Gloria Kee has worked at software development company Model N for 16 years, in a variety of roles. Currently Kee is the VP of Product Management and her role is to help the team address the evolving needs of their customers and to deliver solutions that solve real-world problems.
“I’ve always been drawn to STEM. As a child, I enjoyed fixing and building things, which led me to pursue engineering in college. After graduation, Model N sparked my interest because of its blend of engineering and business. I started as an analyst and made the transition to product management mid-career. The role allowed me to use my STEM education and interact with customers.”
Effective product management is fundamental for manufacturers’ success
Model N provides revenue optimisation solutions and services to high-tech and life sciences manufacturers.
“We work with the world’s top semiconductor and electronic component companies to manage all facets of revenue operations, including global pricing, quotes and rebates. Our software solutions allow companies to automate and streamline their channel operations so they can ship the right products at the right prices worldwide while maintaining compliance with increasingly complex trade regulations.”
According to Kee, effective product management is fundamental for manufacturers’ success because it focuses on meeting buyers’ requirements, understanding competitors’ offerings and identifying market opportunities to help refine current offerings and develop new ones.
“Product managers are customer advocates inside the company,” she says. “In Model N’s case, our product managers listen to our high-tech manufacturing customers to build the products they need to support their business.”
Kee thinks that technology will shift away from traditional tech hubs like Silicon Valley, as the CHIPS and Science Act incentivises companies to build tech hubs and operations outside traditional tech hubs.
“The law funds the establishment of new innovation centers nationwide and supports initiatives to diversify the research institutions that receive funding. This investment will drive competition in higher education, build talent pools in new locations and create new partnerships that support business and innovation. By establishing operations in nontraditional places, companies tap into an underutilised workforce and attract more talent with lower living costs.”
How climate regulations will impact supply chains
Kee anticipates that new regulations will pressure manufacturers to build transparent, sustainable, ethical supply chains and manufacturing processes.
“According to a survey from sustainability management company Optera, more than half of manufacturing respondents named emissions reduction project implementation as the most pressing task in 2023,” Kee says. “These organisations will be modifying their processes, reevaluating vendors and adjusting their business models. Businesses that embrace sustainability will differentiate themselves from competitors, but they will likely experience higher production costs, at least in the short term. They must decide how to price these products to cover costs, leverage their value proposition and encourage investments in environmentally friendly products. These considerations will play a role in pricing strategies moving forward.”
Over the next two months at Model N, the focus will remain on providing innovative solutions and services that help manufacturers succeed in what’s expected to be another challenging year economically.
“Global supply chains have not fully recovered from the pandemic and trade regulations and geopolitical conflicts will present new challenges for producing and distributing semiconductors and other high-tech products. More and more of our customers are transitioning their revenue operations to the cloud, giving them greater real-time control of and insights into global pricing and critical channel relationships. We will react to market changes and needs, soliciting customer input to build products that support revenue optimisation.”
For 2024, Kee predicts that sustainability and ethical sourcing will become a competitive advantage.
“Being transparent about supply chains and ESG gives companies pricing power and preference with customers and investors. It's clear buyers increasingly make purchase decisions based on a company's values.”
In addition to building new tech hubs, Kee anticipates that the CHIPS Act will also broaden the talent pool.
“The law invests in stronger STEM education in K-12, and funding for a broader range of institutions will create opportunities for underrepresented groups. The Act also encourages collaboration between schools, communities and companies to build accessible and robust training programs.”
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