Green Product Mangers Have Green Bosses

by drjim on May 11, 2009

Product Mangers Need Boss Support To Go Green

Product Mangers Need Boss Support To Go Green

With “going green” being all the rage right now, product managers should give it some serious consideration for their products. Although we all SHOULD want to make the planet a better place for current and future generations to live, from a practical product management point of view having a green product may reduce costs and increase sales. Not bad, eh?

The first thing to realize is that product mangers can’t go green all by themselves. This is one area where you really, truly, do need the buy in of your senior management. This is especially critical in two different areas.

The first area that needs upper management participation is to come up with an agreed on way of measuring how green your product is. You’ve got to do this both before you start and while you are making improvements – both will show you and your customers how far you’ve come.

Next you need the support of senior management in order to get the cooperation of other departments. Just because you’ve been bitten by the green bug, does not mean that the folks over in shipping will share your new found outlook on life. Pressure to conform from above will help you to meet your green product goals.

Finally, it’s the worker bees that really need to be engaged in turning your product into a green product. A great example of this is to do some dumpster diving where your product is created. By laying out everything that is in the trash containers where you work, you’ll discover what is going into to creating your product.

Some of the more inventive product managers have discovered lots of shipping containers for parts that are used by their products. With help from the rest of the company, they’ve gone ahead and shipped the packing material back to the sending company for reuse.

There are lots of different ways to make your product go green. Remember the three R’s to the process: reduce, reuse, and recycle. It’s always better to reduce or eliminate instead of reusing. It’s always better to reuse instead of recycling. Finally, it’s better to recycle than to send material to a landfill. Go green!

Do you feel that your senior management would support turning your product “green”? Why would they or why wouldn’t they? Would you have trouble getting other departments to go along with the program? Do you think that you would learn anything from dumpster diving in your workplace? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou May 12, 2009 at 11:55 am

I agree, going Green requires buy-in from the entire company. Due to rampant “Green Washing”, unsubstantiated Green claims, there is scepticism in the market whenever you make a Green claim or market a Green product. This invites scrutiny of all claims along with your manufacturing processes. Complying requires more than a Product Manager has authority or leverage to do.

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Dr. Jim Anderson May 13, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Lou: so you bring up a very good point – what does a product manager need to do once the rest of the company has “bought in” on going Green. I suspect that if you start broadcasting how green you are all of a sudden, then you’ll confirm the skepticism that naturally exists whenever there is change. However, perhaps if you do a “slow roll” and start to talk about how you want to reduce waste, and then later on start to talk about steps that you are taking to do so then this might “bring along” your customers and make you more believable…?

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