|A North American stone supplier with Turkish roots
by Alexis Fisher
September 1, 2009
|Based in Toronto, Canada,
Tru-Stone operates three stoneworking plants in Turkey, and it provides
a range of finished products. Workers utilize a broad range of
equipment in the stoneworking process.
Through technology and dedication, the owners of Tru-Stone — a
family run company — have achieved operating three factories in Turkey,
while being based in Toronto, Canada. Discovering the most efficient
methods in its operations has been key in giving the company an edge in
|Among the different finished products, the company produces a range of stone tile formats.
After coming to Canada 18 years ago and starting out
with the distribution of ceramic and porcelain tiles, Ali Bayramoglu
and sons Adnan Bayramoglu and Sedat Bayramoglu, who are all the
principal owners of Tru-Stone, began importing natural stone and
mosaics from Turkey in 2001. “It grew in popularity very quickly,” said
Sedat Bayramoglu. “As we realized the growth and potential of this type
of natural product, the opportunity came for us to a purchase a factory
in Afyon, Turkey.”
Throughout the years of developing and
expanding its machinery, production and market share with its first
Turkish factory, Tru-Stone decided to take a dive into other operations
in Turkey, where it now owns a total of three in Afyon and Bursa.
“Since we are a Canadian company, one of the biggest obstacles we have
had to overcome is to manage the operations of three factories from the
other side of the world in Toronto, Canada,” said Bayramoglu. “With the
help of cameras all over each factory, a reliable management team in
each factory, the use of communication programs like skype and other
online programs, daily reports on all machinery performances and
frequent visits to the factories, we have proven, although difficult,
that this was indeed possible.”
|During the production process, panels can go through one of the company’s six polishing lines.
There are a total of 120 workers directly employed by
Tru-Stone, who are mostly stationed in Turkey, producing a range of
finished products, including tiles, mosaics, pavers and split-faced
stone. The operation in Toronto houses the company’s head office, a
showroom and a large distribution center, and it is where all of the
operations are controlled, and inventory is kept. It is run by 12
individuals, including many family members, who all play major roles in
the company’s good fortune.
|Large-format tiles are among the products offered by Tru-Stone.
Depending on the item, Tru-Stone can currently produce
approximately 2 to 2.5 containers of finished products a day. “I can
confidently say, we are among the most efficient manufacturers in the
industry,” said Bayramoglu. “With countless hours of planning, trying
and sometimes even failing, we have found the most efficient techniques
to produce high-quality stones.”
|There are a total of 120 workers directly employed by Tru-Stone, who are mostly stationed in Turkey
A demonstration of these tactics can be seen in the
company’s investment of a 120-blade gangsaw for tile production. “[The]
gangsaw gives us on average 55 square meters of products per cubic
meter of block where as a standard block cutter gives us 32 square
meters of products per cubic meter of blocks,” said Bayramoglu. “This
difference, looking at it in financial terms, saves us around $100,000
per month and has quite an impact environmentally by using a lot less
raw materials, transportation, conserving more electricity, having a
lot less wastage to dump — one truck load per day difference in left
over mud alone — and using much less employees to get the job done.”
|Outdoor storage facilities allow plenty of space for the company’s array of products.
Beside the 120-blade gangsaw, Tru-Stone does still own
five standard block cutters, which it reports only using for paver
production or as backup. Furthermore, the three factories utilize the
following equipment for production: one double-blade saw, six tile
honing/calibrating and polishing lines, one slab polishing machine, one
bridge saw, one diamond wire frame saw, three trimming machines, three
cross cutting machines, one epoxy resin line, two drying lines, three
horizontal splitting machines, three travertine filling lines, one
industrial water treatment system, four mosaic cutting machines, one
split-face machine, two tumbling machines, one “super thin” cutting
machine, two chiseling machines, three forklifts and two cranes.
|Available finished products include tiles, mosaics, pavers and split faced stone.
The majority of the machines are made in Turkey from
such companies as M.K.S, Sarioglari, Konmak and Toksel. Tru-Stone has
also recently purchased equipment from Chinese manufacturers, including
Zhongli and Tenglong Stone. “After visiting these companies and doing
some careful research, we had just as much confidence in machines from
China, and they have certainly proven themselves” said Bayramoglu.
In the near future, Tru-Stone plans to add another 120-blade gangsaw as well as an additional polishing machine.
Efficiency practices and the customer
|The three operations in Turkey can be found in Afyon and Bursa.
From 1- x 1-inch mosaics to 18- x 36- and 24- x 24-inch
tiles, Tru-Stone is able to sell any size in between, which allows for
little to no waste. “Our wastage is almost next to nothing in
comparison to other manufacturers who sell mostly 24- x 24- or 18- x
18-inch sizes and have at least 30 to 40% breakage, which cannot be
utilized so their costs end up going way up,” said Bayramoglu. “Since
we are able to market and sell various sizes of each product in a good
balance ratio, this brings down our cost tremendously, and the savings
is passed down to our clients.”
|A large inventory of finished products is maintained at all times.
Guaranteeing the best prices in the market is part of
Tru-Stone’s marketing strategy, which sees a client base of mostly
distributors, dealers and to a lesser degree, architects builders,
contractors and designers. Most of the company’s sales come from Canada
and the U.S. in addition to having some clients in Turkey, the
Caribbean, South America and Europe, who work directly with Tru-Stone’s
factories in Turkey. Tru-Stone reports being able to ship most orders
immediately from its Toronto warehouse.
With customers already having the opportunity to choose
from more that 250 products, Tru-Stone is in the midst of purchasing a
new light beige marble quarry and a white/grey marble quarry, where it
plans to produce various finished products and sell raw blocks.
|Additionally, a showroom in
the Toronto, Canada, location allows customers to view a broad range of
Tru-Stone’s finished products.
If the new equipment investments go through — including
adding another 120-blade gangsaw and polishing machine — it will also
allow Tru-Stone to begin slab production. “Our aggressive growth plans
include increasing our inventories at our factories in Turkey and in
Toronto in order to cut lead-times,” said Bayramoglu. “We also look
forward to opening up another distribution center in the U.S sometime
“Having healthy steady growth has always been our top
priority,” he continued. “Strictly using our own financial capital to
run our business and make our investments gives us a solid foundation
to grow upon. Paying all of our major expenses, including transport,
cost of some raw materials, packaging, etc. all up front enables us to
lower our costs and always have companies lined up to work with us and
give us their best to continue working with us.”