01 апреля 2020 Why the Product Manager for a product line is so important to customers
For some time the Fiam team has had a PM to deal exclusively with the air motor range. Together with him, we will try to understand what benefits customers have seen in interfacing with this new figure who plays an increasingly key Product/Service role in companies.
Nicola Pellizzari, let’s get right to the point: why have a Product Manager to follow the Fiam air motor range?
A premise is needed to picture the situation. Fiam has always been identified as a leading company in industrial tightening, and air motors – a very important business for Fiam – are used in very different markets and applications from the usual reference ones for industrial tightening. Hence the need to monitor the sectors using air motors, their evolution and new production requirements, and to support them more closely. After a year of studying these new markets, I can say that there are many production businesses around the world working in a wide range of fields. There is therefore a very high potential, both for us in terms of development, and for customers in terms of the service that, I am willing to bet, they will find is really efficient in Fiam, and for good reason.
Which sectors use air motors?
Air motors are used in many sectors, and designers choose them precisely for their technical characteristics. The main ones certainly include the absence of electricity and ATEX certification, which means they can be used in explosion-proof applications. From the paper industry to automatic filling lines for highly corrosive and flammable products, as well as robots suitable for cleaning hazardous environments, air motors are essential and safe components for driving some parts of the machines used in these fields.
Moreover, air motors are considerably more compact than electric motors of the same power, making them ideal for use in applications driving hand tools of all kinds: from agricultural and gardening tools, to fabric cutting tools or professional meat processing tools. Staying with the food industry, because of their size, strength and construction using materials such as stainless steel or food-grade plastics, they are also used in special food packaging machines.
What are the latest and most innovative air motor applications?
Nowadays, when energy optimization, regardless of the type, is an essential aspect, air motors are increasingly used in hybrid systems that combine fluid energy (compressed air) with electric or heat energy. In these latest generation drive systems – for example motor vehicles or other means of transport – that recover the regenerated air from exhaust systems or small high-pressure cylinders, air motors are used alongside conventional heat engines.
What does a customer expect from a Product Manager, who is often identified as the all-rounder? What can you tell us from your experience?
Yes, it makes me smile because the common perception of the PM is the person in the company you turn to when you don’t know who to ask. This may be a slightly stereotyped definition derived from the collective imagination, but I can assure you that it is also partly true, and I face it every day at work.
For me, the Product Manager is the link between the technical and commercial sides, and sometimes this role is supplementary to that of Project Manager. For example, the case of custom motors designed to customer specifications, where Fiam has a long tradition of success stories.
I would also like to think of the Product Manager as the “CEO” of the product: a flexible figure who sometimes assumes the role of a field sales engineer to define product specifications with the customer. A figure that brings home the information that technicians need to define new products or improvements to be applied to existing ones, one who studies the competition. All activities that make up the list of key actions I schedule during my working week.
There are also those who expect you to respond as a super-technician. Do you see this need?
Not in my case. Since Fiam has a TEAM of engineers dedicated exclusively to this product line, customers know that those are the ones with the appropriate technical expertise to customize the motor or design a custom solution from scratch. I remain the facilitator, the one wearing several hats at the same time, including that of the customer. And I do so with the designers, but also with laboratory technicians, for example, when the performance of newly designed motors is to be tested, or for industrializing/prototyping tailor-made design solutions when they are in the field if they use specific materials or special construction techniques.
So, where does your added value come from?
I think my added value is almost intangible but very important. In addition to operationally defining a strategy, gathering requirements, reporting them to the team, knowing and continuing to study the pros and cons of the competition, outlining activities, assigning priorities and monitoring them, I am also an attentive observer of all internal and external players, both customers and technicians. This helps me to have a broader view of the various situations, and I can often find alternative solutions with added value that those engrossed in the search for the solution to a specific problem cannot find.
Would you like discuss production requirements related to air motors with Nicola Pellizzari? Contact him directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org