“Communication is the be-all and end-all”

05. September 2018

Daniel Kaiser is a Product Manager for fischer. In this interview he reveals why every working day is unique, which skills are indispensable, and which product he is particularly proud of.

What is your job role at fischer?

I am the head of department for the steel and chemical product groups – and am therefore responsible for the product strategy of these fixing systems. My team and I manage all the activities of the product’s life cycle: from the initial idea to the product’s design, market introduction and outsourcing. This makes my job very versatile, both from a topical and a geographic point of view. In the morning I might deal with marketing, at midday it will be about purchasing and development, and in the afternoon I will deal with production. Overall I am responsible for over 40 countries worldwide.

 

What does a typical day at work look like for you – and what is your highlight?

(laughs) There is rarely a “typical” day – my time schedule is constantly changing. If, for example, an industrial client calls from Asia in regard to a problem or a complex product question, then the day’s schedule is geared towards finding a solution for them as fast as possible. This is done either by phone or together with our field service manager, so our local sales team. This is what makes the job so exciting and varied. And if the customer picks up the phone and joyfully tells us about a completed installation while praising our products, then that is of course a special highlight.

What are the three most important requirements for a product manager?

Professional skills, methodical skills and social skills. The latter may even be the most important skill. We manage the development of new fixing systems, and therefore a large organisation of employees involved with this development. Communication and “soft skills” are the be-all and end-all: motivating people, encouraging their ambition and pulling off a project together. In addition, product development and product management are based on special methods which we apply in order to optimise processes and to get the best out of product development. Only those who master these methods can guarantee ongoing success. A product manager must also literally know their way around the material and be knowledgeable in materials, mechanical characteristics, chemical compositions, formulas and the laws of physics.

Do you have a morning ritual?

I certainly do! In fact, I have two. Every morning as I commute to work I will call a colleague with whom I work with closely on multiple projects. Our routine is that he calls me at 7:30, we each drink our coffees while we talk and discuss the first tasks of the day. Ritual number two: I go jogging every day before work – it creates the perfect balance for me. These routines are important to me amid all the flexibility and spontaneity.

 

Which products are you especially proud of?  

The concrete screw, without a doubt. When I started at fischer six and a half years ago they were not yet part of the product range. Today, our concrete screw is the best one on the market. The way it looks, the materials it’s made of, its name, and how much its production can cost – I was involved in all these steps of its development. The concrete screw has proved to be a success: it reduces the time required for installation by up to 50 per cent. In comparison to conventional bolt anchors it can carry almost 30 per cent more permissible load.