Global product managers must balance what the marketplace wants with what is cost-effective for their company and what their engineering team says is possible. That’s in between making sure spare parts can be delivered to the right place at the right time after the sale.
What are some of the top challenges facing global product managers? How can you overcome them? Read on.
Challenge #1: Keeping Total Cost of Ownership Down
Service and repairs are an important part of the equation that is total cost of ownership. When a company supports products around the world, service logistics becomes a big component of that service cost. If a product breaks, do you need to tap your reserve supply chain to ship the product back to the U.S.? That’s a huge expense, but that’s the way many prominent OEMs handle logistics and repairs.
On the other hand, in-country or in-region testing and screening offers one of the most effective ways to lower after-the-sale product costs. It can dramatically reduce logistics expenses associated with repairs. That’s because local screening and testing can often identify problems unique to a particular area. It also saves your company transportation and warehouse costs.
For example, our company recently helped a customer identify the root cause of a costly part failure. The Flash Global team tested the product and found the part and its device were not the problem, but rather it was the packaging. By accurately identifying the problem through in-region screening and testing, we helped reduce out-of-box-failures (OBF) from 12% to less than 2% when the recommended packaging changes were implemented.
Challenge #2: Getting Relevant Data
You can’t plan for what’s next if you don’t know where you’ve been. Data makes all the difference, especially accurate, real-time data that eliminates company decisions based on stale or inaccurate information.
What’s the fix? A revolutionary software paired with an efficient warehouse and distribution model can help your company achieve an average of 98%+ on KPIs related to shipping and receiving accuracy, on-time performance metrics, inventory accuracy, and dock-to-stock on-time performance.
Timely, relevant data also helps your engineering and development departments create new products and services that meet ever-increasing customer needs.
Challenge #3: Scaling Quickly in New Markets
New markets can be a goldmine for company profits — if you can provide the right support for post-sales experiences. In order to set up shop, you have to build your own warehouse, hire personnel, and figure out new customs regulations, not to mention strategize the most cost-effective way to get products and parts into the new region. And those things are just the tip of the iceberg.
Entering a new market is an investment that takes time, energy and money. One possible solution is finding a logistics partner that already has operations worldwide and is familiar with the country you’re entering or has a proven track record of setting up shop in new places. The partner can act as the face of your company, help you mitigate trade compliance risks, and save you vital ramp-up time and money.
Challenge #4: Offering Superb Post-Sales Service
Service after the sale keeps customers happy and coming back for more. Plus, getting technical parts back into service quickly makes you look like a hero. Often, when working on products, after-sales service gets overlooked or boxed out by more pressing priorities. But if you want a product to succeed, your company needs to be able to properly give customers the attention they deserve when things go wrong.
This is another area where in-region screening, testing, and technical services works wonders at keeping customers happy. Post-sale services that are geographically close to your installed base help lower response times and the amount of valuable downtime when something goes wrong, or when a customer simply needs additional support.
Challenge #5: Capturing Customer Feedback
As a global product manager, where are you without customer feedback? Lost. You don’t know what customers like, dislike, need, or want. You’re clueless as to their pain points or thought processes.
The right after-sales team can capture vital customer feedback in a timely manner, helping your company gather market research to improve existing products, shape customer education, and develop future products. You need a team that works seamlessly with you to develop the agility to shift gears, easily monitor and address customer concerns, enhance communications, develop cost-reduction strategies, and create cross-functional teams who better address customer needs.
Challenge #6: Recovering and Recycling Assets
Asset recovery, by its very nature, is a complex process because you’re attempting to recover something of value from an existing asset. By receiving, inspecting, testing, and auditing recovered assets, your company can maximize the value of existing high-tech equipment value and lower total cost of ownership.
Asset recovery continues to be challenging because shorter product life cycles and increased demand create a steeper loss of value for high-tech equipment. Recovering the maximum value of end-of-life tech equipment must be handled properly to avoid unnecessary risk.
Challenge #7: Lowering Warehouse, Inventory, and Transportation Costs
It’s not surprise that we’re talking about money again. It’s the one challenge that will always be in play. Your boss, your boss’s boss, or another member of the executive team will always be there asking, “How can we lower our expenses?”
One way is to gain end-to-end visibility into your global parts inventory. Round-the-clock visibility into your service supply chain anywhere in the world empowers you to control costs since you know where all parts are at any time. Part of the visibility equation is the use of forward stocking locations (FSLs) that help you meet customers where they are. Leveraging visibility and FSLs, a software platform can empower you to place orders based on availability by location and facilitates the completion, delivery, and storage of accurate trade compliance documentation. You can also deliver predictable service levels and a consistent customer experience everywhere you operate.
Do you want help with the logistics challenges unique to high-tech products? Talk to Flash Global today to find out how our global network and expertise can work for you. We provide in-region test-and-screen services, service logistics, and trade compliance expertise to some of the world’s largest high-tech manufacturers in a wide range of industry verticals.