A product coordinator often works in the product management or sales office of a distribution or manufacturing firm. He or she is responsible for all aspects of product life cycle management. The primary task of the product coordinator is to track and manage all the distribution of the product, sales, returns, and consumer interest.
All product launches include a significant amount of paperwork, electronic documents, files, meetings, and plans. The product coordinator is the person who keeps track of these documents, ensures that communication is ongoing to all the relevant parties, and makes sure surprises are limited.
There is no specific training program to become a product coordinator. Many people in this role have completed formal post-secondary education in a related field, such as business administration or management. There are specialized courses available from a wide range of schools on long-term project management, including the importance of administrative processes.
Product coordinators often work closely with the product development and marketing team. Their primary role can be organized into three main tasks: change management, file organization and retrieval, and planning. In addition to these project-focused tasks, many product coordinators are responsible for the operational administration of the unit. This may include ordering supplies and tracking attendance.
Change management is a large part of any project and is usually the responsibility of the product coordinator. He or she must review the requests, determine the relevance, risks, benefits, and costs associated with the request, and then present this information to the product manager. Any decision must be communicated back to the requester and proper authorization achieved before the change in incorporated into the project. The coordinator must also ensure that all the relevant product details or specifications are changed to reflect this request, and keep a copy of the request on file for further reference.
The product coordinator must ensure that all paper and electronic files are archived and stored properly, complete with cross references. This may seem like a small task, but most products have a multi-year life span and involve thousands of documents. Correctly managing these files is important, as they will be relied upon in a dispute or to determine what was successful or not. A large part of the product coordinator's job is planning. He or she is expected to review the life cycle plans for the product and make sure the required materials and staff are in place to support the product management strategy.