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Tips for
Product Managers

The primary goal of a product manager is to create products that sell well and deliver the highest possible contribution margin for the company.

As a product manager, you have to take into account an almost infinite number of factors that influence the success of your products:
  • Customer benefits of the product
  • Product performance
  • Price-performance of the product
  • Product quality
  • USP versus competition
  • Brand and positioning
  • Design, Features, Materials, Packaging
  • Marketing-Budgets and success of marketing measures
  • Sales and distribution capacity
  • Priority of the product in sales and marketing
  • ...
At first glance, the fulfillment of legal regulations, i.e. the product compliance of your products, seems to be a rather banal requirement for successful product management. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The significant shortening of product life cycles, the increasing number of variants, the relocation of production to other countries, new technologies and the dramatic increase in legal regulations have led to the fact that compliance with all legal requirements has become very complex.

Perhaps these 10 tips will help you to design and market compliant products without losing sight of your many other responsibilities.

10 product compliance tips for Product Managers

  • Even when designing your product range or adding new product categories, you should bear in mind that the product compliance regulations are much more critical in some product areas than in others. The product areas to which authorities also pay increased attention include toys and electrical products in particular, but also products with food or skin contact. The tests required here are often more extensive and more expensive.
  • When designing new products, you should research in advance which legal regulations apply to this product group. You may be able to avoid hazardous substances or substances with strict limits when selecting materials or designing products, thereby avoiding expensive tests and test procedures.
  • Involve quality management or external experts as early as the product definition/finding phase in order to incorporate regulatory requirements into the decision-making process at an early stage.
  • Together with quality management, create risk analyses for the products you are planning at an early stage. Risk analyses are now mandatory in almost all CE directives and regulations (Product Safety Regulation, Toy Safety Regulation, Low Voltage Directive, ...) and the earlier you carry them out, the better.
  • Include costs for product compliance requirements in production/purchasing and sales prices right from the start. Initial and regular material tests, chemical tests, functional tests or inspections of the products are often not included in the calculation and lead to a reduction in the margin later on.
  • Avoid too frequent product changes to key materials or central components.Changes to chemical compositions or electrical components usually require new tests and new declarations of conformity.
  • From a product compliance perspective, try to use the same or similar components in different products. If central components are installed in different products and these also come from one supplier, different products can be efficiently mapped in technical documentation with just a few tests and certificates.
  • Work with suppliers and manufacturers of components and materials on a long-term basis. It usually takes some time for suppliers to understand the rather complex legal requirements and internalize them for all products. Changing suppliers frequently makes it more difficult to establish efficient product development and considerably increases the time required and the risk involved
  • Clarify early which labeling obligations your product has to fulfill. Later corrections are much more difficult to make here than with packaging, operating instructions or documentation.
  • When designing the packaging, bear in mind that it must also meet various requirements. This is not only about the prohibition or limitation of various chemical substances, but also about the various labeling requirements (address and name of the manufacturer, disposal regulations and pictograms, CE marking, warnings according to the CLP Regulation, ...). Packaging is often the easiest way for authorities to detect defects and delay or prevent marketing.

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