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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Introduction

Dyson Ltd is a family-owned Technology enterprise which was founded in the United Kingdom in 1991 by Sir James Dyson, who started with a simple dream: creating the ultimate vacuum cleaner (Helm, 2012). In the late 1970s, James Dyson started working on solving the problem of vacuum cleaners losing suction power. After many years, lots of debts (with even his house as a collateral), and more than 5000 failed prototypes, he finally created a bagless vacuum cleaner, with the extraordinary Cyclone technology (Dickson, 2016).  

As he had no experience in how to start a business, he tried introducing his innovative product into the market by meeting with many manufacturers, but, unfortunately (or maybe thankfully) they all turned him down (Eng, 2017). Consequently, in 1993 he decided to produce the machine itself, opening a factory near his house in the countryside of England (Sunil Thapa, n.d.).

A few months later the Dyson DC01 was out on the market, competing with all those companies that rejected the innovative invention.

In the past twenty years, the company has been growing fast, reaching the top of the vacuum cleaner industry in the UK and exporting its products in more than 45 countries such as USA, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore (Sunil Thapa, n.d.). Today, Dyson expanded its range of products to hair care, air treatment, fans and heaters, lighting and hand dryers and it is known worldwide for its modern designs and high-quality products (Dyson.co.uk, 2018).

In this analysis we will focus on various aspects of the company to better understand how James Dyson, a charismatic engineer with an outstanding innovation spirit, turned his “crazy” ideas and design projects into a billion-dollar business by never giving up on his dreams and overcoming every challenge he would be faced with.  

Organizational Structure

In June 1993, James Dyson, by opening a research center and factory, became a manufacturer himself because of all the rejections he got from other manufacturers (AchooAllergy, n.d.). The first problem of becoming a manufacturer was that he didn't enjoy having the CEO role, he wanted to carry on the design and engineering, he never was a businessman, it was too big of a job for him (Helm, 2012). In 1996 he had no finance director nor production director (Helm 2012). In 2001 Martin McCourt became CEO and he launched Dyson in the US and expanded the manufacturing (Helm, 2012).

Dyson is an independent company, which shares are 100% owned by James Dyson, so he does not have any shareholder related problems and focuses exclusively on the products (Helm, 2012). Even though Dyson is a free company and does not face big management issues, having no shareholders and the company's full independence can generate risks. There are no shareholders to consult during an important decision making process, therefore James Dyson takes the big decision for the company himself.

The company employs 3100 people worldwide and  the original team was composed by only 3 Dyson engineers, who then, with time, became 350 scientists that worked with the goal to improve the product's performance (AchooAllergy, n.d.). The current CEO of Dyson, Jim Rowan, replaced Max Conze in 2017, the latter had  worked in the company as the chief executive officer for six years (Pooler, 2017).

As the company was growing fast, a big step forward towards the company we know today was the delocalisation of manufacturing to Malaysia in 2003, as its suppliers were mostly from the Far East (Helm, 2012). This was not an easy choice for him and was long criticized in the UK, as it implied hundreds of job losses. However, he believed it was fundamental to have a testing facility overseas, to decrease manufacturing costs and increase profits (Shepherd, n.d.). Thanks to this move, Dyson expected to increase profits by almost £22m and sales by £40m compared to the previous year (Gow, 2003). The company was also able to supply the US market from Malaysia, another fundamental step forwards towards today's success. James Dyson said: "We are a much more flourishing company now because of what we did and it's doubtful if we could have survived in the long term if we had not done so,"(Gow, 2003).

Today, Malaysia facility is counting 120 testing stations where they work continuously to test and prove their products under the worst conditions for improvements and to be sure that what the consumer gets is only the best (Medium, 2018).

Innovation

For something built around a relatively mundane, and often overlooked household item, Dyson impressively broke through the market establishing itself not only as one of the greatest brands in Britain but also as one of the most memorable household names in history; all thanks to the huge and continuous innovative process the brand relies on (Hodgoson, 2018). The company is more than clear in its desire to promote the idea that a Dyson product means new, different, a radical

change: a Dyson product, whether vacuum or washing machine, is an innovation, and the bright colors help these clever products stand out from the crowd.

We could even say that Dyson is a synonym of innovation. It is the company's key aspect. It is one of the big factors which keep the brand alive and relevant. They are obsessed with constant improvement and making things work better and better, they never stand still - they always and only move forward (Dyson Careers, 2018). This obsession acts as a motivational factor too – they are motivated and determined to invent and build the future through new ideas and technologies without necessarily striving for more profit and people (company size enlargement). Instead, their ultimate goal is to find a better way to solve everyday problems, which not everyone pays attention to, by changing everyday products that don't work well, into innovative and uniquely improved products (Docdroid.net, 2018). This results in people getting excited with new unexpected technologies which guarantee quality and high customer satisfaction, which moreover assures a certain level of brand-loyalty thanks to the whole post-purchase customer experience they offer (Dyson Careers, 2018). James Dyson once said "Having an idea for doing something better and making it happen - even though it appears impossible. That's still my dream." and as we can see, Sir Dyson created and is living his own dream (Dyson.com, 2018).

It's no surprise by now that Dyson's creative team is on the edge of the future by constantly innovating and pushing the boundaries of what is possible, to be able to offer their famous outcomes characterized by revolutionary designs and which (most importantly) the consumers admire (Dyson Careers, 2018). It is relevant to point out that at Dyson mistakes are not punished, rather valued because of a potential to be turned into success (UKEssays, 2018). This rather unique mindset differs Dyson from other companies and/or competitors.

The company, besides the huge importance given to “Innovation”, highlights the importance of values like design aesthetics, functionality, creativity, reliability, and luxury too (Hodgoson, 2018). It's the combination of these elements which allows Dyson to distinguish itself in the market. The company creates highly innovative and stylish products, which permits them to be competitive in the market, despite their exclusive prices (Docdroid.net, 2018). Their products are a combination of design and engineering, protected through patents, and resulting from big R&D investments, making them ultimately inimitable, and therefore competitors have a tough time trying to copy Dyson's ideas and products (Docdroid.net, 2018).

Furthermore, a lot of Dyson's investments go for the creation of new tech campuses and research facilities, such as the brand-new D9 research lab in Malsbury (UK), an extraordinary glass cube where hundreds of engineers are working on the most secret innovations which will be the base to “develop at least 100 new products by 2020” (Sorvino, 2016).

Marketing

Dyson operates around the idea of always innovating and taking risks. According to James Dyson: “The stranger and riskier, the better.” (Dyson). He also thinks that branding is totally unnecessary, and he even banned the concept from his company. He thinks that the latest product he releases is the most important thing.

Although it may not have a branding team, “Dyson does branding better than most” (Hodgson, 2018). Their brand voice seems to be an important advantage as this is what connects them with the customers. On twitter, they try to show their forward thinking and intelligent side, so people will trust them and believe that they are able to deliver “next-level technology”. They use transparent and straightforward affirmations which are easy to remember: “The vacuum that doesn't lose suction” or “Designed to move” (Hodgson, 2018).

Dyson is very easy recognizable because of its simple and still elegant and effective logo. The coloring of the logo (black and white) further emphasizes the idea that the company is not attracting customers because of its colorful products and packaging or the appealing logo, but because of the efficient and innovative products.

The company is very good at sharing their brand purpose which is just about “simplicity and innovation” (Hodgson, 2018). Even though James Dyson denies branding, he spent over $20 million on TV advertising to make sure everybody hears about his company's uniqueness and values. The most important marketing strategy that Dyson has is “the power of word of mouth” (Hodgson, 2018). When his new technology appeared on the market (a convenient but expensive  bag-less vacuum) everyone was talking about it, so it became a must-have in the British houses. “What makes the Dyson branding experience so unique, is the fact that it delivers something that customers can truly rave about.” (Hodgson, 2018). Despite people buying the gadget for its practicality, they also wanted to have it just to show off to their friends their newest acquisition and to talk about how this changed their life.

Furthermore, the company is not competing with others on price, instead, they ask for a much higher price in exchange for the most innovative devices available. They stick to their values (innovation, creativity, functionality) and this seems to attract loyal customers.

Dyson is not focused on creating global campaigns, but rather targeting the customers loyalty attained from reviews and reputation. Nowadays, the most effective way to do that is obviously thorough social media. They announce different events through their Facebook page, during which people can come and test their products. They do not need any fancy TV advertisements or billboards around the city to be noticed and to sell products. This helps the company not only to actually show people that their inventions are the most innovative on the market, but also to promote their unique stores.

Over the years, Dyson also focused on making itself notice on different platforms like Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. One marketing strategy that Dyson uses is revealing some details about a new product without, however, being very specific about it. They try to tease people through videos and marketing campaigns leaving the public in suspense about what the new invention is going to be. The accumulation of these elements just enhances Dyson's marketing strategy by creating rumours and impatience for the release date. Their magical bladeless fan is a perfect example. “The Dyson brand released details about the fan in 2009 before the actual product hit shelves in 2010.” (Hodgson, 2018). After the release, a lot of YouTubers bought the revolutionary fan to review it for their subscribers because everyone was curious about the product actual functionality. This was a win-win situation. Youtubers got more views from different people interested about Dyson's new invention and the company got free advertisements and recognition.

While excellent branding and a powerful marketing strategy can do wonders for getting your name out in the marketplace, it's worth remembering that you won't be able to accomplish much without a portfolio of excellent products (Hodgson, 2018). In fact, when the Dyson brand emerged, it was with a next-level product unlike anything else on the market at the time. With time the brand identity continued to evolve as they innovated their product range with new ideas for fans, hairdryers and robot cleaners too (Hodgson, 2018).

Human Resources

James Dyson wants to motivate his employees to: take up a good new idea & use it straight away and as efficiently as possible. Furthermore, the organizational culture is characterised by a strong entrepreneurial drive and a supportive culture that neglects failures (or obstacles) and instead focuses on getting the best out of them (Steinberg, 2012).

The company employs a lot of neo-graduates with the average age of 26, who usually are open-minded, adaptive and multitasking people (Steinberg, 2012). The main reason for Dyson to do so is because of his belief that they are fearless and inexperienced and therefore (at least at first) they will be the authors of various mistakes which will serve them as learning experience (Agarwal D., 2016). By doing so Dyson actually also positively contributed to the UK's economy during the tough crisis times (Steinberg, 2012).

His main focus is to create the perfect environment for innovation and treat the employees as leaders to increase entrepreneurship (Steinberg, 2012). Matter of fact, when you join the Dyson family, you get almost complete freedom to explore opportunities and innovate with the available technology. People can go and try out their ideas, get involved with the design process, and think outside of the box when it comes to delivering new products (Hodgson, 2018).

The company has also shown herself to be to very active in the HR sector by constantly looking for new talents and engineers, especially young people with new outstanding ideas. James Dyson said: “We want people who are creative and courageous – unconditioned fresh-thinkers. We don't strap people into a suit and plonk them behind a desk, we like to give people the chance to make a difference.” (Shepherd, n.d.). This is one of the reasons why profits are mostly reinvested in research programmes and collaborations with leading British Universities, such as the Imperial College London (Epsrc.ukri.org, 2014).

Moreover, in 2015, Dyson opened the Dyson School of Design Engineering, to teach students not just the technical engineering knowledge and expertise but also creative and innovative design thinking and problem solving (Davis et al., 2015). This can be considered as a strategic move driven by prevention: according to the Royal Academy of engineering, more than a million engineers will be needed by 2020 in the UK (Katie Grant, 2015). This shortage will form a barrier for the expanding plans of Dyson in Malmesbury, where they will need a new 3000 engineers (Rebecca Burn-Callandar, 2015).

However, even though Dyson claims to give freedom and a good environment for his employees, many employee reviews demonstrate the opposite. Many ex-employees state that the upper management does not really care about the lower level employees (Glassdoor 2018).

Finance

Dyson has grown a lot in financial perspective in the last couple of years. In the beginning, this was not always the case. During the development of Sir James Dyson's product, his financial sources were very limited and he had to even use his house as collateral for the dispenses of his prototypes (Alvin Soon, 2016). Nowadays, the company Dyson does not have to worry about his financials that much anymore. With an operating revenue of 4,741,187 thousand USD, a p/l after tax (also called net profit) of 812,041,458 USD and a total assets of 2,698,248 thousand USD, Dyson can be categorized as a very large company (Orbis, 2017).

The p/l consists out of three parts: the operating p/l (which is the gross profit minus the operating expenses) plus the financial p/l (which is the financial revenue minus the financial expenses) minus the taxation. In this case the operating p/l is 872,843 thousand USD (2,826,607-1,953,764 in thousand USD), the financial revenue is 71,611 thousand USD (86,474-14,863 in thousand USD) and the taxation is 132,413 thousand USD (Orbis, 2017). This leads to 872,843+71,611-132,413=812,041 thousand USD as p/l (Orbis, 2017).

These numbers do not say too much themselves. They really have a meaning when compared to other companies within its industry branch. For example Vax (its biggest competitor in the UK on the vacuum cleaner market (Statista, 2017), in 2017 this company had an operating revenue of 126,333,924 USD, a net profit of -14,712,678 USD and its total assets are 100,376,972 USD (Orbis, 2017). When compared, we see Dyson performs better on each part, especially on net profit. When we compare the numbers of 2017 to the numbers of 2010, we see that Dyson has grown a lot. Back then the operating revenue was 1,387,324 thousand USD, the p/l (after tax) was 227,856 thousand USD and its total assets were 741,784 thousand USD (Orbis, 2017). As shown In the table underneath there has been a massive growth over the last seven years. To keep up with the expansion of the company's activities, Dyson had to hire a lot more employees over the last years. In 2010 there were 2,730 employees in total who worked for Dyson. This number has increased to 9,110 in 2017 (Orbis, 2017).

2010

2017

growth

Operating revenue

1,387,324

4,741,187

241,8%

Net Profit

227,856

812,041

256,4%

Total assets

741,784

2,698,248

263,8%

One of Dyson's main reasons for this growth is the Asian market, as three-quarters of the rise of Dyson's annual sales, which was 40% in 2017, was due to the sales in Asia (Richard Partington, 2018). The cash flow of the company in 2017 was 1,017,416 USD and its current ratio is 1.32. A current ratio over 1 means that the company is able to remain solvent in the short term (Investopedia, 2018), which is the case for Dyson. The solvency ratio of the company is 17.28%, based on assets. A company with a solvency ratio above 20% can be considered as financially sound (Investopedia, 2018). But because average solvency ratios differ from industry to industry, it is important to compare Dyson's solvency ratio with competitor's ratio. Vax, for example, has a solvency ratio of -3.86% in 2017 and Hoover 10.50% (Orbis, 2017). In comparison to these companies, Dyson looks relatively safe.

Dyson has got the largest market share of all vacuum cleaner brands in the UK in 2017, where an estimated 14.5 million people use Dyson (Statista, 2017). The brand Vax holds second place with 5.6 million users and Hoover is placed third with 4.1 million users (Statista, 2017). Seeing these numbers, the dominance of Dyson in this market is unquestionable.

Competitors and threats

Not only is the position of Dyson in the UK pretty save, as shown in the finance part of the assignment, but it has also become even better over the years. In 2013 Dyson's market share of vacuum cleaners was 20%, Vax's 10% and Hoover's 8% (Sunil Thapa, n.d.). As we can see, the market share of Dyson is in 2017 almost three times bigger than the runner-up in vacuum cleaners in the UK, Vax. This means that Dyson's market share, in comparison to other big brands, has only become even bigger. However, there are other markets where this is not the case, such as in the US. The market leaders there in 2013 were TTI Floor Care North America, with a 32% share of volume of sales, supported mainly by its Dirt Devil and Hoover brands (Sunil Thapa, n.d.). Brissel was number two, with 21% volume share and in third place was The Eureka Co with an 11% share (Sunil Thapa, n.d.). Dyson had a market share of 5% in the US, accounting it the fastest growing manufacturer. Despite having ‘only' a 5% share, it still is quite a prestation due to the use of premium prices for the products (Euromonitor International, 2013). Its biggest competitors in Europe are Miele and Electrolux AB (Sunil Thapa, n.d.).

To protect itself against competitors, Dyson innovates a lot and uses the newest technologies to constantly improve their products. This does not mean however that Dyson should not worry about competitors. Most of Dyson's biggest competitors have developed products similar to its own cyclonic vacuum cleaner, like the Vax C88-M8-B Mach 8 (Sunil Thapa, n.d.).

Dyson creates highly innovative and stylish products, which permits them to be competitive in the market, despite their high prices (docdroid.net, 2018). However, this might lead to a threat. Like already said in the Human Resources part, there will be a severe shortage of engineers in a couple of years. This will make it harder to recruit suitable employees in the future and endanger their competitive. Counterfeiters form another threat. Dyson has quite some trouble with Chinese Firms that are replicating his products and selling them for lower prices. These imposters copy the looks and design features of the original product without offering the same quality. Because the products look so much alike, the Chinese firms fool customers who think buying the original (Matt Warman, 2012). At one moment, Dyson even pursued 20 patent or design cases around the world, many related to these Chinese Firms (Nadine Schamroszik, 2012).

Porters 5 Factors  

-  Threat of new entrants:

This part does not form as much as a threat as other parts. Mainly because it is very hard and expensive to develop high technology products and compete with already existing brands. The already existing brands have already built up a good and trustworthy reputation.

-  Threat of substitutes:

This force does however face a threat for Dyson, because there are many companies who are trying to replicate the products and technologies of Dyson. Chinese firms for example who copy and sell Dyson's products (Matt Warren, 2012).

-  Supplier power:

Because Dyson produces and designs all of its products in its own companies, it has a major advantage in comparison to most of its competitors (Sunil Thapa, n.d.). Also Dyson is constantly innovating and investing in R&D, which results in it remaining competitive to its rivals. This factor will not pose much of a threat.

-  Buyer power:

Dyson sells its products for a relatively high price, compared to its competitors (Sunil Thapa, n.d.). This could lead to a drop in sales, because customers prefer cheaper products.

-  Intensity of rivalry:

In the UK there is not much of a threat for Dyson and in the rest of the world it is growing rapidly. Although Dyson must stay alert. Competitors are using similar and competitive technologies and have relatively lower prices. To keep its position, Dyson must keep on innovating. But most competitors believe that innovating their products is the best strategy. This, as well as a fast growing industry and market dominance, are all indicators of a low intensity of rivalry (James Wilkinson, 2013)

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