A Frozen Industry
With all of the electronic goods that are being produced and manufactured in the Asian market it has made it increasingly difficult for British companies to compete, not only in foreign markets, but also in their own. The documentary Digby Jones: The New Trouble Shooter demonstrates these issues, as Ebac (a company that deals in dehumidifiers and water coolers) struggles to enter the market of selling freezers. Ebac had no issue with developing a high quality product, as they were essentially using technology that they already had possession of for their dehumidifiers and water coolers; however they suffered due the competitive nature of the market place due to foreign multinational companies.
The big multinational companies from Asia specialise in producing cheap, basic goods and are able to do this due to the abundance of cheap labour and raw materials. As Ebac are a British company that operate in Britain it is not feasible that they are able to match the bigger companies on price. In the documentary it is clear that Ebac feel that they will only be able to compete in the market if they specialise in making a high quality chest freezer. What is not discussed in the documentary is whether or not consumers would be willing to pay more for a freezer, or whether they are simply happy paying less for a more basic model. The only way for a company to find this out would be to complete market research, however the employees at Ebac seem very reluctant to do so, as they believe that they already know the consumer market that they are aiming for.
During the documentary different types of production lines are discussed on how companies can be more efficient in their manufacturing processes. The managing director of Ebac is taken around the production line at Nissan and is introduced to the Kaizen system (practice of continuous improvement) that they have in place there (www.kaizennissan.co.in, 2015), in the hope that they would be able to make adjustments to their own production line to make the manufacturing process more efficient.
Whilst watching the documentary it occurred to me that it is very easy for someone who is not attached to a company, such as Digby, to comment and judge on a company such as Ebac as they have no emotional or financial ties to the organisation. I felt that the real question that arose from the documentary was; should a company listen to an outsider with no strings attached, with no loyalty to the company and allow them to dictate the actions that the company makes? Or should they trust their own knowledge and expertise in a market that they have pre-existing knowledge of?