Innovating with Purpose - A Conversation with Raphael, Head of Product

March 12, 2024
Employee Spotlight

In the rapidly evolving technology landscape, where strategic innovation and collaborative efforts shape outcomes, it's invaluable to understand the individuals steering the ship. Today, we offer a deep dive into the experiences and mindset of Raphael, our esteemed Head of Product at Orderlion.

Raphael, could you introduce yourself and your role as the Head of Product at Orderlion?

I’m Raphael and as a Head of Product at Orderlion together with my team I constantly gather feedback and insights from our users to develop our product further. I make sure that with all iterations we move forward towards our log term vision to modernise and streamline wholesale operations by becoming the operating system for suppliers.

What has been your journey leading up to your current role and how does your professional background contribute to your responsibilities?

My journey includes experience in Dr. Oetkers digital hub and Zalando. These roles have equipped me with expertise in user-centered design, agile development, and cross-functional team management. As the Head of Product at Orderlion, I leverage this background to drive user-centric growth and strategic development for our restaurant supplier purchasing app. At Dr. Oetker I had the chance to work closely with the Radeberger group and gain insights how the largest brewery group in Germany works and thinks. This together with many years of experience at Zalando to build internal tooling helps me to understand our users and the possibilities to support them with digital solutions.

How do you approach managing the Orderlion product? What principles or strategies guide your product management approach?

At Orderlion, I approach product management with a customer-first mindset. I believe in understanding the pain points and needs of our supplier and restaurant users deeply. This involves continuous communication and feedback loops with users. I also prioritise data-driven decision-making. Analytics and user insights guide our product roadmap, ensuring we focus on features that truly add value. Regularly reviewing key metrics helps us track progress and make informed adjustments. Agility is another core principle. The industry of digital solutions evolves rapidly, so we adopt an iterative development approach. This allows us to quickly respond to market changes and deliver updates that address emerging needs. Collaboration is key. I foster close collaboration between design, engineering, and business teams. Cross-functional communication ensures alignment and brings diverse perspectives to the table. Lastly, scalability is always on my mind. Drawing from my experience at Zalando, I work with our team to build a flexible and scalable product architecture that can accommodate our startup's growth without sacrificing performance. In summary, my approach involves customer empathy, data-driven decisions, agility, collaboration, and scalability – all aimed at creating a product that delights our users and drives Orderlion's success

Innovation is key in the tech industry. How do you drive product innovation within Orderlion's offerings?

At Orderlion, I foster innovation by encouraging a culture of inclusion where everyone can bring in ideas and feedback from our users. I also advocate for staying updated with industry trends and emerging technologies, seeking opportunities to integrate them into our product as we did lately with the AI developments for our Magic Inbox. Additionally, I encourage cross-functional teams to share insights and propose innovative solutions, creating a collaborative environment that sparks creativity.

Working together with different teams is essential to achieve successful product development. How do you promote collaboration to ensure our products meet their full potential?

Collaboration is at the heart of successful product development at Orderlion. To promote collaboration, I emphasise clear communication and shared goals. Regular cross-functional meetings ensure that teams are aligned on the product vision and roadmap. I also encourage open feedback and diverse perspectives. This creates an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns, leading to more well-rounded solutions. Furthermore, I implement tools and processes that facilitate collaboration, such as brainstorming Miro boards and feature documentation. This ensures that everyone has access to the latest information and can contribute effectively. By fostering a culture of collaboration, we tap into the collective expertise of our teams and create products that truly meet their full potential.

Every journey has its challenges. What are some notable challenges you've faced as the Head of Product, and how have you grown through them?

Certainly, the journey as the Head of Product has come with its share of challenges. One notable challenge has been balancing short-term demands with long-term strategic goals. Rapid growth often means addressing immediate customer needs while staying aligned with our overarching product vision. This challenge has taught me again the importance of prioritisation and strategic decision-making. Another challenge has been managing expectations across different stakeholders. Balancing the desires of customers, internal teams, and investors can be complex. To navigate this, I've developed strong communication skills and learned to clearly articulate the rationale behind product decisions. Additionally, scaling the product to accommodate growth has been a learning experience. This challenge has emphasised the need for a robust and flexible architecture that can adapt to changing demands without compromising performance. Overall, these challenges have helped me become a more adaptable, strategic, and empathetic product leader. They've reinforced the value of effective communication, data-driven decision-making, and maintaining a user-centered mindset throughout the product development process.

Orderlion's vision is to modernise and streamline wholesale operations. How does your personal vision align with this mission?

Orderlion's vision to modernise and streamline wholesale operations resonates deeply with my personal vision. I believe in the power of technology to simplify complex processes and enhance efficiency. My personal mission aligns with the idea of creating user-centric solutions that have a meaningful impact on industries. Having witnessed the transformational effects of digitalisation during my time at Zalando, I am driven to apply those insights to the wholesale and restaurant sectors. I envision a future where restaurant suppliers can seamlessly connect with their clients through our platform, making the not only the ordering process efficient and hassle-free. In essence, my personal vision aligns with Orderlion's mission by aiming to leverage technology to revolutionise the way wholesale operations are conducted, ultimately benefiting both suppliers and restaurants.

In the challenging and ever-evolving landscape of the tech industry, dedicated leadership is a cornerstone of success. Today, we extend our thanks to Raphael, for his invaluable contributions to Orderlion. His insights, passion, and expertise are pivotal to our advancements and continued growth. As we relentlessly pursue our mission to modernise wholesale operations, it's clear that leaders like Raphael are at the heart of our advancement.

Want to be part of our journey?

Inspired by Raphael's insights? Eager to redefine the future of wholesale with us?

Contact us today!