As a Global Product Manager I am normally the one initiating the development projects of specific products with R&D based on customer- and industry insights and needs In case of the MX suction cup, it was a bit of the other way round.
Having discussed the challenge to handle various items, R&D had already started to develop something and “hi-jacked” me to launch this product because they believed it to be so “damn good”. And in fact, with this project all pieces fell into place: The supplier was able to produce a cup with an ultra-thin lip still durable enough to withstand a multitude of cycles. The extremely positive test results surprised with an unsurpassed ability of the MX suction cup to handle a larger variety of diverse material and objects. Considering the ever-increasing demand for warehousing and logistics driven by e-commerce, it was simply the perfect product at the right time.
With the MX suction cup, we at Piab did more than the usual homework necessary to prepare for a successful product introduction We took the necessary time to broadly field test the MX suction cup with a large number of selected customers across the globe to a stage where we felt confident with the product performance on the one side, but still allowing to make adjustments based on feedback on the other side. And obviously the suction cup filled an unmet need, all based on the overwhelming interest as well as rapidly increasing orders.
From my point of view, this development proves once more the power of the Piab company spirit. We do not hesitate to take new steps; innovation built this company, and we continue along this path. We do not copy others but lead in developing new solutions and continuously strive to improve for the better when it brings customer value and performance. With the MX suction cup development, we were able to draw on expertise around supplier capabilities and material properties already developed by our founder Peter Tell when he introduced the DURAFLEX® suction cup family years ago, and the instilled deep knowledge at R&D related to design and applications. Based on this tribal know-how we were able to quickly come up with a mass production high-quality solution.
To develop products in this way you need an open atmosphere where exchange can take place within as well as between hierarchies. An atmosphere free from prestige to allow for free thinking and communication. This is what I like at Piab very much as well as the closeness between different departments involved in product development like Design and Supply, which are all located in the same building. Hence, apart from the Covid19 pandemic, , where many people are working from home, it is easy to walk by somebody for a quick discussion on new ideas.
Furthermore, while Piab may not be the largest company it is truly a global player allowing for easy feedback from different regions and learnings about customer demands in various areas of the globe. And that is why I really enjoy working at Piab – the international environment and working with colleagues from so many nationalities.