Product Manager Social Expression
The Product Manager will lead the execution of retailer programs; build business relationships with Dollar Value Customers. Provide the solution for our customers with exclusive products, market leading design and market knowledge. This position will work with Sales, Design, and Merchandising, Suppliers to develop and present product programs that drive sales efficiently and effectively. This position will need to know and understand our customers' requirements - product specification, specific procurement and manufacturing requirements and work with suppliers to ensure accurate production and world class product.
Duties & Responsibilities
- Market Review - Regular market reviews of customer's stores and competitors stores to be completed monthly and seasonally. Gauge market trends and buy any new products or finishes for development. Present findings in the Product Development/Sales/Design meetings to share findings and identify gaps and create new product/category opportunities. (Market review template, market template for customer presentations, summary of customer findings). A calendar of key meetings is available so that these reviews can be planned accordingly.
- Market & Gap Reports - The Product Manager needs to visit their customers stores weekly, and complete comprehensive market reviews of their customers ranges and their competition.
- New Product Development - New products are the life blood of our business. All product needs to be briefed to the China/Hong Kong office with a clear spec, or a sample from the market so that the specifications of the product is clear. White dummy samples must be received from the Fareast to check the construction and the quality of the product.
- Customer Reviews & Presentations - Customer meetings have 4 streams of work - Pre-planning / Presentation / Product Selection / Business confirmed. This is a highly collaborative process, and the Product Manager is the key to ensure smooth communication. The customer timetable needs to be followed so that we ensure we meet all of the key dates our customers work towards.
o Pre-planning - This involves a full customer review to be completed by the product manager, reviewing the product performance through sell through or buys, identifying winners and losers, new products, design & trends, market review and competition. Suggesting display solutions for products and planogram solutions (templates to show what good looks like). This is the first meeting to review and agree the way forward for the customer meetings with Sales and Design. At the end of the meeting a clear direction of customer needs/presentation are agreed. Critical timings required for the customer needs to be outlined in this meeting. Any new design/product that we want to get feedback from is sent to the customer to ensure the direction is clear before preparing boards. The line plan is created with all the new/rebuy items and the commercial information, product is costed across a number of agreed factories to ensure we have the best price.
o Customer Presentation - The Product Manager/Design Manager/Sales present the new range to the customer (re-buy/re-fresh and new), boards are completed. Specs are completed and costings has been received from the factories. Customers keep the boards for selection purposes and request any changes or additional products. The numbers of boards required for customers.
o Product Selections - Product selections are made and any changes to the specs or designs are made before the final approval. Business confirmed - PO confirmed, orders placed with the factory, specs completed, artwork completed for customers final approval.
- Briefing the Studio - When briefing the studio please ensure the agreed briefing sheets are used. Once the planning meeting has been completed the studio are already familiar with what is coming up. Refresh and new products are to be briefed consistency in the following way.
- Customer Interaction - The design manager needs to have enough of a relationship with the customer to understand their needs and communicate directly with them to approve small changes after meetings.
- Timings - Timings of the pre and post meetings need to be monitored weekly to ensure the timing is not affected.
Merchandising & Order Follow Through
- Line Plans - The lines plan is the product information. This information can change as the meetings commence, it is important that the line plan is always kept up to date, and the latest information reflects any changes. This is the job of the Product Manager to ensure this is maintained. The line plan is also the information used to set-up the Epicor system which then generates the PO's which are sent to the factories. PO's and "intent confirmation" are checked off against the line plans.
- Costing Products - Product Managers send out the RFQ's to the agreed factories and copies the merchandiser. The merchandiser follows these and chases the pricing and pushes the factories for the best price. This is then reviewed within a cost comparison as a team and the next steps agreed by the Product Manager/Head of Department. When sending the RFQ's please ensure you can the factories meet the required audit by the customer. Once the price is agreed, this is then checked again once we have the customers PO. A white dummy sample of the product is chased by the merchandiser for approval of the quality.
- Re-Buy - A large percentage of our business is re-buying product from our customers. These lines are the core of our business. Understanding the market price for these items is paramount. The price checking of these items can be completed very early on in the process to ensure we can improve our margin on these items year on year. The re-buys must be sent to a min of 6 factories to check price. The price checking must be completed with your merchandiser in Hong Kong/China to ensure the process is joint-up, final price is often completed by Product Manager or Head of Product Development. Quality must always be checked by white dummy samples before placing order if a new factory is selected to ensure consistency of quality. The merchandiser must check factory capacity before PO is placed. Re-fresh design is required for re-buys, this must reflect the customers best sellers and market trends.
- Following the order - The merchandisers follows the orders; this needs to be tracked weekly with the merchandiser to ensure orders are on track.
- Job Bag - 2 Job Bags are sent to Hong Kong/China offices. 1 for the merchandiser and 1 for the factory. The job bags should contain the following and needs checking to ensure smooth communication to the factories.
o Mechanical Print Outs
o Color Matching Swatches
o Embellishment Matching Swatches
o Mock-up of the Product
- Spec Sheet - This needs to be checked to ensure all information is correct.
- PPS & PS Samples - The PPS samples are approved by the USA Product Manager, once these are approved the PS sample is produced from the factories (production sample). This is approved by the Hong Kong/China office. This samples are then used to ensure inspection runs smoothly.
- Testing - The merchandising manages the testing directly with the chosen testing house. The Product Manager needs to understand the testing requirements.
- Customer Audits - The merchandiser is to ensure the selected factories have the audits required for the factories. The Product Manager needs to be aware and understand the audits the customer requirements.
- Account Managers - The Product Managers work closely with the Account Managers in Clara City to ensure smooth customer service for our customers.