Customer Story Özgazi & Inventflow

Feta cheese, a few decades ago it was still an unknown product in the Netherlands, but now it is one of the most consumed cheeses. Not for nothing, because the tasty cheese has a lot of spice and is delicious in salads, casseroles and pastas.

Özgazi is Europe's largest producer of soft white feta cheese, with production volumes of 100,000+ kilos per day and also a highly valued customer of Inventflow for over 14 years. Together with Vural Aktürk, Deputy Director at Özgazi, we took a look behind the scenes and looked back at the successful collaboration.

Özgazi: the story

Vural: “Özgazi started in 1992 and I joined a year later. The owner came to Germany from Turkey when he was 17 to study. He had relatives in Germany and was given the opportunity to obtain a residence permit as a student. He turned out to be a good student. He mastered the German language in a very short time and studied at the university in Aachen (Rheinisch Westfalische Technische Hochschule Aken) as a metallurgist. He completed the training and also obtained his diploma.

He then went to look for work in the Netherlands, but his Dutch was poor. This made it very difficult to find a job. Together we performed cleaning work, including for Verkade in Zaandam. After doing this for three years, we worked in a restaurant in Amsterdam, washing dishes, you name it. Here we spoke to a friend, who told us about how much feta cheese was eaten in the Netherlands, while it had to be imported from abroad at high prices”.

From the start to the present

Vural: “Then we thought, let's make cheese! Feta was about as expensive thirty years ago as it is today. Prices have fallen dramatically and have been kept stable due to our high production volumes and low prices.

We started in Sliedrecht, where we produced about 300 kilos of cheese per day. But the owner was a visionary in production. We drove past this 20,000 m² building, of which 1000 m² was for rent. We rented this and started producing more and more. After a few years we had grown to 8000 kilos of cheese a day. We rented an increasingly larger part of the property, after which we bought the entire property.

The opportunity arose to take over “custom made” machines for the production of feta from a bankrupt factory in Germany, for less than a tenth of the original value. As a result, the production grew from 8,000 to 30,000 kilos of cheese per day.

Vural: “Over the past five years we have expanded our range with the production of Turkish buttermilk and analogue cheese. We have also started producing small packages of feta (200 gr), which means that the cheese now really goes around the world. From Canada to Arab countries and we even have clients in Curacao. We are currently expanding into the production of Turkish yogurt. There is also a project for the production of kashkaval. That looks like Gouda cheese, only the production process is more like that of mozzarella. This is mainly eaten in the Balkans, Turkey and Arab countries.

Seven years ago we had 30 employees, where we now employ about 100 people. In terms of volume, we usually produce between 90 and 120,000 kilos of cheese per day, with a maximum of 160,000 kilos per day”.

The collaboration: Özgazi & Inventflow

Vural: “We have been working together since the start of Inventflow in 2008. One of the things that makes the company unique is its flexibility. For example, if we need a pump quickly, I call Richard, it is arranged and we can send it back if it is not to our liking. We work together very easily and we hardly ever talk about money, for example, because I know it's all right.

The cooperation is also very good when it comes to maintenance. For example, we recently had nine pumps that had to be overhauled. A good team of mechanics came by and got the job done quickly.

I think dealing with people is the company's strength. The products are of high quality, with honest advice and the company thinks along with us. As far as pumps are concerned, we mainly purchase Grundfos and Hilge pumps from Inventflow. Hilge pumps are used in applications where the product is very sensitive and reliability is extra important.

A very nice system has been set up (Service Center), where each pump has been given a number. If we look up the pump in the system, we immediately see technical data, documentation, how much pressure the pump does, what the capacity is and more. In the event of a defect, we pass on the number and it is immediately clear which pump and parts it concerns. This means we don't have to figure anything out and can act immediately.

We also often use the IndustriePlaza. Because many pumps have long delivery times, I first check that, where I almost always find a suitable alternative. Production has to continue, so the faster we can switch, the better. If I need a pump I call and it is sent. We are super flexible ourselves and Inventflow fits in perfectly with that. I think sensing what a customer wants and adapting to it is another important strength of Inventflow”.

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