LRP Column - February 2017
Product manager Andy Krämer’s working day usually always starts about the same. He comes into the office around 8:00am and sets himself up for the day, checks his mail and at around 8:30am, Andy switches on his computer and begins to view his emails that have arrived during the night. Why during the night? Most of Andy’s suppliers are based in time zones significantly different from ours. Therefore, it is important to find out, if there is any need for follow-ups. For the next half hour to hour, Andy’s full focus is set on his suppliers. Since his suppliers will be closing down their businesses for the night soon, this is the only time of the day where telephone or video conferences are possible.
It is now 9:30am and his R&D colleagues are already waiting for the weekly jour-fix meeting. They discuss the progress of the current projects in their various development phases, talk about problems with which they are currently faced and of course work hard on developing solutions together.
Nearly two hours after stepping into the office, Andy finally starts with the real fun that is working on his projects. During the first half hour, it will be more the administrative side before he finally gets into product testing and final approvals. But before the testing, test manuals and QC documents have to be prepared in painstaking detail. Those have to be followed later on. Depending on the product, the testing can be performed in the lab or on a track or both. And you are right; the track testing is the real fun …as long as it isn’t close to freezing with ice rain pouring down ;-) After all tests have been successfully passed, Andy takes the product to the final approval meeting with me before lunch. I am still doing the final approval for all major LRP products myself jointly with the respective product manager. Here, we review all tests and also the samples and then decide whether the product is ready to hit the market.
Suddenly, the alarm goes off… what has happened? Ah, it is lunch time at 12:15pm! So, off to the canteen for some Schnitzel! After the well-deserved lunch break, Marketing and Sales are waiting for Andy with the strategy meeting. At LRP, R&D, Sales and Marketing discuss and develop jointly product and marketing strategies. Just back from the strategy meeting, the phone rings loudly …surprise call from one of the German government organisations. The authorities need to clarify some specifications regarding the CE conformity of our latest product. After being successfully able to assist the institution, Andy is back to his regular work.
At around half past three in the afternoon, Andy continues with the project planning and takes care that all components and materials will be available when needed. It would be devastating, if production had to be delayed due to missing screws or something like that. After being up to date again, Andy continues with market research. In order to decide about his latest project, he first needs to decide whether there will be a market for such a product.
After finishing working on his market research, Andy tackles his last task for the day in the late afternoon. Strategic sourcing in cooperation with our purchasing department is also a main part of his job. For the next two hours, Andy and his colleague Cihan from sourcing are searching for possible new suppliers as well as auditing their existing suppliers which means that they are reviewing what goes well in their dealings with them and where are the problems that need to be addressed in the future.
Now it is already past 6:00pm and Andy is preparing to call it a day. But before heading home, he’ll review his meetings and tasks for the next day and prepare for everything. Finally done, Andy switches off his computer and drives home.