. We need to innovate not just from a technology perspective, but how we interact with people be innovative. Rethink yourself. And then the third one, of course, is education. You can't stop. You can't stop not just from technology. But how are you going to get your message out? What are you going to do? That's it. All right. I'm done. I'm spent. Yeah, I am. I'm spent. All right on the hot seat again. Fa. Erdem, he's with Max, enjoy the doggone interview. All right, fa, thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast. How are you doing? Well, in Turkey, it's afternoon, here in the United States in Louisiana. It's the morning how are you doing today?
I'm doing fantastic. Thank you for the right kinds of mutation. I hope you're also doing well. Oh, I mean, I'm talking to you, How can I not be doing well, this is fun stuff. And it's really an incredible topic. And I and I love it. And I love what you guys are doing there in Istanbul and with an organization called mess and maxton, all of that good stuff. And I think that this is a timely conversation. But before we get into that conversation listeners,
epi brings a lot of doggone street cred. If you go out to his staff card on LinkedIn, you will not be disappointed. Give us a little background on who you are.
I'm the Managing Director in Charge of the MCs initiative. And they initiative is actually a product project of the largest industrial association of Turkey called mes. It's an association that is looking after 250 big large industrial companies who are active in the metal industry. And when I say metal I refer to automotive, steel, white goods and machine builders. So we are a large industrial Association and three years ago, the chairman of the association decided to undertake a massive project to build a technology center in essence, it's actually digital capability sensors that would help the member companies so I'm it's called mixed the initiative and the project is called I want to make sure this is clarified it m EXT not NEZM e XT continue that that's absolutely right. And we decided to brand it as me XD s next, that would basically refer to the next level, next era of the metal industry or next level of the manufacturing, the upcoming digital manufacturing revolution, so to say. So here, here's my,
here's my beef. Here's my insights here. My here's my challenge. And especially with this, I've I've had hundreds and hundreds of conversations that are all around industry for Dotto, digital transformation. Edge cloud II, people throw it in 5g, what the heck, why? Let's just throw that in there. Right? Let's just say it doesn't really matter. It seems like it's the the miscellaneous file for everything that's taking place within technology today. And one of the things that you could probably attest to and I have a challenge with is the speed at which technology is evolving, and the human capability of being able to
embrace it, right. It's like it's going really fast. It's like you're trying to hold on that Tiger's tail, and yet I can't consume it fast enough. Is that what Max is all about? What what give us a little background into mext. That's accepted I take Sure there so that that is a needs that are identified among our member companies as well. So we have observed that some companies are investing into upskilling and rescaling their workforce to cope up with the upcoming digital manufacturing era. But we have also observed that that was not done at scale. So it was usually the upskilling and rescaling efforts, were usually targeting maybe a small set of engineers, maybe some managers, mid level managers, but that's the
So it was we felt that it was not enough to undertake a massive transformation effort at a company scale. So as an association, we decided to step in and provide the necessary training, actually a free of charge to our member companies in order to better equip them for the upcoming new digital manufacturing era. So as you rightly pointed out, this is our primary goal, we want to upskill and rescale the workforce, so five member companies, so your member companies right now it's about 250 plus heavy industry within the boundaries of Turkey, are they just naturally a part of the maxed initiative? Like I'm a member, I'm over here now too, as well, I can get the access to this, this great training, is that how it works? That's right, we are giving them access to the training programs plus the consultancy services, which we can also touch on in a while. But, of course, like any new initiative, it's taking some time to also convey the message to our member companies. So it is not very ordinary, that an association undertakes something like this, it is such huge scale. So it is also taking some time to explain it to our member companies. Why are we doing this? And how are we going to help them? Of course, once they understand the message and our ultimate goal, they really appreciate it, and then they immediately start making use of our services. Yeah, because I'm telling you, if you think this digital transformation journey is going away anytime soon, your saw us, Sara Lee, you're going to be disappointed because it is not going away. And it is going to be around and either you're in the game and you're trying to figure it out, and how it will benefit your organization benefit your business benefit your career,
you're going to be left behind. And that is unfortunately, the truth. So guess get with the game and it now. So when you were sitting there about a few years ago, and you're with the
the head guy at Mass, and you started talking about this, a What's this gap? What's going on? What was the thought process behind that? Yes. And we observed it's a some of our members even did not realize, as you just said that it is a necessity to transform. So with some of the member companies, he felt that we need to create the urgency, a sense of urgency, and then the awareness about the digital transformation.
We also observed another set of member companies, which already started to take initial steps towards transforming their factories supply chains. But again, a I think some some the some consultancy companies prefer to refer to it as a pilot purgatory. So they were stuck in their pilot purgatory, and they were not scaling
So again, in that we identified the need to provide training to the whole workforce rather than a privilege subset, in order to in order for the company to embrace such a culture as a whole. And that was the thought process that the Soviet Navy identified first of all the need to create urgency, a sense of urgency, and provide the necessary understanding for what it takes to do that. I like it. Okay. Sorry. I like that. Go ahead. Perfect. Secondly, I think that the other observation was that the top level decision makers, and they were puzzled with the buzzwords you threw in those buzzwords just a couple of minutes ago, and
put, if you put them yourselves into the shoes of those top decision makers, they usually get to see colorful slides from a consultancy companies and everybody knows what to do best. But at the end of the conversation, the key decision makers is really puzzled about what to do what what is the initial step, what should I do for my factory, a me so it was this lack of clarity, lack of clarity that was existed in the minds of the top decision makers. And that was the second, I would say, toward that, that provoked this whole project and idea this the fact that we need to provide this clarity to the key decision makers of our member companies so that they can embrace that and cascade it as a vision to this whole workforce. So this is how I see that rolling out that is a great explanation, especially with this new
digital transformation, industry for Dotto, whatever that high level, we speak in this sort of language that we all understand, but nobody else does, right? We assume that they understand we assume that they get it right. But what what I hear FAA talking about is that there is a sense of urgency, whether we like it or not, whether you want to ignore it, there is a sense of urgency, you got to keep moving, you got to understand that means you've got to educate, that means you've got to figure out and say, yes, it's here. Yes, I got to understand. And then I've got to, I got to truly understand how this technology, this, whatever this is, is is clearly understood in into my business itself, how does it apply? All the technology is a technology, that's great. And as we talked about going forward, technology will be technology, and people will continue to push it. It's how you understand how you see it, and how you can gain value from it. I like it. I like it a lot. epi. That's a good, good way of starting out this conversation. Now. It's not.
It's not all pink elephants in cotton candy out there. What's the resistance here? Does it make sense? What's the resistance? Yes, I think that resistances is especially in with the smaller scale companies. So among our 250 companies, it's a very interesting portfolio, very diversified portfolio. So among our member companies, we have the largest industrial company of Turkey, the whole country. But also we've got SMEs, small medium sized enterprises, who employ not more than 150 people. So when you re approach, it's not an insignificant subset is roughly 77, zero out of the 250 can be classified as SMEs, when you talk to the bosses. And usually they are family owned enterprises. When you approach their bosses, it first insists they're not comments at all about evaded the digital technologies are really needed for them would bring value to them. And they have this prejudice of being confronted with not affordable technology so that they feel so this is a genuine prejudice that exists in the minds of people, they find that the technology is hugely expensive, it wouldn't add value to them. So I think to, to to answer your question, if especially in the SME segment, I think a the the resistances to overcome this prejudice, in first instance, to tell them well, there is affordable and accessible technology that would create value, even for a small sized enterprise. So this is something we are working on at the moment, I would say yeah, and you have to keep on educated, you got to keep on providing that information, you got to keep on pushing it out there just because that's important. And then it changes. And then. And that's what's so great about what you're doing at max, because you've got your finger on the pulse of what's taking place in this whole digital transformation world. That's great, and how rapidly it is changing. And therefore you can keep current with what's taking place out there in the market. And that is of significant value. I I can understand why this is an important initiative for the the the organization mess. Now, let me ask you this.
One of the very, I mean, I can't I can't ignore it, is that I know that a lot of companies are going in and are going to be impacted from the deployment of digital transformation solutions. And the and people getting their say, displaced. Is that a conversation? What? Tell us, give us a little, you know, warm and fuzzy why that's not gonna be the case. Or it might be the case, but there's still a bright future. Give us a little background into that. Yes, yes. I think a this is a very well made point. So we we have a huge target. We would like to touch 50,000 employees every year. So it's a massive effort. In fact, he did you say every year 50,000 that's that's exactly right. That's exactly what I said. Absolutely a stretch goal.
Yes, so that as you can imagine, a we are going to employ all sorts of methods, including a digital way of bringing up those courses and modules, but 50,000 people every year so that that number itself, even a brings us is the largest initiative in the world to upskill at such a scale. And so, of course as you can imagine among the 50,000 people in May
A major chunk of that population will be a hourly paid person. And so operators on the shop floor right yeah. And of it is essential that we bring across the message that this is something that that will be helping them going forward. So as you said, of course, there are some sometimes these statements like it may displace workers,
again that you have studies from Bertie economic forum that suggests otherwise, that such as in 2013, that the digital transformation and technologies will actually create more jobs than it would displace. So we are also advocating the same and saying that this is a game for all countries, for everybody. And that one cannot turn a blind eye on instead, a, I think every one of us should understand how to come to terms with this reality, what it means to have a life to our work practices, in order to continue, actually the likelihood of
having better chances for a state visit. I embrace what you're saying, I think it opens up opportunities. And I think if you accept the fact that this digital transformation is happening now, there is a sense of speed, there is a sense of urgency. And if I learn as much as I possibly can me as an individual, that just opens doors because it's not digital transformation is not just going to just be in Turkey, it's going it's global, right? You access and learn and grow and get into it, then it just opens up doors globally as well. It just does. There's no there's no way of ignoring that. And that's why it's exciting. I fully agree with that. And I think it's the moment if you look at the global landscape, there is a race and there is a race. So so even the developing nations, of which Turkey is also one are trying to not to stay behind. So it is it is it is everybody calls it it's an exponential disruptive wave. So it's happening fast. And we felt that our member companies should not also stay behind the curve. And they should be ahead of the game. You can't because you can't compete globally, because there's going to be companies that aren't going to be all in on this digital transformation, which, which we've had this conversation prior to this particular podcast, you and I and others are, embrace that incremental approach, right? It's not a what we call a big bang approach. It's like, Okay, I've got this company. And now I got to do it all at once. So you don't have to. And that's the beauty of the technology. It's, it's, it's nimble enough to be able to say, Okay, here's, here's some low hanging opportunities right here. Let's deploy it here. Let's get some wins and victories here. And then we can scale from there. And I think that that's what what do you guys advocate? Now all of this is great stuff. It's all wonderful. I get it. But you're not just in the, the the business of
here, here. Here's the education. You guys also do consulting, because one of the biggest problems I see is I don't even know where to begin. I have no clue. So you guys provide that type of guides, right? That's absurd, right? That's absurd that and that we do partially on our own in house training consultants that we have trained for this purpose. But also we are partnering up with a great institutions and other companies from across the world. In fact, with from offer from Germany, we are providing the so called Digital maturity assessment service, that would help the key decision makers to basically understand figure out for themselves, what what is the customized take a tailored roadmap for their company and for the affected for the next two years. So this is actually how the whole journey starts with our members. So we go in for one week in depth on site study, and together with our partners, and they observe end to end the whole manufacturing system. And from a special lens perspective, of course, and then they come up with the reports. It's not a generic report, but with a specialized report for that particular company Exactly. What should be done in the next two years. But then, but let's say I deployed if I say
Yeah, this is great stuff thumbs up, I'm ready to get going. But you're not going to leave me out there to dry. I'm not going to be there alone. I mean, I because technology is like going really blistering fast, right?
Two years from now, it's gonna be a completely different landscape. I'm not alone, right? I mean, you guys are just gonna still be there. That's exactly right. Not only us, but also the ecosystem that they've established, they will be there to support our member companies. So from the very beginning, give her very much conscious that nobody can do that alone, even the big companies. So everybody needs some sort of help and guidance leads from a startup need from a technology software company. So we did set that, as an association, we can afford to basically establish this web of partnerships that would help our member companies in their transformation efforts. And as such, we've signed a contracts partnership contracts with more than 40, a globally known a universities, institutions, from everywhere from Singapore to North America, we have partners that will assist our member companies together with us during a transformation journey. So I fully agree with you, it is a must to have a partner set onto it, who are
keeping up with the fast pace of technology and who can guide you during this journey. It is an ongoing journey, actually, that is here. And it's not going away. And I and I'm all into it. I hear what you're saying what with all that said, with all this great momentum that you guys are experienced, which is great, great, great. Where do you see it going? Where's that future? Where does it look like?
Yes, and I think what they would like to see a within that time horizon of planning horizon of two years, we would like to create some measurable impact in the transformation efforts. And we will measure it. And by using the just mentioned, digital maturity assessment methodologies, so we will have a pulse so to say, an index, which will tell us how much we have succeeded in transforming our member companies or help them transform themselves. So they would like to see, to see that uptick in the index for the overall metal industry among our member companies. So and then, of course, what we would like to see, of course, most of our effort is towards creating that cultural awareness, starting at the C suite, and they should embrace this as a leader, and that they should regard this as an ongoing journey rather than as a one off effort. And hopefully, within two years time, we will see our member companies coming back to us and asking for more asking for a refreshing curriculum, asking for a new set of technologies. And if we can achieve that continuity, and that's that, that sense of ongoing journey, I think that we will call consider ourselves successful in the medium term, two to three years. And going forward, going forward, hopefully, if we can create an ecosystem where our member companies cooperate, collaborate with a with other partners, from the ecosystem, global ecosystem, and mourning the research and development efforts to to start creating technologies for themselves. That would be a huge success in the longer term. Yeah, I'm telling you, right. Now, listeners, you're gonna need a definite partners, like
this group and others, but you're gonna need a partner like max. And the reason for that is that just any, any,
any technology, and any journey like this requires that because you're not going to keep up with it. And you don't want to be stagnant in that journey, right? You don't want to say, Hey, I get a thumbs up, or we're good. And then all of a sudden, you're, you don't keep up. And that's why I love the use of ecosystem. I love the use of that, that necessity to collaborate with everybody because this stuff is moving fast. And you need an organization like max to truly help you with that journey. I like it a lot. Now, Effie, are you out there on LinkedIn? I am in DTS, and you're pretty I mean, you're I need to find found you and
grab me it's Effie. Bird, I'm gonna get it. That's that's a good pronunciation if you just Okay, so the spelling is E F, E, first name, last name, e r d, e m, right? Reach out to him. I'm sure that
There's not many out there that have your name, which is a very good thing than like john Jones or something like that it's very common, but reach out to him and your, your active because I think, and this is not just, this is not in the confines of just
Turkey and that it's International, you spoke up the international fingers that are taking place with this Mex initiative. Right? That's very much true. In fact, he actually make use of saying services from international partners. But in the in the area of developing new use cases in our digital factory, a, most of the international partners utilize it as a testbed to showcase the latest and greatest technology. So I mean, we did this is something it's a winning proposition value proposition. The value for the partners, if you look at the other side of the equation is that they gain access to the leading 250 industrial companies of Turkey. So if they can, in a real working environments demonstrate the value of their technology. And this is an amazing advantage to them. Because you cannot do it in a standalone showcase environment, industrial people usually would like to visualize it on a real working production environment. Otherwise, it's just empty words to them, unless you can prove the real added value of the technology on the real working environment. And that's what we set out to do. That's why they established this digital factory. And this is why most of the partners are jumping in actually to be able to speak to the real clientele customers prospective customers and demonstrate their technology and the value of their technology. In such a great case. Even I can give you some examples during the high initial period of the pandemic. And late April, we were cooperating with with a German startup to develop a use case for CNC machining, utilizing 5g technology and highly advanced analytical modeling. So why I am giving you this example is that we are ready here to cooperate with everybody, so long as they want to reach out to the Turkish customer base. And it's great that in today's world, even a pandemic cannot prevent you from doing this. So it was possible for us to collaborate with a German startup in late April, despite the pandemic periods. And we are in fact continuing to collaborate with technology companies, startups, from Europe, from Singapore, even from North America In the meantime, so yeah.
Yeah, and I mean, I've been a big advocate on collaborating, innovating and educating and you guys reflect all of that, you create a platform, you create a an environment that allows people to collaborate, which is a positive, you create an environment that allows people to truly innovate and think through that and be innovative in their approach their business and their careers. And then of course, you provide the ability to educate because without the education, you can't innovate or it's hard to even collaborate because you're not, you're not educating yourself and I and what you guys are doing at Mex, it's, it's a great thing, because that that's what you guys do. And you're doing it with a sense of urgency and speed. Because now is the time you can't lollygag I like that. I
can use that. Go right ahead. Go use it. Put it on a bumper sticker. I don't care. It will surely by No, this is.
Alright, we're gonna have to wrap this up. And I'm sorry. We had a bit of a technical difficulties. That's what happens. You know, you live by technology, you die by technology. But for the most part, technology's pretty doggone good. All right. Now we also have a virus. I hope I said that right? as well as gorg. See, Gox Guk. Did I say those right? Come on, guys. Help me out.
You can call me Jackie. Okay, because
I feel like I'm just sort of swinging in the wind here and going Okay, here we go. Anyway, great team. Great, great spirit, great energy that you guys are doing there at max. I really appreciate you guys jumping on the industrial talk, podcast. Thanks for inviting us. Thank you so much. All right, listeners. We're gonna wrap it up on the other side. All of the contact information and information that you need to get a hold of this great team will be summed up after this break. So stay tuned, we will be right back. You're listening to the industrial
Talk Podcast Network.
Alright FA he's the man he understands and he understands and his team at max understand the necessity of education. If you don't want to leave people behind, they have organizations just like, like, max out their fabulous purpose because I look at it this way technology is barreling down that track, and they need to, we need to train. And that's why these guys are so incredibly wonderful. All right. 2021 right around the corner. I'm looking at it right now. It's right there. What are you going to do? Are you gonna market how are you going to sell? You cannot as a company, relive? 2020 Let's be successful. Right. rebuild, right. prosper. twenty.com 2021 do it. Reach out to me. I'm here to help. Big time. Alright, people be brave dare greatly hang out with those people that are bold and brave and daring greatly. You will not be disappointed. Let's have another interview right around the corner.