Creating new technology is a breeze for Dyson
“We weren’t involved in electric motors at all 15 years ago. And we started recruiting clever motor engineers about 14 years ago. Now we’re producing revolutionary electric motors that no one else in the world makes anything like.”
The Airblade Tap is the most significant new development for the firm out of this increased investment. Although the obvious application is in commercial and public premises, Dyson says they could be installed in homes too, giving the company a potential new market for the Airblade products.
“I think people have put our hand dryers into their own homes,” he says.
“And I think they’ll particularly put this in, because it’s in with the tap, so you don’t have the expense of having to use towels.
“Towels are not very hygienic, because germs get on to the towels and then transfer from one person to another. Also from an environmental point of view, this is far better than paper or natural towels and hot air hand dryers as well.”
Aside from the newer products, the other strategy for Dyson to grow its business is to look to markets farther afield.
“The obvious thing is to export, because there is a huge global marketplace and you can really take advantage of that if you have got new technology and better products, says Dyson. “The new emerging markets are consuming huge numbers, and they want the latest technology. China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong - all these countries want new technology.
“So we’ve got fantastic opportunities not only to sell to mature markets such as Europe, the US, Japan, Australia, Britain, but you can double your market size by exporting to emerging markets.”
Dyson has been exporting for some time, and has built up its business outside of the UK.
The company manufactures its products in Malaysia and Singapore, though the design is done in the UK. That can bring its own problems as Dyson has trouble getting enough engineers to keep up with its RD requirements.
“It’s what really holds us back and it’s very depressing because only 12,000 [engineers] are produced in England every year,” he says.
“There’s 2.5 million produced in China and by 2015 there’ll be 3.5 million. India produces about 1.2 million. Even Iran and the Philippines produce twice as many engineers as Britain.
“So the biggest problem for us is getting engineers in our home country, We can get them in Singapore and Malaysia, but we can’t get enough here and here is where we do all our creative stuff.”