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Product Management In Automobile Industry: Roles & Responsibilities

How Product Management works in Automobile Industry 

Product Management revolves around the overall supervision of a product. It is a functionality to structure all the phases of a product life cycle. A product manager’s role is to manage the growth of a product from the initial stage until the time it reaches the customers. In the case of the automotive industry, there are conventional processes that are still prevalent.

This industry mainly consists of aging employees and faces several problems due to internal and external factors. The emergence of electric vehicles, constant rise in global warming, and globalization are some of the significant challenges faced in the automotive industry. Despite all the challenges faced, the automotive industry is continually evolving and embracing the latest innovations to make an impact in the market.

Product management is a very demanding field and is expected to reach  $59.25 billion by 2027 (Source). There are many reasons behind product management’s growth and demand. The products that have been put into the market need to be successful, to measure that certain parameters have been attached to them. With the rising competition in the market, these product managers need to stay at the top of the game in order to create and deliver products that are targeted toward consumers.

There is a big requirement of the product managers in the automotive industry as they are the ones who keep a knowledge bank of the sales, product, and strategy with them so as to define the next step better. Along with that, they keep a close competitive analysis of the products in the market. The product managers in the automotive industry stay on the edge and are responsible for a better product in the market, they work closely with various teams.

Product Managers in the automotive industry have to monitor the technical progress of a product besides the traditional role. It is a bit cumbersome to adapt to new tools and frameworks as most of the people in this industry are aging.

However, this is an exciting time to be a part of the automotive industry with disruptive innovations in electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and other mobility solutions. In this article, we will read about the changing role of product managers with the disruptions being caused.

The automotive industry in today’s times is changing vastly with electrical vehicles also making an entry into the industry. The automotive industry is strongly driven by the forces of connectivity, mobility, design, and technology. And automotive product development makes sure to maintain a sync among all of these in order to keep the standards high.

Keep reading to know more about product management in the automotive industry. 

Read: A complete guide on product manager career growth

Processes involved

In automobile companies, there is less freedom for innovation given to product managers. Usually, a top-down hierarchical approach is adopted for decision-making and other processes.

Regardless of the scenario, the automotive industry management is centric on making sure that the product pipeline is intact and the elements remain standardised across the products. 

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Competition Faced

The competition faced in the automobile industry is quite fierce. Product Managers here need to strengthen the relationship with customers to increase the customer satisfaction level, thus solidifying the market shares. With the latest technologies and disruptions in the automotive industry, product managers ensure that the entire team is ready to adopt smart product features as a result of innovation. This enables the company to thrive in the fast-growing and evolving automotive market.

There seems to be huge competition in the automotive industry, one of them is consumer behaviour, which keeps on fluctuating with the given options to choose from. The behaviour change could be either guided by the price, design, technology, or durability. The product managers stay on the edge to balance out this possibility by communicating internally within the teams and advising the right strategy.  

There is a stern focus on maintaining the product quality which is competitive in the market. With the advent of technology, automobile products in the market need to have a defining feature that sets them apart. The product manager automotive industry understands the gap in the market and also suggests innovations that need to be done.

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Monitoring End-Users

There are various tiers involved in the automotive industry. OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) belong to the tier-1 supplier. OEMs are the big brands that sell a product directly to the end-user. Any product in the automotive industry needs to be of top-notch to sell in this competitive market.

The tier 1 manufacturers are responsible for supplying automobile parts to the OEMs. Similarly, tier 2 provides components to the tier 1 manufacturers. Gradually things are changing, more tier 1 supplier is carrying on business with the end-users. 

There has not been much correlation between retention of users and engagement policies. However, this is changing now. Product Managers are working closely with data processing teams to derive maximum information. The essential insights extracted, help the organization move a step ahead in the product value chain. This is why monitoring the end-users is an essential step as a part of product management in the automotive industry.

Monitoring allows product managers to foresee upcoming trends and tackle the situation. Also, it allows the managers to stay informed and derive strategic information from the data gathered by the teams and devise innovative ways to improve the product that caters to consumer demand. As the automobile is a product that is useful for every industry from railways, to road, water, or air transport. It has importance in every industry.

Read: Product Management is Banking Industry

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Disruptive Innovations in the Automotive Industry

There have been constant changes in the automotive industry. With emerging technologies, high-end research is going on in the field of electric vehicles, constructing autonomous vehicles, and there is the development of other innovative solutions. As people from the automotive industry like to stick to conventional ways, there has to be someone explaining the need for a transition to new innovative ways to survive in this immensely competitive world.

A product manager is fit for this role. PMs keep themselves updated with the latest trends in the market. They study about the new tools or frameworks that cause disruptions. Product managers need to ensure that all the teams are on the same page. This can be achieved only if there is good communication among the teams. A product manager has a close look at other companies.

A product manager keeps the track of the new innovations that come into the industry along with that they also make sure to stay within the government rules set for the automotive industry. That does not create any problem post launch of the product. Also, they maintain the standards that remain appropriate according to the brand.

He monitors the challenges faced by other companies and the ways they used to combat the difficulties. The day is not far when we see fully automatic vehicles used as a popular means of transport. A huge credit for this will go to the product managers who act as mini CEOs for making this possible.

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Integrating the latest Software and Hardware

With advancements in technology, there has been cutting edge technologies emerging in the market. The latest software needs advanced hardware to function smoothly. Thus, the integration of advanced software and hardware is an important part of product management in the automotive industry.

According to a recent survey, more than 80% of innovations of products in the automotive industry are a result of new software features. Numerous Original Equipment Manufacturers have transformed to be a part of the Agile Enterprise. Accenture’s AutoScrum is one such Agile enterprise gaining popularity these days.

Accenture’s AutoScrum provides a platform for the integration of software and hardware development. The only challenge is to synchronize the long development cycle of hardware with Agile’s fast development cycle.

There is a huge involvement of the IoT and AI in the automobile industry, the product managers make sure to inculcate the latest trends into the automotive industry so as to spread consumer satisfaction. The latest software and hardware are incorporated into the existing model increasing the quality of experience gained through the experience.

Softwares improve the car’s functionality in the system, some examples of software in the automotive industry are autopilot features, memory, navigation, etc. Similarly, hardware aims to improve the driving experience of the car. And with the rise of technology the brand needs to be aware of the latest technology and incorporate the same swiftly to stay up in the market and product managers in the automotive industry facilitate the same process.

Read: Average Product Manager Salary

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Wrapping Up

With emerging new technology, there have been massive changes in the automotive industry. The role of a product manager is constantly updating to adopt the latest tools and technologies. This enables the best product to be designed and developed.

Thus, a product manager needs to be strategic and proactive to look for easier ways to eradicate existing problems continuously. New feature roll-outs to current products need to be ensured. The new features ensure that the products do not become obsolete in today’s world and remain in use. 

The Product Management Role is thus considered one of the most crucial positions regarding the organization’s growth and development. High-paid PMs in the automotive industry lead the sophistication of day-to-day life by using technological tools.

If you are willing to learn more about Product Management, check out upGrad and Duke Corporate Education’s Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management. In this course, you will gain vast knowledge on how to build a product roadmap through user research, prototyping, and product analysis. This course offers 200+ hours of learning, certification from Duke CE, 15+ case studies and assignments, one-on-one mentorship from product experts. 

Q1. Is product management a good career path?

A career in product management can be supremely rewarding and attractive for those who have a creative bent of mind and are interested in playing a vital part in the development of products. Products can be anything from regular consumer goods to business software, automobiles, or anything else that is used by people. Product management roles are highly dynamic and encompass an extensive range of tasks from handling clients, holding meetings with the executive leaders to testing products. They are the ones who set a vision about a specific product, manage a portfolio comprising different areas of expertise, ensure smooth development of products, and handle the entire product lifecycle.

Q2. How is a product manager different from a brand manager?

A product is a service or commodity that people use for their benefit, while a brand is an abstract metric that decides how the public perceives an organization. A brand can influence whether people will choose its product or not. A product manager is responsible for the features, design, and delivery of the full product. Their work is often technical and logistical. On the other hand, a brand manager is responsible for maintaining a particular brand and its goodwill. Brand managers are engaged in more strategic functions with the intention of augmenting and generating more interest in the brand through effective marketing techniques.

Q3. Is it automobile or automotive?

Automobile and automotive are words that are associated with the vehicle manufacturing sector. Both of these words are often used interchangeably to refer to any motor vehicle, although automotive is a broader umbrella term that denotes anything linked to motor vehicles. Automotive is (an adjective) used to describe anything that is related to motor vehicles. At the same time, the automobile is a (noun) word that typically denotes a four-wheeled car or motor vehicle that is used for transportation. So automobiles, which are typically passenger vehicles, are essentially a subset or part of the automotive industry.

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