When Jason Payne graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, he also sold the web design company that he had started in his sophomore year. “There weren’t many people doing web design at that time and it taught me how to develop new business and customer relationships while focusing on solving the problems that my customers had; the business intelligence side of things.” By the time he had completed his studies, Jason wanted to move on and use his degree the way he had intended, and being in Michigan, many companies were interested in young engineers, especially those with an entrepreneurial background and a keen understanding of business practices.
The MAPconnected Vehicle Service and Warranty Lifecycle Summit 2022 is approaching. A collaborative conversation, led by some of the most brilliant minds in the industry, will be hosted at the Westin Southfield Detroit on the 25th - 26th of October. We had the opportunity to sit down with Jason Payne, Founder and Chief Intelligence Officer at JP Strategy and Intelligence.
Jason’s problem-solving ability, cultivated during his college years, would play out throughout his career to his advantage. He was recruited by Advanced Accessories Systems as a Design Engineer and this would be his introduction to what would become a creative and non-traditional Engineer’s journey through the vehicle service and warranty space.
“I was able to see areas within the business that were not efficient; the company had doubled in size in a short period and there was an opportunity to build strong quality systems.” The company gave Jason the freedom and opportunity to explore the customer requirements and systems when it came to warranty which, in turn, allowed him to develop an understanding of how the company worked beyond the engineering function.
Jason saw what data was out there and available at the time and then created frameworks around how to best use the information, something that was new at the time. “I saw it as an interesting part of the automotive industry because warranty lets you touch a lot of different parts of an organization,” Jason explained. “You can work with engineering, with quality, with the commercial side of the company, legal; every part of the organization has some sort of interest in what's going on with their parts from a warranty standpoint.”
By late 2007, Jason had established himself in the warranty industry, someone highly active within the community and recognized outside of his organization. He was heavily sought after and chose to join Schrader Electronics, later acquired by Sensata Technologies, a large, multibillion-dollar electronics company that has business in automotive, aerospace, heavy industrial, medical, and commercial electronics. As the recession began to take hold and severely impacted automotive sales, tire pressure monitoring, Schrader Electronics’ main product, had become federally mandated and Jason found himself in a fortunate position having joined a company that was doubling in size, again.
With that kind of growth, came huge warranty exposure. “Their products were exploding in terms of usage overnight and there would potentially be a lot of exposure,” Jason explained. “I was able to build systems and mechanisms to prepare the structures that would protect the business and their customers.”
When Sensata acquired Schrader in 2016, there were people within the warranty division but it was not on a large or robust scale. Jason was perfectly positioned to move into a global leadership role and take control of warranty issues that were sizable in scale and potential impact. Jason had the opportunity to branch out into aerospace and heavy industrial manufacturing, “although the concepts are similar to that of automotive, the landscapes differ,” he said. This transition allowed him to apply his years of experience on a much larger scale.
At this point, Jason had also been a part of the Original Equipment Supplier Association (OESA) for several years as part of their Warranty Management Council. He was voted in by the members to lead their Board of Directors as the Chairman in 2013.
A collective of warranty professionals, coming together to share information and help each other, OESA played a strong role in developing the warranty network and the vehicle service landscape. “I enjoyed that,” said Jason, “it is still a great avenue for suppliers to have a method of comparing notes.” The regular meetings and interactions developed an understanding of what was working in the industry and what wasn’t. “I learned a lot and tried to transfer my knowledge as well,” Jason explains that this kind of engagement allowed for participants to see and understand how the vehicle service landscape was changing and the direction it was going in, especially with electrification. “It gave organizations the chance to adapt and prepare for things that may have serious impacts” further down the line.
Jason had been thinking about starting his warranty-centric consultancy for a while and decided once the timing had aligned both personally and professionally. He wanted to “work on the proactive side of data in warranty,” he explained. “The interesting thing about warranty is that it's an extremely critical function. However, when it comes to allocating resources to do things proactively, it is still very much an uphill battle.”
Jason currently works with several OEMs, EV startups, and companies that are building from the ground up. Whether it's the potential business they could lose if they don't address issues quickly or the financial illegal aspects of it, Jason develops strategies to not only approach the issues currently being experienced but also focus on “how to build business cases for senior leadership to say here's what we need, here's why we think we need it and here's the data behind it and here's what we can save.”
“I help companies understand where the gaps are in their existing systems and which processes and resources are out there to help them fill those gaps,” says Jason.
In the United States, as well as in some other parts of the world, there have been some massive warranty issues. There have been severe legal fines, people have gone to jail and Jason goes on to state that “their impact would have been greatly minimized if a more proactive stance had been taken in how the data and tracking were being monitored.”
After having done all the research before launching JPSI, an area of the business that Jason had not envisioned has become critical in terms of his consultancy work: third-party companies. “Companies such as software companies that are up and coming with unique capabilities when it comes to analyzing big data,” Jason explains, “whether it's predictive analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the areas where you can take huge subsets of data and find trends that are extremely difficult to identify manually” have become an interesting component of his service offering. “Helping those companies understand whom their capabilities can serve and making those introductions” has been another way in which Jason is proactively serving the vehicle service community.
There are a lot of people that work in warranty but there are few warranty subject matter experts. Things are changing though, “you are seeing companies who are starting to build actual warranty departments, for the first time,” says Jason. “I like seeing companies take it more seriously and understand the value.” Historically, it has been an “extra hat that people wear.” A Quality Manager will also be in charge of warranty returns or a Quality Technician will analyze data on a case-by-case basis. Many companies think that a warranty is “just defending yourself against cost recovery” Jason explains, or that it is a mostly financial component.
“There is a real-world impact on actual human beings and actual people.”
Jason goes on to explain that “we need to look at it from the human level and say what we're doing is not only protecting ourselves from financial implications, but it's helping to protect the people that are driving the vehicle.”
What helps design and build a better product is “taking the data and understanding what we are seeing, what the information is telling us”. Jason emphasizes the importance of sharing the data with the right people to help them create a better product: “The financial end will work itself out in the long run because you’re going to reduce the number of issues in the field, and you will reduce the number of times people will need to come in to have their vehicles repaired.”
Focusing on a proactive approach means you still have to address things from the past but then take that information and implement it to prevent downfalls in the future.
Jason will be discussing Optimizing Quality Management Between Stakeholders To Reduce Warranty Risk & Costs, at the MAPconnected Vehicle Service and Warranty Lifecycle Summit at the Westin Southfield Detroit on October 25th and 26th.
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