Since the news broke that all round superstar design fella James Dyson had been hauled in by UK Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt to advise the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on shaping innovation and manufacturing in the UK, some folks in the press and the unions are feeling a bit miffed.
The reason, of course, is that Dyson recently moved his production offshore to Malaysia with the loss of 800 UK jobs in the UK. So, say his critics, who is Dyson to comment on manufacturing in the UK? Especially considering that he doesn’t do it anymore.
Well, you could look at it like that. You could. But that would be very narrow minded indeed. Because the fact of the matter is that James Dyson is an entrepreneur with some very impressive qualifications and experience that could certainly benefit other manufacturers in the UK.
Looking back at his past achievements, you can quickly see three very good reasons why Dyson most certainly is the man to hire for this important job.
First off, James Dyson has figured out how to get a UK consumer to pay over £200 for a brightly coloured plastic vacuum cleaner when his competition are charging less than £100 for a device that performs a similar function.
Second, James Dyson has discovered how to extract over £800 from people who are willing to pay for a brightly coloured washing machine that cleans clothes for almost twice the price of other machines that also wash clothes.
Third, in his best coup yet, James Dyson has understood how certain consumers are willing to pay any price at all in order to have their floors swept for them. His robotic vacuum cleaner, the one that set new standards in consumer laziness, is an order of magnitude more expensive than its $200 American counterpart ‘The Roomba’.
Look, James Dyson knows more than just technology and manufacturing, doesn’t he? He knows his customers want status symbols with a big ‘technologically superior’ label attached to them. He also understands marketing. He understands the Aga cooker gang. He’s in with RangeRover crew. He’s wrapped his head around the true meaning of Bang & Olufsen. He’s in with the in crowd. He goes where the in crowd goes.
So don’t tell me that James Dyson can’t teach us anything about manufacturing. Dyson can teach us plenty.