Bag Yaglari’s Story

Bag Yaglari was founded in 1928 and is one of the oldest companies in the Aegean region, and in Turkey. There are many people and business stories to be told about the company, but we would like to highlight Mr. Selahattin Sen, Plant Manager, and how he led the building of the new production facilities with minimum disruption time of production.

Selahattin Bey joined the company in 1979. Very unusual for today’s corporate world, but not for Bag Yaglari, where most of the employees have been working for the company for more than a few decades. Selahattin stated, “this is the natural result the culture of the company and the management style that we are all used to. Management shares information and treats employees as human beings, not robots which handles tasks in an automated fashion. “Moris Bey (Moris, legendary Managing Director of the company who is still actively assisting/coaching our current Managing Director and his son, Avi) taught me everything with patience over the years, and he always trusted that we’d succeed”, he adds.

The story involves the big movement from the old plant to the brand-new plant in Aliağa. With Izmir growing exponentially over the years, the old plant was in the middle of the city, and it would be impossible to serve the growing demand with the old facilities.  The factory needed a modernization/renovation and it was concluded this would be a good time to build a new plant, back in 2015.

In August 2015, initial construction/infrastructure work began in our new location, Aliaga Industrial Zone. But, the real start of the project was in the middle of November 2015, when production of the various tanks started. In Selahattin Bey’s words: “November 15, 2015… It was a very cold day, and I remember coming here with a few workers. There was absolutely nothing here, and we were trying to warm our hands during our short breaks by burning some woods in a tin”.

Things got intense as many work-streams were running in parallel (construction of the silos and plant buildings, electrical works, piping, assembly works of the new extraction unit, ordering new machines that would be used together with the machinery and the equipment that would be moved from the old plant etc.) … And they also had the old plant in production.

Selahattin stated the team worked 15-16 hours per day on average during this project. When we asked how he could motivate himself and the team for such long hours of work for an extended period of time, he said “We love our work, and when you do your work with love, it becomes easier”. But he afterwards added that he lost 25 kilos, or 55 pounds during the course of the project!

The production of 10 various purpose tanks were completed in a very short time. The secret? Good planning and design. Instead of using 6*1.5 m steel plates, he ordered 2*9 m steel plates to the steel factory, which were specially produced for us. That cut the welding works in half, and better tanks were built, in a shorter amount of time with much less cost.

Things got really crazy after the production ended at the old plant towards the end of May 2016. Besides all the work at the new plant, the disassembly, movement, overhaul and assembly of the equipment and the machinery from the old plant to the new plant were added. Just to give you an idea for the size of the movement related works, around 200 truck round trips were needed in total. After May, on average there were about 120 workers at the site, working on different work-streams and all them needed to be coordinated.

The engineers of the new extraction unit vendor said it would be a very good performance if the new plant started

production in March-April 2017, but the new planted started operations on November 20, 2016!

Modernization and optimization works did not end there. For example, the last unit which remained in our old facilities called the deodorization unit, was moved, completely redesigned and overhauled to Aliağa this summer.

As a final word Selahattin Bey says “It all starts in the head. If you want to succeed, the first thing you need to do is believe that you’ll succeed. the rest comes with good planning and hard work.”