View This Article in BOSS Magazine
As one of the world’s most respected blender brands, Blendtec blenders shows the world that expertise and daring are fundamental ingredients for success
It started with a wedding gift.
When the top-of-the-line avocado-hued blender burned out not long after his nuptials in 1968, engineer Tom Dickson thought, “someday I will perfect the art of blending and make an indestructible blender.”
“I didn’t think it would take this long, but that’s basically what we’ve done,” he laughed, speaking to BOSS from his company headquarters in Orem, Utah.
Blendtec, the company with roots dating back 40 years, produces the world’s most advanced blenders. Chefs and mixologists in commercial and home kitchens, coffee shops, and juice bars around the world choose Blendtec products for their speed, durability, and performance.
When we talked with Dickson, he was preparing for a 3-day jaunt to China, responding to consumer demand for high speed, imaginatively designed and – you guessed it – indestructible blenders.
One stop he plans to make on the whirlwind trip is Shanghai, where he’ll demonstrate the efficacy of Blendtec blenders by using one to pulverize an iPhone 7 Plus. By the end of the year, Dickson said, every major department store in China will offer Blendtec products.
Will it Blend?Dickson became a globally recognized face in 2007, thanks to the Clio-award winning “Will It Blend” viral video campaign, which featured him wearing a pristine white lab coat while testing the blendability of inanimate objects in a Blendtec blender.
Toilet plungers. Glow sticks. Cell phones. Magnets. Disposable lighters. Unopened soda cans. If it could fit in the Blendtec jar, Dickson would don a pair of safety glasses, press a button, and pulverize it.
The campaign began in 2007 when Blendtec’s newly hired marketing manager noticed a pile of sawdust in one of the offices. The manager learned that Tom would spend hours trying to destroy items in the blenders, his way of testing the robusticity and utility of his machines.
The manager asked Dickson what the marketing budget was. “I told him ‘you’re the budget’ as he was pretty expensive, and he said how about $50. I said sure, you can have 50 bucks. So he went to Costco and bought a rotisserie chicken and a six-pack of soda and some golf balls and a bunch of other things. He came back to me and asked, “could we film you destroying these items in the blender?” And I said, oh yeah, I’d love to do that.”
Six days after the first shoot, the marketing manager excitedly told him that the video garnered six million views on YouTube. “I said ‘Who tube?’ I had no idea,” Dickson chuckled.
Local Ownership and Lean MethodsUnlike manufacturers of other name brand kitchen equipment that are made in Asia, Blendtec blenders are built in the USA.
“We’ve done so much with automation,” Dickson noted. “There’s no company in the world that’s doing what we’re doing.” The company invests in top-of-the-line CNC, injection molding, and automation equipment to make all possible parts in house. “We make our own circuit boards, plastic parts, and steel parts. We are so self-sufficient that we have 20,000 gallons of diesel and generators that can run the factory for over a month–off the grid.”
Blendtec’s integrated manufacturing operation rivals any state-of-the-art facility in the world. “We can take copper right out of our own state, from the second largest man-made hole on the planet, and draw it to wire right here in America and then wind our own motors,” Dickson declared. “Nobody does that.”
The firm also adopted ERP and CRM systems from Microsoft to support the application of lean principles throughout the company’s administrative, customer service, and sales departments.
“Lean is all about eliminating waste, problem solving, and developing the individual. It aligns exactly with Tom’s values,” said Randy Stumph, Blendtec’s chief operating officer. “When Tom sees he can cut out waste, he wants it done immediately. He catches every detail. … He believes in developing people, and he invests in them.”
Stumph added, “Lean is principle-driven, and those principles are timeless and universal. They can be applied to all aspects of the business.”
With a strong set of core values, Dickson and his team are working together to make people’s lives better. As Stumph put it, “One of our core values is integrity. The definition of integrity aligns exactly with what we’re trying to do here. Number one, it's a quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. But the other definition you don’t hear often is the state of being whole and undivided.”
That wholeness manifests in an organization where everyone is aligned with the same goals. “Our vision is to really improve lives,” he added. “Trust is another core value. We talk about that all the time in the organization because we’re extending trust, and Tom believes that success comes from the people he surrounds himself with.”
The Ultimate Problem SolverOn the day we spoke, Dickson revealed that his morning meal consisted of a smoothie made of 76 fruits and veg, grains and nuts thoroughly blended in under a minute. “People just don’t have a lot of time,” he mused. “We believe in good, fast food. You don’t find that at fast food, quick-serve restaurants, you find it at home. We’re trying to help the world get healthy.”
That mandate has driven Dickson to bring his message of innovative, reliable technology for health to 92 countries.
One of the company’s most popular commercial innovations is the high speed Nitro Blending System. “You can blend a smoothie with ice and individually brick frozen, hard fruit right in the cup that you’re going to serve to the customer,” he explained. “In doing that you don’t waste a drop of anything. You don’t waste a drop of water to clean a jar, you don’t waste product going down the drain. It’s all served to the customer without losing a drop.”
Coming soon: the Blendtec Go, which will bring the blending power and convenience of the commercial Nitro system to home kitchens.
Nearly 50 years after getting a drab green blender that wouldn’t blend, Dickson is still striding toward his goal of creating products for a healthier, happier world. That’s the best kind of gift anyone could ask for.
At its core, Blendtec is innovation. With our greatest satisfaction coming from embracing new ideas, improving upon old ones, and, ultimately, making even better blenders. Since its inception, Blendtec has been the leading pioneer in engineering blenders for commercial and home use. Today, Blendtec blenders are well known for delivering the world's most advanced, powerful blenders to homes, restaurants, coffee shops, juice bars, health clubs and more, in 92 countries around the world.
1206 S. 1680 W.
Orem, UT 84058