A CA perspective from Turkey

Interview with İhsaner Alkım, Executive Committee Member, Vestel

By Janice Blondeau

One of Turkey’s leading companies and leading consumer electrical equipment manufacturer, Vestel has been part of IEC Conformity Assessment System IECEE for the last ten years. e-tech spoke to İhsaner Alkım, Vestel Executive Committee Member, about what this brings to Vestel and his advice to other companies, big and small.

İhsaner Alkım, Executive Committee Member, Vestel (Photo: Vestel) İhsaner Alkım, Executive Committee Member, Vestel (Photo: Vestel)

Customer confidence in products

e-tech: How is Vestel involved in IEC conformity assessment work?

You know that the term “Conformity Assessment” means to determine whether a product fulfils the related requirements under certain standards or not. Conformity Assessment is needed mainly because the consumers want to trust the product they purchase and the governments want to have only “no-risk” products available to their people.

IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Testing and Certification for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, which is 3rd Party Conformity Assessment, is highly regarded. Under these circumstances, Vestel applies for 3rd Party Conformity Assessment which is performed by independent CBs (Certification Bodies) in order to provide the highest level of confidence. This process ends up with fully trusted certifications. Our own laboratories located in our factories are authorized to be MTLs (Manufacturer Testing Laboratories) under this scheme (please see IECEE OD-2019) and we use SMTL (Supervised Manufacturer Testing Laboratory) procedure where possible.

e-tech: For how long has the company been involved in IEC work?

Vestel has been designing its products according to IEC International Standards for around 25 years. Our own laboratories located in our factories have been working as Manufacturer Testing Laboratories under IECEE system for 10 years.

CB certificate is a good passport

e-tech: What benefits does it bring to your company?

Vestel, as one of the biggest consumer electronics and home appliances manufacturer in Europe, is using IEC Standards and the IEC Conformity Assessment System in order to achieve the highest benefits while producing around 15 million products per year and transfer them to around 150 different countries worldwide. This reduces the trade barriers caused by different certification requirements in different countries. Having a CB certificate which is a strong passport for customs and enables a worldwide trade is really the biggest benefit for all manufacturers.

Having our products certified by an IEC CA system makes us feel the strength of this reputable organization behind us and feel the confidence that we have official and trusted approval of our products. One other benefit is that we can be so fast with IEC CA certification when entering to a market and we can reduce the costs by not performing multiple tests and approvals. The key is, “one test, one certificate, all markets” and we can do this with the IEC Conformity Assessment System.

e-tech: Approximately how many people from your company are involved in the IECEE Conformity Assessment Schemes?

Approximately 75 people are involved in the IECEE Conformity Assessment Schemes. They are experts for different IEC Standards depending on the product group and they are working with CB Test Laboratories to have CB test reports and finally CB test certificates.

Certification under IECEE Schemes

e-tech: What are the particular areas of IEC CA that Vestel is involved in?

The IEC Conformity Assessment System for Vestel is IECEE. Our products are tested according to related IEC Standards and we have our CB test certificates together with CB test reports. This is a 3rd party conformity assessment and we cooperate with our partner CB Test Laboratories and their NCBs (national certification bodies). All of our products, such as televisions, satellite receivers, monitors, tablets PCs, refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, air conditioners, cookers and LED lighting appliances, are certified under the IECEE Schemes.

e-tech: Do you also participate in standardization work at a national level? Could you please give some details?

We are joining the Mirror Committees of our NC (National Committee) and sharing our experience on that national platform. We will soon be joining the standardization work at an international level.

Facilitates global trade

e-tech: What advice would you give to CTOs who aren't convinced that participating in IEC work brings advantages to the company?
 Trade is becoming more global day-by-day and recognition of safety, performance and other important characteristics of products is becoming more important. This makes trading more critical than it was some decades ago. So, each manager should think about using IEC in order to have official and trusted passports for their products which then can help reach many markets worldwide. We believe that having this trusted IEC recognition on the products is a very important advantage to each company. Worldwide trade with trusted products is possible with IEC Conformity Assessment Systems.

IEC YPP growing the next generation of experts

e-tech: Can you also explain about your support of the IEC Young Professionals Programme? Due to the importance of being involved in IEC work, we encourage our young experts to know IEC better and to play some roles in IEC where possible. We see IEC YP (Young Professionals) programme as a very well prepared programme during which the young experts get to know about IEC in detail. Each year, we apply for this programme and up to now we have joined twice; Melbourne in 2011 and New Delhi in 2013.

e-tech: Do you help to build awareness of the importance of international standardization and conformity assessment at Vestel and in the marketplace?

The awareness of the importance of international standardization and conformity assessment is now already at a mature level in Vestel. We are trying to maintain this level all the time. We are periodically performing internal and external seminars and trainings to keep this awareness level, not only internally within Vestel, but also for the marketplace. We are providing valuable information to our customers in different markets about the importance of standardization and conformity assessment, and trying to help build awareness by putting IEC approved products in around 150 countries.

Working with IEC brings benefits to companies of all sizes

e-tech: Is there anything else that you'd like to share?

I would like to thank you for giving me such an opportunity to explain why IEC is a trusted roof for companies and how my company works within related IEC CA Systems. I suggest all companies to take advantage of IEC by means of conformity assessment and standardization work. Being involved in IEC work will provide every company many advantages regardless of their size or the markets they are making business with. Use the key “one test, one certificate, all markets.”

About the Vestel Group of Companies

Operating in electronics, white goods and IT fields and consisting of a total 25 companies, which 17 of them are abroad, Vestel Group of Companies is the flagship of Zorlu Group. Vestel is one of the strongest actors and one of the biggest manufacturers in its sector in the Turkish and international markets. It offers a wide range of products in consumer electronics, white goods, IT and digital fields with its technology and design development competency.

Vestel carries out its manufacturing operations at Manisa and Alexandrov, Russia. With a total area of 1,1 million m² in Manisa, Vestel City is the biggest industrial complex of Europe carrying out manufacturing at a single location. Vestel has raised its rank from 210 to 193 in “250 largest consumer products companies in the world” category in Deloitte’s “Global Powers of Consumer Products Industry 2012” report. Vestel realizes 2% of Turkey’s total export as of 2012 and is the export champion of Turkey in electronics sector for 15 years.

Vestel received a total of 92 design awards in 2012 from prestigious international design contests including Plus X Award, A Design Award, Red Dot Design Award, IF Product Design Award and Good Design Award.

İhsaner Alkım, Vestel TV Products group, Executive Committee Member

İhsaner Alkım graduated from Istanbul Technical University, Electronics and Communications Engineering Department, in 1977. After assuming various posts in the communications and electronics sectors, he joined the Vestel family in 1988. Alkım has served in various R&D related positions in Vestel. Appointed in 2005 as Executive Committee Member Alkim continues to hold this position.

İhsaner Alkım, Executive Committee Member, Vestel (Photo: Vestel) İhsaner Alkım, Executive Committee Member, Vestel (Photo: Vestel)
Vestel has MTL located in their factories (Photo: Vestel) Vestel has MTL located in their factories (Photo: Vestel)
IEC Conformity Assessment is bringing the vision of “one test, one certificate, all markets” closer (Photo: Vestel) IEC Conformity Assessment is bringing the vision of “one test, one certificate, all markets” closer (Photo: Vestel)