Who’s Ever Seen A Green Product Manager?

Products That Go "Green" Can Become Magically Delicious To Customers
Products That Go “Green” Can Become Magically Delicious To Customers

Ok, I’ll admit it – sometimes I throw away a plastic bottle that I know could have been recycled. I do it just because it’s too much effort to walk the extra distance to hunt down the recycle bin and put it where it’s supposed to go. So if I’m willing to sin this much, is there any hope for us product mangers to ever “go green“?

It turns out that the world of products and product mangers isn’t so much driven by a desire to be a good citizen of this planet (something that apparently I still need to learn), but rather by hard, cold bottom line results. That being said, some interesting things are starting to happen out there in the marketplace.

Once upon a time everyone thought that if you boosted the quality of your product, then of course you had to raise your prices also. It turns out that not only was this wrong, but it was dead wrong – a bunch of companies showed everyone that they could not only boost quality but that they could also cut prices. Case(s) in point: Dell, Apple, Toyota, etc.

Now it’s starting to look like we might have to learn this lesson all over when it comes to going green with our products.

Here’s the secret: if you’ve been focusing on the costs of making your product more environmentally friendly, then you’ve been looking in the wrong direction. The trick is to look for ways to make less of a mess when your product is being created. Oh, and you service product mangers need to get in on this also.

Just in case you think that this really can’t be done, think again. The poster child for going green in a big way is a Subaru plant located in Indiana. There 3,000 employees make about 800 cars a day. They’ve been able to reduce the amount of electricity that they use per car by 14% (that’s a LOT of electricity) and (here’s the big one) they have not shipped any waste to a landfill since 2004.

If a big old car plant can do that, then just imagine what a high tech product team should be able to do. I’ve got some tips that just might make your product a bit more green, a bit more profitable, and a bit more attractive to your customers. More next time.

Do you think that your product is “green” right now? Do your customers seem to care about buying green products? Is a product’s green qualities something that they consider when making a purchasing decision? Are you planning any changes to make your product more green? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.