As Category Product Manager for Roof and Landscape at Wienerberger, no two days are the same and I could be anywhere in the country! One of the most important aspects of my job is product development, ensuring that we’re meeting customer and market demands, as well as giving the industry access to new tiles and pavers.
To do this, I dedicate a lot of time to different areas of the company to keep up-to-date with how our ranges are progressing across various outlets. For example I work closely with the sales team on a regular basis to understand how well our roof and landscape products are selling.
Listening to customer feedback and using this to improve our ranges and inform new developments is also crucial. It is one of the most vital components of my job as the customers ultimately sit at the heart of what we do, so research is key to enable us to evolve our product lines. This includes spending time with merchants to understand their needs, as we want to ensure our offering is working in a way that makes their job easier, more effective and more efficient.
An example of when we have worked closely with merchants to develop a product was with our Rivius roof tile. From our insight, we found that the tile could be performing a lot more effectively, with many customers commenting that it was becoming old and tired. From this, we considered the different features that the tile should have and how we could improve on each aspect. For instance, Rivius is meant to look like natural slate, so we developed the tile to look like a more representative replica of the material.
Another area for development that was highlighted during our research with merchants was the speed in which the tile was being laid, which was a concern of their customer base. We used this detail to create an interlocking tile that would directly address the speed challenge - but this wouldn’t have been achieved without client feedback as a central part of the process.
In due course, the project was signed off and the final approval stages began, which included factory visits to follow the project through with trials and quality testing to make sure the tile met the merchants’ requirements. The time scale of this process differs depending on whether it is a new line or an old product being developed, and is also determined by the amount of changes that are being made.
Although my knowledge is extensive, working across all departments at Wienerberger to combine our skills to create the optimal end product is crucial. From accounts, sales and customer services to transport, quality control and the factory, launching a new product cannot be achieved in isolation; every division and team member has a critical part to play. Product launches often involve me working alongside the technical team to establish that the product operates to its maximum potential. I rely heavily on those in the factory – they work with the tiles every day, meaning their skilled input is invaluable when making sure certain specifications are reached.
So, as you can see, my role is vast and varied but never ever dull! The part I enjoy the most is working with different teams and departments and being out on the road rather than stuck behind a desk five days a week.