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In an increasingly digital world, it’s nearly impossible to believe that manual, multi-pronged business models still exist. In the manufacturing space—currently defined by supply chain woes and backlogged inventory—laborious and antiquated systems dominate an already complex industrial makeup. As a result, product managers and manufacturers have had to adapt agile systems and processes to digitize and expedite production.

At the center of the digital modification process is product managers. Product managers exist at the intersection of supplier insight and consumer distribution. However, the responsibilities of this role surpass these traditional limitations. 

As a business navigates economic volatility, inflation, and shortages, the product manager’s goal is to remain one step ahead of these hurdles. The product manager must anticipate consumer trends in real-time, before they dominate the market. Production plans are then modified and altered accordingly.

Adopting agile, and, in turn, digital processes means for more seamless and efficient product development and oversight. These automated structures simultaneously maximize product output and subsequent profit.

Use Automated Solutions To Ensure Efficiency

The introduction of digital transformation and the implementation of big data solutions are vital tools in elevating a business’ offerings. When paired in conjunction with agile manufacturing processes, a company’s output can exceed consumer expectations and vastly increase profit margins. 

The technology tools used in these shifts to agile strategies aids in a business’ core efficiency and overall performance. These streamlined processes can help combat profit-thinning circumstances, such as the lingering effects of Covid-19 or ongoing supply chain disruptions, by breaking down multi-stepped internal processes and integrating them into fewer, more systemized procedures. The act of melding product and business strategies into a single roadmap view allows manufacturers a strategic viewpoint of their product offerings and allows them to predict outcomes more accurately, whilst simultaneously simplifying internal operations.

Collect Employee Feedback

Digital transformation is a gradual, collaborative process. Transparency and open communication should be prioritized by CIOs in an effort to unite their company and integrate solutions that benefit all. An environment that emphasizes company-wide alliance and an openness to employee feedback is one most likely to thrive under their new automated conditions. Businesses should start small in their digital shifts, such as collaborative brainstorming sessions, or department-specific training to ensure seamless transitions.

A manufacturing company’s pulse lies with their product team, whose very position requires masterful communication with the upper management team on output and company direction. Open dialogue with the product team can help organize and regroup a company, particularly one hoping to implement problem-solving tools under a single source of truth.

Prepare For Unpreparedness

In adopting an effective product strategy, businesses must both expect the best and prepare for the worst. Lack of strategic planning, including a strong product vision, is a guaranteed loss of funds and waste of time —with production hiccups resulting in more expensive projects, upended sales targets, and derailed organizational efforts.

PRM, or product roadmap management, is a series of platform systems that track a product in every step of production. The very use of these strategic planning platforms ensures that the development and deployment of products are aligned with overall business and market goals. In manufacturing, multiple teams and components are involved in production efforts. To finalize a product, the product manager needs the input of numerous departments, both internal and external, in order to meet consumer needs. 

As the product manager coordinates with both internal and external players, communication and organization are key. If a supplier, for example, is integrating electronic tools into a product, such as an engine or a microchip, the product manager must maintain open discourse between the outside source and their internal teammates. However, no business is immune to human error. The alarming ease at which small mishaps build into larger, more costly hurdles should be at the forefront of all corporate conversations.

With that in mind, PRM solutions mitigate and combat these inevitable errors. Operating under a single source of truth, these platforms track production times, assess consumer demand, and monitor for new product developments and supplier revisions. PRM allows product managers to collaborate with cross functional stakeholders to ensure the financial and consumer goals are met, ensuring every step and every department of a business are aligned on company output.

To create an efficient product strategy is to reevaluate your employee and overall business needs. The goal of streamlining efforts to improve internal operations requires a great deal of commitment, collaboration, and communication. All in all, adopting agile solutions and digitizing manual processes is only half the battle. Successfully realigning internal organization and introducing a digital transformation is entirely dependent upon a company’s willingness to listen to their employees and work with them as they embrace these significant changes. 

By Maziar Adl

Maziar is a strategic product leader with a record for spearheading the successful design and rollout of medium to large-scale technology roadmaps and transformation. Throughout his career, Maziar has become renowned as an expert in improving organizations and teams' long-term performance strategies using better, accessible, and timely information and analytics. Prior to Gocious, Maziar worked at Experian, where he oversaw a major transformation to pivot and modernize Consumer Services division products, including developing a new enterprise SaaS platform and product family in the cloud.