Team Elparts – The product management experts

25. Jan 2018 | Education + Careers

Elparts is the special vehicle electrics range from Herth+Buss. But is that all there is to this term, or is there more? As someone who has been working at Herth+Buss since 2004, I can safely say: “Yes! A lot more.”
In fact, we are an entire division with over a dozen employees. Elparts product management. I have worked as a material planner at Elparts since 2007, and have seen plenty of highs and lows in that time.

What exactly goes on in Elparts product management?

From the outside looking in, you could be forgiven for thinking that all we do is manage products. But what exactly goes on behind the scenes? Essentially, our task is simple. All we have to know is which products our customers will need in future. We then either procure these or develop them ourselves. All that’s left is to deliver the products in the required quantity at the required time. All this in excellent quality and for the best possible price, of course. To achieve this, we sit down together every morning, gaze into our crystal ball and peer into the future. The rest virtually sorts itself out. Okay, I admit, it’s not quite that easy. Unfortunately, we’re still awaiting clearance to use the crystal ball. This means we have to do the work ourselves.

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A crystal ball like this would make our job so much easier!

The solution: teamwork

Here at Elparts, a team always consists of a product manager and a material planner. Together, they take care of one or more product groups, with each person responsible for their own tasks. The product manager focuses mainly on building or expanding the product range and taking care of the technical details of the products. The material planner, meanwhile, ensures that the products are available at all times and that all product data is correctly administered. As you can see, this requires a great deal of teamwork.

We place great emphasis on innovations. Anyone can produce established products. We like to try something new. One example of this is our AirGuard tyre pressure monitoring system. Take a look at our blog post. This is just one example of the countless innovations that Elparts has developed in recent years.

 

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As a team, we are unbeatable.

How cooperation ensures smooth processes

Innovations are all well and good, but they are useless if you can’t sell them properly. Our product managers regularly train our sales teams to make sure they are always up to date with the latest technical developments. But this flow of information is not a one-way street. The product managers must always keep up with the word on the street, or at least in the workshop. That is why they often visit customers and workshops together with our sales representatives. Here, we can test our products together and make any necessary adjustments. The product managers also take note of any information, comments or (occasionally) complaints that our sales team receive on the phone. After all, there is always room for improvement.

With the information we collect and the help of our global network of manufacturers, we can procure products that offer the right balance of quality, price and handling for our customers.

Material planning – An important part of product management

Alongside new products, it is also important to make sure that our existing product range is properly managed. This is where the material planners come in. As material planners, our primary job is to make sure that our warehouses are sufficiently stocked. This is not as easy as it looks at first glance. Although our logistics operation is large, there is not an unlimited amount of space on offer. We have to find room for over 26,500 different products. And that number is growing.

The material planner therefore has to make sure that we can supply our customers with products without exceeding our storage capacity. One factor that makes this job more difficult is the fact that it can take up to 9 months for some of our products to go from the factory to our warehouse. Long-term planning is therefore essential, both for us in Team Elparts and our colleagues in Team Jakoparts, who need just as much storage space as we do.

This is just a short overview of what we do here. Despite this, I hope that I was able to shed some light on things.