Insights into product management – First-to-Market

10. Apr 2019 | Technology + Products

Insights into product management – First-to-Market

When it is a question of First-to-Market (FtM), the first step is invariably our Research+Development department (R+D). To make sure we’re always able to offer the most common spare parts for brand-new vehicles right away, they have to be developed as quickly as possible. Items with our First-to-Market promise include for example the product groups brake discs and brake blocks as well as oil filters, air filters and passenger compartment air filters. As one of the product managers for the Jakoparts range, I am responsible for managing product groups among other things. My responsibilities include developing the range, i.e. item quality and quantity, price negotiations and contact with suppliers. A structured process is required if we are to uphold the First-to-Market promise for the three groups of filters.

A new vehicle is launched

The first step is for our R+D Team to analyse and prepare the monthly report for new cars issued by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt). However, at the time of reporting important technical information is often not available for a specific vehicle type. We then have to wait until the vehicle manufacturer makes this data available. As soon as the R+D department has all this information, our colleagues enter the new vehicles in our database.

Development by R+D

As the next step, development lists for all product groups relating to the individual cars reported are generated at Herth+Buss. The actual development work now begins here for R+D, who number and register the respective parts with the help of the relevant EPC (manufacturers' parts catalogue). The final step is then to hand over the items used to product management or the product manager responsible.


Product management and Research+Development work hand in hand to keep the first-to-market promise.


That’s my byword

If we are to keep our First-to-Market promise, I now have to analyse the items as quickly as possible. Corresponding OE numbers (manufacturer's original parts numbers) are already added to the newly generated article number.

The clock is ticking…

If I discover on analysis that we can allocate the OE number to an item that is already active, I replace the item with our activated article number and it’s then immediately available. If the item really is a completely new article, I ask our supplier for the OE number. We now have to hope that this new item, of newly reported recent cars, is already manufactured by our suppliers. If this is the case, I can then activate the item and update all relevant information here. If the item or OE number isn't known to the supplier, we'll help him develop it as quickly as possible. This is the only way for us to offer the item and keep our First-to-Market promise.


For me product management has been the most interesting stage of my career at Herth+Buss. Every day there's something new and exciting waiting for me in my role. This job is incredibly varied, not just as regards the development of new items and assisting with this process, but also cultivating and upholding the FtM promise. And it's always a race against time as well – a challenge I'm happy to face up to.