Product management skills are not taught in classrooms

Founded by Campus Club Kampusklubi, the Product Management Competence Club at the Tampere University of Technology aims to bring together companies, students, researchers and other professionals in the field to increase the profitability of Finnish businesses through more competent product management. Last May, the Competence Club gathered at TUT under the theme “Measuring Smart Future”. The event was hosted by OptoFidelity, a Tampere-based technology company pioneering in smart device testing. The robotics solutions developed by OptoFidelity serve to define functional features of smart devices and to measure and compare their values, for example, to those of the corresponding features of competitor’s devices.

The agenda of the day included tackling two fundamental challenges, the first of which focused on product development and the dilemma of managing machines manufactured for production. The issue underlying the challenge is the change whereby a single product development project is turned into thousands of configurable copies. At the same time, the focus of business is shifting from projects to products. The second challenge was to respond to the claim that “when fully carried through, modularization will yield results”. The prerequisite is an adequate understanding of the product itself, thus enabling the creation of a modularity analysis.

Product management starts from understanding customer needs

Mikko Pakkasela portrait
Mikko Pakkasela, Product Marketing Manager

After the event, the Competence Club was further convinced of the fact that product management training is still in its infancy. This poses great challenges both on the development of competences as well as on the recruitment of skilled workforce. Even today, PDM/PLM knowledge and skills are still mainly acquired within companies, which stresses the importance of competence clusters, such as the Product Management Competence Club.

In simplified terms, product management is founded on an understanding of customer needs and on customer needs-based product segmentation. Modularity, in turn, combines experience and a vision, allowing us to define the present state of the company’s product offering, future needs and the ways in which the products are to be modified. These are based on innovation driven by customer needs and scientific knowledge. Research has shown that companies that are particularly successful in their product management are four times more likely to have a PLM system in place.

We would like to warmly thank the Competence Club and the hosts of OptoFidelity for an inspiring and productive day!

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