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What it takes to be a Product Manager?

How have the Product Management teams developed over the years in our organisation? We spoke with Paul Verheijen, VP Product Strategy and Partnerships to discover more about the teams and their function in our business.

First and foremost, what does a Product Manager do?

A Product Manager has a very creative role. They define products in line with the market trends and expectations. They collaborate closely with the development team to release products and with the customer-facing organisation to successfully bring them to the market. 


How has the Product Management team evolved over the years? 

It has grown tremendously, and we are still expanding. We had a large group of around 30 enthusiastic people joining the various Product Management teams at around the same time, coming from both external hires and internal promotions, as well as a large proportion from internal horizontal development, from within Bridgestone and Bridgestone Mobility Solutions. Mostly, our Product Managers are located in our main offices: Barcelona, Amsterdam, Warsaw and Leipzig. But in addition, we also have colleagues located in Brussels. 

To make sure our teams maintain a best best-in-class knowledge and best practices around Product Management, we provided our new joiners with the World Class Product Management training. It connects tremendously well with our Product Creation Framework processes and has the right balance between theory and practice. 

With so many new joiners in the Product Management team over this year, having the opportunity to complete this training face-to-face in October 2022 was the perfect opportunity to connect with one and another and create a common language and culture in the team. 

At the same time, it is important to bring the PM team closer to the customer and to the external world, helping us drive an outside-in and market-driven approach. It’s also creating a Product Management organisation that is better aligned with business needs, more closely connected with customers and our customer-facing colleagues, capable to react quicker to market movements – while working more efficiently and effectively in the process.


How does expanding and strengthening the team help accelerate the company’s growth? 

By focusing on the development of the Product Management team, it will bring us closer to our customers. In our company, the Fleet Management Solutions (FMS) business lines are split by region, and within the regions, there are different customer-focused teams with invaluable knowledge of the customers’ needs and wants. 

Thanks to that, we can create and shape solutions that better fit the current and future market requirements in a more efficient and effective manner.


What are the team challenges? 

The key challenge is to keep the technical complexity and ever-expanding product portfolio simple to understand for our customers. 


What are you looking for while recruiting a Product Manager? 

We are looking for qualified Product Managers who will be team players passionate about the job, connect with many people and drive our business forward. 

And what else? Without a doubt, you need to believe in your product. Then, connect with the product and the market, understand the automotive sector, and have an opinion about the product as well as technical and commercial understanding. You also need to be aware of what it means to be in front of the customer and what challenges it may bring.


What are the top three skills a Product Manager will develop by working at Bridgestone Mobility Solutions?

There are countless possibilities for your growth here. You will have the chance to make many new business connections and work with colleagues in a truly international environment. But to select the top three skills, you will get mastery in deep product knowledge, wide market understanding, negotiation and influencing at work. 

A customer-centric training for our Product Managers

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An insightful workshop for our Product Owners

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Get to know Paul Verheijen, VP Product Strategy and Partnerships

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