Product Operations

Product Operations

When it comes to marketing, ‘sales operations’ is one of the most recurring terms you must have heard now and then. 

However, as the market has bloomed and expanded over the years, a new, more innovative, and productive terminology has come into play that is ‘Product Operations.’

In today’s market, it has been observed that if you genuinely want to get the ball rolling in an eclectic marketing setup, companies should treat the product operations with equal importance. 

Now you must be wondering what the term means, ways and whereabouts?

Not to worry, we will clear all of such qualms right here in this blog!

What Is Product Operations?

First things first, let’s understand what does this term means,

Product operation is an essential product management role, concerned with the day-to-day product process.

The product operation department manages the product from concept to launch through its life cycle. 

Product operation team members are involved in all aspects of planning, including what features the company should add or improve upon, how to implement these changes, and testing for quality assurance. 

Product operations managers must also focus on sales forecasting and managing production so that there is enough product manufactured at the right time to keep up with demand.

The product operations team is generally responsible for the product end-to-end business process. It’s a product management function that includes product development, commercialization, and support. 

In product operations, you have manufacturing, supply chain, project management, and product marketing

Product operation coordinates all these departments to ensure smooth product or service delivery from concept to final use by the customer.

Product Operations Roles and Responsibilities 

Your organization may be first class, with top-notch planning amenities and everything in its place but remember, ‘the devil lies in the details.’

What we wish to express here is that. 

We cannot emphasize enough that the best way to outshine your competitors is not to stick to your guns and instead be open to innovative changes. 

Product operations play the following roles:

Product Operations Add More Communication And Collaboration Amongst Teams:

When product teams exist across different geographies, product operation can liaison these product teams. 

It can help product information exchange, knowledge transfer and decrease communication gaps.

Product Operations Provide A Single Source Of Truth For Company’s Product Data:

It is necessary to have product records in one location only to maintain a single source for product information. 

This approach will ensure that all stakeholders at every level of your organization are using consistent product information. Product operations help in the same. 

Product Operations Ensure Smooth Order Management Process & Customer Experience:

Customer experience is another vital role performed by the product operations team. 

They are responsible for providing a smooth order management process which includes product procurement, logistics management, and delivery coordination. 

Product operation offers complete transparency to customers.

Product Operations Are Integral To Determining Competitive Advantage:

The product management team should work with engineering, marketing, and development teams to effective product operations. 

This coordination indeed provides an internal competitive advantage to the team. 

Product Operations Ensure Quality With Compliance And Regulatory Requirements:

Product operation can help product managers avoid regulatory compliance risks that come from using inaccurate product information. 

Some examples are failure to meet safety standards or manufacturing processes that cause product malfunctions. Product operations help to keep all these in check. 

Product Operations Assist In Managing The Risk Of Strategic Resources By Forecasting Needs & Matching Capacity To Demand:

When it comes to business forecasting, one needs a good amount of coordination between different departments like product operations, sales, finance to ensure a smooth flow of products in the market. 

Product operation enables this process. 

Product Operations Provide Data For Making Business Decisions:

Product operations aid in collecting product data, which is a crucial part of the product operations process. It helps in decision-making for future product planning and product management strategies.

Product Operations Ensure Continuous Improvement In The Processes And Procedures Of Your Company: 

The product teams can’t do it all alone. 

The product operation team works with them to ensure continuous improvement in the processes and procedures of your company, from product development to effective delivery of products/services to customers. 

With a focus on product planning, they ensure that customer feedback gets converted into useful information, which in turn supports better analysis and decision-making for product managers.

It Facilitates Documentation:

Documentation is a vital part of product operations since product information, processes, and procedures are documented in the product operation team.

Product Operations Helps In Innovation And New Product Development:

It provides product managers with the necessary information to make product-related decisions like product development, launch, and more. 

This feat is done by bringing together ideas from different product teams and analyzing them based on the company’s available resources and capacity, hence helping product managers in decision-making for the future product planning process.

Product Operation Team

Now let us enlighten you on the importance and structure of the product operation teams.

  • The product operation team is an essential part of product management since planning and design rely heavily on the product operation team. 
  • Since product managers have to account for customer feedback (as well as market projections) while making decisions for planning, it is the product operation team’s responsibility to provide up-to-date information regarding available company resources, the current capacity of the organization, and so on. The product manager uses this information during the business plan.
  • It’s not all about positive contributions. Product managers also need help resolving issues with their respective teams (like contractors, research & development, marketing, and more.), as most of these teams reside outside or at different locations than the product manager themselves is working.
  • Product operation helps in collaboration and information exchange between marketing and development teams.
  • Product operation helps product managers create accurate content for datasheets, presentations, brochures, and more.

Product operation is one of the sub-functions of product management. 

Role of the product manager in product operations

  • A product manager is responsible for product planning and management along with marketing.
  • The product manager has to coordinate project efforts, resolve issues and conflicts between teams (like product program managers, contractors, research & development team,, and so on.), make sure that they are all on the same page, and deliver the product within a given time frame.
  • The role of product managers extends beyond just making decisions regarding future products and services and their presentation to target customers. Product managers have a crucial role in the product operation process since it is their responsibility to provide complete information about the company’s products, which helps in the smooth flow of products from one department/team to another.

What Product operation teams consist Of?

1. Product planner/developer

2. Product manager to manage the product operation team and liaison with other marketing and sales teams.

3. QA engineers test the products after development and run beta tests before the official launch.

4. Documentation engineer responsible for product documentation such as product manuals, user guides, and more.

5. If hardware is involved, a team of technicians will test and maintain the hardware part.

6. A group of visual designers who design the look and feel of the products, such as interfaces, colors schemes, and so on., before final release to the manufacturing process.

7. A group of business analysts conduct market research about products, track competitor developments, and more., before final release to the manufacturing process.

8. Translator to translate the user manuals into other languages (e.g., Chinese).

9. Web developer

What are the Functions Of Product Operation Team?

Now that you know what the product operation team is, 

Let’s also look at its functions.

Functions of the product operation team include:

  • Providing product information to product managers and marketing departments.
  • Resolving any conflicts between teams (like product program managers, contractors, and so on.)
  • Coordinating project/ work efforts by all departments involved in product planning like product, engineering, marketing & research team
  • Help product managers in product data sheets creation for future presentations.
  • Ensure that the product delivery is done within a given time frame or per the company’s standards for smooth flow of products from one department/team to another.
  • Helping product managers with customer feedback like market projections and their requirements and internal resources available company-wise allows the product management team to make decisions regarding plans for product launch.
  • Providing information or product updates to product managers regularly.

The product operation team members work daily with the product management team and marketing & development teams; hence they are very well aware of their management issues, daily problems, and plans. 

They know from where they can get data or information, which helps in the smooth flow of the product from one department/team to another as per the company’s standards without any delay. 

Thus product managers need not worry about these things since the product operation team handles these tasks. 

The ease provided by the product operations ultimately results in successful implementation for all involved departments/teams within a given time frame.

Product Operation Manager

If you have gone through some of our previous blogs, you must be familiar with the term product manager as of now. 

Now let’s quickly get you through ‘who is the product operation manager.’

In simple words, a product operation manager is a product manager who is in charge of operations within an organization. 

They work alongside product management, marketing & development teams.

Their principal role includes product planning, research with a particular focus on future launches, product delivery in a given time frame to business units with the smooth flow of products from one department/team to another without any delay.

They also help product managers when it comes to product information exchange between marketing & development teams when there is a clash over issues like new features added in the next release, customer review analysis, and so on.

The product operation manager works on both company-wide initiatives and mid-level initiatives where he takes responsibilities for each product under them depending upon their rank within the company.

Last but not least, a product operation manager also serves product managers by providing product data sheets for product managers.

What Does the Product Operation Manager Do?

Considering the market milieu and changing consumer demands, the role of the product operation managers can in no possible way be dwindled to a trickle. 

It’s crucial to understand the responsibilities of the product operation manager.

Following are some of the key responsibilities:

Data Sheets Creation

A product manager has to look after product planning and product marketing activities (along with product development). The product operation manager also plays an essential role in this. 

They ensure that product data sheets are complete, including detailed information about all aspects of the product like product specification, technology involved, manufacturing, logistics, and more.

Product Delivery

Product delivery is one of the very important responsibilities of product operation managers apart from helping other teams within a given time frame to meet the company’s standards for smooth flow of products from one department/team to another. 

The product data sheets should help deliver products on time without delays at the company and product levels. 

Focus On Product Operations

The product operation manager concentrates on product flow from the product development stage to a business unit with a smooth transition of product which ultimately results in successful implementation for all involved departments/teams within a given time frame as per the company’s standards.

Initiation Of New Products Launch Process

It has become imperative to monitor the product life cycle curve in the present day scenario. 

Product operation managers initiate new product launch processes by asking product managers to work on that as mentioned in their yearly plan.

Product management teams are responsible for doing the rest – marketing & development activities – according to the programmed timeline they formulated previously. 

Product operation managers play a central role in the product life cycle curve.

Initiation Of Product Information Exchange

The product operation manager plays a pivotal role in product information exchange between marketing & development teams. 

Whenever there is an issue of conflict between the teams about new product features, addition in upcoming versions, among others, product operation managers resolve the issue.                

What Is the Salary of A Product Operation Manager? 

Like any other field, the salary of the product operation managers is variable and differs on a case-to-case basis. 

Generally, the salary of the product operation manager varies from product to product. The salary of a product operation manager depends upon the kind of product they manage and its market.

In addition to the product, the experience & designation also contribute heavily to salary calculations.

Few data reports have shown that in the USA the salary of the product operation managers is about $76,000.

This number varies depending on experience and tenure with a company. According to Indeed, that figure ranges from $65,000 to as much as $111,000 annually.

Product Operation Manager vs. Product Manager

The two terms are often intermingled and, in some cases, used interchangeably, but there are few differences. 

Let’s see some of the differences between product operation managers and the product manager:

1. Product managers are product-centric, while the product operation manager is responsible for the product vision, focusing on the product’s day-to-day operations.

2. Product managers usually have operating and strategic responsibility, whereas product operation managers only have operational responsibility.

3. Product managers are involved in product creation, including research, pricing, and strategy. In contrast, a product operation manager has a specialized role in creating plans that ensure the successful implementation of new products into the company’s portfolio.

4. Product managers are always accountable for implementing a product successfully within a given timeline & budget. Still, product operation managers don’t hold accountability except for operational tasks assigned to them, e.g., installation or testing, so it’s clear that product operation managers are product managers’ subordinates.

5. Product managers usually have a product marketing background, while product operation managers have a product development background.

6. Product manager’s goal is product success. The product operation manager ensures that the product goes through day-to-day operations smoothly and meets all established deadlines, budgets, and quality standards.

7. Product managers might be different for each product, but product operation managers always support the same set of products daily. 

Conclusion

If you study and understand the function of product operation close, you will discern that the product operations department facilitates and eases the job of product management:

This blog provided a comprehensive understanding of product operation and its functionalities. If you read this article in its entirety, it will surely unclog your sight regarding the concept and help you build a better product team.

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