Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Open Letter to Auto Industry

Dear Auto Industry.

I understand that brand loyalty is important to you, so I'm left wondering why building said loyalty isn't considered an important part of your business.

Zappos has been known as one of the better places to buy shoes from. Part of this is because to them Customer Service is important to them, and actually make all there staff work the customer service department when they first start. Domino's knows that making the best possible pizza is the important part of their business, and all there staff work in a kitchen for a week on at least once a year.

If American car makers, or any other for that matter, want to build loyalty, may I suggest that you make your car designers  and anyone not working a line, to work in a factory for at least a week. I would also suggest following that up with having them work in garages fixing the cars for a week.

The garage week should be spent doing simple tasks. Replacing radios, changing light bulbs, fixing squeaky doors, fixing broken windows and the mechanisms that allow the windows to go up and down, and changing oil. Mainly the things that should be simple tasks for those that like to feel an owner ship of their car by fixing the small things themselves. For example I'm sure if the people designing the engine compartment had to take the battery out, and force a bundle of wires out of the way just to change a light bulb, they'd design better engine compartments.

If they don't have a passion for the car, why do you want them working for you anyway. It's like when Zappos offers to buy out and employee after a week of two of work. It shows if the person is there because they want the paycheck, or because they love the product. Sadly Henry Ford didn't have the foresight to come up with that. Instead he created the $5.00 day. Which brought people who cared about pay more than building the car.

It's time to change the culture, and start making cars that people enjoy working on, and driving so they will have a brand loyalty to you. The Maker culture is here and it is growing. People are remembering working with their hands and doing something themselves gives them a great feeling. You should embrace that more than alienate them. I know for a fact that there are Makers working "White Collar" jobs in the auto industry. I've worked with several of them at 2 of the Big Three. Heck one of my co-workers, in a white collar position at one of the Big 3, is looking at buying a project car. And I of course like to change the light bulbs when they burn out, without having the pull a battery, and force wires out of the way.

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