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The Product Management (PdM) department’s goals include ensuring that customer and market needs are met and that the highest quality standards are maintained. Marketing also falls within the remit of the PdM department. It is the responsibility of Mr. Paul Buisman, Product Management Director, to ensure that everything runs smoothly within his department.
The PdM department is the link between commerce and technology. Paul explains: “We use input from Sales and Service to understand what our customers require and come up with ideas for what we can produce which will help our customers meet the demands of today’s market. Then we convert all this research and information into projects. ‘Turn market needs into equipment that our team can produce and service best’ is a phrase I came up with. In other words: what can we produce with the highest quality to improve our customers’ business? That is the game we play at the PdM department.”
The advantage is that the people who came up with the idea and truly understand what we want to accomplish sit next to the marketing people.
From idea to reality
It takes a lot of time before an idea is put into production. It all starts with collecting data and understanding the market. “Then we produce a roadmap to get an overview: how does this project fits within our portfolio and planning? And we must talk about budget. What will it cost, what will it yield and most importantly what will it offer our customers? That is the time we must make tough decisions so we can translate the input into individual projects. If these projects are approved by the Management team, we can go to R&D with our plans. Our ideas are discussed and together we think about how we can develop them into products. The R&D department has to consider the whole process, from concept to reality. What kind of controls are required? Which materials and construction should be utilised? How should the software function? Can this machine be installed easily? Will it be easy to maintain? After all these questions are answered, the design of a prototype can start. If all internal tests go well, we can start a first field test. With the aid of one or more of these field tests followed by a zero series we can find out if there are any problems that need to be fixed. Once everything is running smoothly, we can start production in full.”
When producing a new product, the introduction to the market is crucial. Think of brochures, advertisements, website, manuals and training. That is why Moba chose to place Marketing under the same roof as PdM. “If we make sure that we already have the specifications clear during the process, then marketing can easily build on that. The advantage is that the people who came up with the idea and truly understand what we want to accomplish sit next to the marketing people.”
We serve the whole world, and we could no longer have one or two Moba representatives deciding what the market and our customers needed. There was a need to get a better overall picture.
“How much fun can eggs be?” That was the question on my mind when I started at Moba as an intern in 1984. “When I started, I was obviously amazed by the company and the high level of technology that was used, but I was certain that after a few years I would change jobs. I was convinced that eggs could not fascinate me for long… But the complete opposite is true! After 35 years I still find that eggs are a lot of fun.”
One year after his internship, Paul was offered a permanent job. In 2000 he was asked to set up the Product Management department. Before the start of the new century, people from R&D and Sales would visit the customer together and then work out what the customer needed. That was fine while Moba was relatively small explains Paul: “But we went from producing 20 high capacity egg grading machines in a year to producing around 100 to 120 high capacity egg grading machines. We serve the whole world, and we could no longer have one or two Moba representatives deciding what the market and our customers needed. There was a need to get a better overall picture. With a PdM department we could accomplish this.” Paul took on this project together with Klaas van Harn. Meanwhile Klaas retired but the project that started with two men has now grown into a team of ten.
I was busy managing different projects at the cost of personal contact with our Sales and agents network and most important, our customers. You can only do so much from behind a desk.
Various product managers are now focussing on specific area such as egg grading, Autopack and software-automation. “This separation was needed as the portfolio kept on growing”, says Paul. “I was busy managing different projects at the cost of personal contact with our Sales and agents network and most important, our customers. You can only do so much from behind a desk. Now every Product Manager has his own portfolio to which he can fully commit. This also means that I have a better overview and more time for field research. That remains the most inspiring work for me. Visiting the customer to see with my own eyes what the customer is struggling with. And then coming up with ideas and solutions together.”
As the director of the department Paul is responsible for his team and represents PdM within the Management team. “Paul de Schouwer and I are the two veterans within the Management team. We have been with Moba for many years. We know the market inside out. Because of that I believe that we have an important role in representing the voice of the customer, of course together with Service Director Mark van der Wolf. The Management team has the right balance with experience in the egg market and new energy and experience coming from other industries via the colleagues that joined Moba a bit more recent.”
We must strike the right balance. To support our customers and their existing machines as long as possible and at the same time keep coming up with new innovative ideas that help our customers and their businesses further.
“As a world market leader, Moba is aware of the importance of supporting our customers and offering services that ensure that their business runs as effectively as possible. We must strike the right balance. To support our customers and their existing machines as long as possible and at the same time keep coming up with new innovative ideas that help our customers and their businesses further.”
Even after 33 years Paul still sees opportunities for Moba and the egg market. “An egg is something so familiar in the world, yet few people know very much about eggs. Little research has been done. And there is a lot to know - I’ve learned that in my years with Moba. The egg still has secrets, even for me. And the technology that we use fascinates me. There is so much high-tech involved in grading one little egg, it’s unbelievable. And to put all of that in a machine that is easy to handle and user-friendly for customers, where the maximum efficiency is achieved - that is the challenge every time.”