A product design manager is the one who manages the whole process of new product development or design improvement of an existing product. A managerial role in the field of product design requires the experience of the industry as it requires one to handle a variety of tasks. A product design manager must have good technical knowledge along with man-management skills.

This managerial role comes with a lot of responsibility. As a manager, you have to plan, manage the day to day activities, make estimates and budgets, handle a team, etc. One needs to have exposure to all these activities to be a successful product design manager.

In this blog, we will be discussing what you should work on to become a successful product design manager. We have selected the best 10 skills that you must develop as a fresh product design manager.

Leadership Skills

A product design manager must be a good leader to become successful in his job. You must take initiative, motivate your team members, must be able to take work from each individual, have a vision, etc. Once you become a product design manager, you got to be a multitasker. A manager is a responsible position in the manufacturing industry and to overcome the hurdles and succeed leadership skills are one of the most important. Apart from technical skills that have helped you to reach this position in the industry being a leader does help you achieve greater heights in the manufacturing industry.

Economic Awareness for a Product Design Manager

Another important skill a fresh design manager must have is economic awareness. As a product design manager having an understanding of industry economics is a great help because a manager must be proficient in cost saving without compromising the end goal. Budget and estimation is an essential part of a manager day to day work life. If you have an understanding of the economics of the industry, your budgeting and estimation work will become much more efficient benefiting the company for which you are working. Another important task for a manager is variance analysis. Financial awareness and knowledge makes your work a lot easier and consumes a lot less time of yours.

Decision Making Skills

A product design engineer has to take decisions at every step. The decisions you make as a manager can make or break for the project you are working on. Therefore, it is important that whatever decision you take must affect the project positively. The decisions can range from small to quite a big impact on creating ones. As a fresh manager, you got to be crystal clear about the decisions you are making, and also you have to swift at times making important decisions. At times you might face pressure which can lead to a wrong decision, you have to be level headed at times of crisis and critical stages of the project.

Negotiation Skills

A product design manager has to deal with a variety of tasks as well as people. Therefore, one must have good negotiation skills to make the project profitable for their team and organization. A manager has to deal with vendors and sub-contractors for outsourcing equipment and services, negotiation skills play a big role in these interactions to reach an acceptable deal that is profitable for the organization. Negotiation skills not only work in monetary negotiation but also are required when dealing with clients and contract management. It helps a product design manager when one has to deal with contract related issues.

Exceptional Planning Skills

Planning is one of the initial phases of a project. Creating a plan is one of the critical jobs in the manufacturing industry. You being a product design manager can develop a master plan only when you know the product design processes. This planning is something that requires experience in the industry. Therefore, if you are an aspiring manager, you must learn everything going on in the project apart from your work. Knowledge of planning tools is a plus which is going to give you an added advantage. Tools like Microsoft Project and other planning tools that we generally make use in the industry.

Reporting Skills for a Product Design Manager

As a manager one has to develop various kinds of reports like daily progress reports, monthly progress reports, etc. Proficiency in developing reports is one of the highly valued skills in the production industry. A manager has to write and create various reports for their organization as well as for submission to the clients. Reporting skills are kind of underrated as people not focus on it as much as the hard skills but, it is equally important. If you are good at reporting, you will be always ahead of your colleagues as it is one of the demanded in the industry. Reporting in a way helps in communication within the organization as well as with clients, consultants, etc. which can help to maintain a smooth relationship between the organizations and within the organization.

Risk Management

Every project requires anticipation, management, and reducing the risks involved during a product design project. A product design manager needs to have risk management skills too. Generally, postgraduates go through the courses in risk management. However, the real understanding of risks involved in the design process comes when you start working in the industry. Therefore, a product design manager needs to understand the risk involved along with managing techniques to make a project successful.

Interpersonal Skills for a Product Design Manager

A product design manager has to deal with a lot of personalities like colleagues, clients, vendors, etc. and a lot of others. One must have good interpersonal skills to interact and deal with all kinds of personalities so that the working is smooth. Not only this, but a manager also has to attend interviews with higher-level employees where one must be able to express and explain their point. There can be different types of hurdles when working in a large human environment. Also, there can be clashes of different personalities and whatnot. A manager must be capable of handling all these to ensure there is no negative effect on the work and the work environment.

Communication Skills

Good communication skills are key to every employee’s success and when it comes to the managerial position it becomes even more crucial. A manager has more points of contact as compared to any other employee.  Also, if one possesses excellent communication skills, their work becomes easier and more flawless. Having good communication skills is like having power, it makes a lot of things easier. Only people who struggle with communication can understand the struggles. Therefore, as a fresh product design manager focus on improving your communication skills to standout.

Customer Oriented Thinking

When you design and develop a product, it is targeted to a customer base. Therefore, a manager needs to think or visualize the product from the minds and eyes of the customer respectively. If a product design manager can understand the customer requirement, the product will correctly be suited to the customer needs. Customer-oriented thinking is one of the most important skills a fresh product design manager must focus to develop.

Here are some of the important skills a fresh product design manager. One must look to develop and learn these skills to make their life easy in the industry.

Do share your experience of working in the manufacturing industry. Your comments are valuable to us.

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