A new book tells how David Power helped the auto industry discover how to listen to customers and improve quality.
David Power is touring the U.S. to promote his book, "Power: How J.D. Power Became the Auto Industry's Adviser, Confessor, and Eyewitness to History."
All auto manufacturers conduct their own internal market research and customer satisfaction index (CSI) surveys. Many auto industry executive bonuses, however, hinge on J.D. Power survey results.
Skeptical auto execs
According to Power, when he first presented his Initial Quality Survey, domestic auto industry executives were skeptical. Not surprising as Detroit auto makers have a history of insularity. Another quality guru named W. Edwards Deming also got a frosty reception from U.S. auto makers. Japanese manufacturers, however, eagerly adopted the Deming philosophy and his "plan-do-check-act" cycle. The rest, as they say, is history.
Power essentially invented customer satisfaction. Before Power came along, there was no independent measure of quality in the automobile industry. Today, the J. D. Power Initial Quality Survey is the auto industry standard.
Power’s research helped auto manufacturers understand what car owners wanted.
Voice of the customer
Power was influential in getting Detroit auto makers to build cars and trucks people actually want - by listening to the voice of the customer. While this sounds like a given, in the heady post-WW II years, Detroit auto manufacturers attributed their success to their engineering prowess, manufacturing capacity and brilliant management. In the book Power points out Detroit’s post-WW II success was due mainly to huge consumer demand and a lack of competition from foreign auto makers.
First job at Ford Tractor
According to the book, Power earned an MBA at the Wharton School of Business. He began his career in the auto industry some 50 years ago at Ford Tractor Operations in Birmingham, Michigan. Power founded J.D. Power and Associates in California in 1968.
Today a wide range of companies, including airlines and even mortgage companies are surveyed by J.D. Power. Many of these companies now use J.D. Power survey results in their advertising. Power created a license agreement for clients that allowed them, for a fee, to use Power's survey data and the J.D. Power name in their advertising.
The book is available at Amazon.