Why Design, Engineering, Management & Production Matter

  The J.D.

 

The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Avoider Study came out yesterday. One of the more interesting findings is that 14% of the buyers surveyed deliberately avoided import models, the highest level measured in the study since it started in 2003.

And the percentage of those who avoided domestic models due to their origin declined to 6%, the lowest level measured.

Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power, commented, “The decline in avoidance of U.S. models due to their origin reflects a buy-American sentiment that surfaced as the economic recession led to domestic job losses and adversely affected major U.S. institutions such as the Detroit Big Three.” Osborn added, In addition, the quality, dependability and appeal of domestic models has improved during the past several years, as well, and this may also be a cause for declining avoidance.”

A

Alan Mulally, Ford president & CEO

One consequence of this vast improvement in quality, dependability and appeal: Ford announced this morning that it earned a pre-tax operating profit of $8.8-billion for 2011. And the sales of vehicles in North America helped “offset challenges in other parts of the world.”

$8.8-billion.

Design. Engineering. Production.

The three legs of the stool in this industry that can lead to things like Ford’s tremendous accomplishment.

And it should be noted that this wasn’t a one-time thing or a fluke: this is the third year in a row that its annual operating profits have improved.

Consumers get it. Companies can benefit from it or not. It’s their choice. If they commit to excellence in Design, Engineering, and Production—and we should not overlook management, because with the wrong decisions being made at the top, those three factors can be sent in the wrong direction—as Ford has done and is doing, then they can earn serious profits.