The New Troubleshooter does Knitwear
I loved ‘The Restaurant Man’ on BBC2 recently, so I was pleased to see that they’d recruited Lord Digby Jones to film a new series of ‘The Troubleshooter’. BBc2 seem determined to show some business programmes that are ‘more realistic’ to the likes of The Apprentice or Dragons Den. It’s good that they want to show business as it is.
Tonight’s programme was all about Hawick Knitwear…..which was a kind of walk down memory lane. I started my career in the textile industry as a young wet-behind-the-ear graduate – I worked for a sock company which was part of Coats Viyella. I worked there for 4 1/2 years, and had the hardest initiation into working life, yet learned the best of business understandings and grounding. All that business experience was invaluable for when I set up Breckland Orchard.
So looking at the all the finishing, the linking, the designing, and cable/intarsia patterns of the knitwear factory was fab! There were so many common factors between Hawick and my old factory that it was almost uncanny…….the factory floors were exactly the same – the same 1930’s stark buildings, the industrial layout, the slight down-at-heel appearance and the firm rooting in the past. I did think it was curious that the two main protagonists from the Hawick factory wore suits most of the time, rather than wearing their product with pride…………they were more suit and tie men, than sweater advocates. I’ve noticed that their website has crashed for most of tonight, so although the programme must have garnered lots of interest, they can’t have got the IT department geared up to cope with that interest.
Lord Digby offered some sound advice – not all of which was listened to by the men-in-suits. I liked his focus on training, his belief in British manufacturing and his mantra that ‘what gets measured gets done’ [too true!]. If you missed it, its worth catching up with the New Troubleshooter on i-Player.
Maybe I’ll be dreaming of knitting machines, stitches and patternation tonight!