February 20, 2018
Plain Bearings for Aerospace Applications Article
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AT A GLANCE
The variety in my work and the constant search for improvement means that, I can probably say, no two days since I have been working for GGB have been the same.
Jonathan started working with GGB in 1998 as an automotive application engineer before becoming product manager in 2008. His previous experience includes application engineer for a manufacturer of roller bearings and sales engineer in the automotive market.
How did you begin your career in the bearing industry?
Having a practical nature, I liked stripping down motorbikes and rebuilding cars and so I chose to study Mechanical Engineering,
working during my holidays for a roller bearing company in the UK. After obtaining my degree, the company offered me a position in the UK. However, I wanted to go abroad to experience a different culture and to learn a new language. Luckily, my first professional employment began in France in 1989 working as an application engineer for the same roller bearing company.
What was your main interest in working for GGB?
I had 10 enjoyable years working for the roller bearing company, but my career progression was limited. I changed roles and became a sales engineer for a seat belt and airbag manufacturer, but the role was too sales focused and not sufficiently technically orientated.
My change to GGB in 1998 fitted perfectly as I benefited from my previous technical knowledge in bearings, was very familiar with the function of an application engineer and through close collaboration with the sales engineers, I maintained direct contact with customers. In 2008, I moved to the Marketing department and I am currently global product manager for the metal-polymer products DP4, DP4-B, DU®, DU-B, DP10, DP11 and DP31.
What are the main responsibilities of a product manager?
As the job title suggests, I manage my family of products, during what is called “The Product Life Cycle”. The beginning starts with product development; this means determining with our sales force what are the future market trends and the customers’ needs. From this analysis, a framework defining the product requirements is set up, which is used by Research & Development. During the product development, choosing and working closely with pilot customers ensures that the product meets the technical and economical specifications. After the development phase, the product is launched into the market accompanied with internal sales and application engineer training, product brochures with performance data, advertising in magazines and on websites as well as sample availability for exhibitions and for customer trials, etc. Once the product has been launched, customer testimonials and successful application leverage then results in increasing product sales from year to year.
What are the more challenging characteristics of your job?
The greatest satisfaction as an application engineer was physically standing by the forming machines in the manufacturing plant and thinking back to the initial contacts with the customer, to the design of the bearing and successful prototype testing, to the manufacturing of hundreds of thousands of bearings a day and seeing the bearings being shipped to the customer. With my current role this is more of a challenge, as you don’t see the immediate impact. Nevertheless, the real interest for me is in developing new high performance bearing products and solutions: launching them in the market, obtaining positive customer feedback and following the progress of revenues.
What’s the best aspect of your role as product manager?
The role is multifaceted and requires deep knowledge of the products as well as constant communication and close contact with each internal department such as Application Engineering, Finance, Marketing, Operations, Research & Development and Sales, and of course, with our customers all over the world. This variety in my work and the constant search for improvement means that, I can probably say, no two days since I have been working for GGB have been the same.