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Project Leader (R&D)

Company: Simmons Foods
Location: Siloam Springs
Posted on: May 28, 2023

Job Description:

Purpose of the Position

Leads identification, recommendation and qualification of process/formulation development capabilities needed to meet project success criteria and deliver industry-leading innovation. Connects and integrates internal and external process/formulation capabilities to develop solutions, build product platforms, optimize existing processes/formulations and/or create new capabilities.

Essential Position Responsibilities - This is a Salary Exempt position.

Product/Process Champion. Fits new customers into our existing array of products or develops line extensions or process/product improvements for existing customers. Meets with customers, independent of supervisor, and with sales account manager to define scope of new projects. Assists in the evaluation of target brand evaluation and monitoring efforts. Demonstrates leadership qualities with respect to process/product design capabilities with strong communication skills. Utilizes pilot scale equipment for high risk projects in order to minimize company liability. Works closely with customer or supplier technical representatives and may involve test coordination based on equipment availability. Maintains competence as a scientist by attending technical meetings to identify new opportunities with respect to processes/products.

Product/Process Development. Competent in the full length of the product development cycle and larger scale projects, including conceptual development, formulation, implementation, process validation and continuous management and improvement. Works closely with the technical staff of customers or suppliers, often mentoring junior and senior scientists. Develops, bench tests, scales-up, and commercializes new processes/products in accordance with guidelines established in the project brief; factors include process/product attributes as well as development costs, finished product costs, and timing. Demonstrates process/product and project ownership to ensure that all parameters are optimized. Schedules and supports plant tests throughout the commissioning phase, with the ability to develop contingency plans as needed. Reviews process characteristics and/or product formulations across products and plants and identify opportunities to simplify the system and/or capitalize on cost savings opportunities. Makes suggestions to the supervisor and, if applicable, senior operations management regarding potential improvements. Reviews patents to ensure no infringement occurs.

Equipment Validation (relevant if/when area of focus is process-related). Participates in the calibration of new equipment with respect to metering for processing rate optimization purposes. Screens alternate suppliers of manufacturing and product evaluation equipment, summarizes strengths and weaknesses of each option and makes recommendations, accordingly. Qualifies new equipment by conducting Equipment Verification studies which include Installation Qualification (IQ), Operational Qualification (OQ) and long-term Performance Qualification (PQ) Protocols. Participates in online equipment validation, allowing early detection of process errors and product quality issues. Conducts pilot plant tests internally or at supplier facilities in order to verify new process/formulation capabilities.

Nutritional, Regulatory and Finished Product Compliance (relevant if/when area of focus is product-related). Utilizes existing product formulation approach to assure finished product nutritional adequacy (label and nutrition claim), applying statistical data from key raw materials. Develops a label deck from a master formula which considers all potential processing locations. Submits products for analytical or animal testing as required by supervisor and summarizes results. Participates as a member of project teams that evaluate product non-conformance incidence with processes/products under their responsibility. Collects and analyzes information as required to analyze raw material/process interactions.

Process, Operations and Supply Chain Support. Leads supply chain initiatives including formula transfer among plants, evaluation of new suppliers of raw materials, increased or decreased use of existing raw materials and Project Manager, R&D evaluation of processing parameters. Assists in process/product evaluation testing as required by supervisor. Develops knowledge of critical process points in conjunction with the process engineering group. Summarizes results of previous tests and sequential processing conditions or runs for a particular formula to assist in troubleshooting and data interpretation.

Project and Portfolio Management. Manages the project portfolio in accordance with the supervisor's overall directive. Issues project updates and alerts supervisor of circumstances which may impact ability to deliver desired results. Issues project final reports, as requested.

Participates as a member of the Team. Participates in ongoing development, communication and implementation of team concepts, programs and policies; coordinates work to ensure B.E.S.T practices with all team members. Attends appropriate team meetings. As a member of the Team, fosters strong cohesiveness regarding all major issues; e.g., direction, annual plan, budget, policy changes, etc. Accepts responsibility to quickly identify any areas that lack cohesiveness, bringing them to the attention of the team leader and working with the team in a supportive manner to resolve issues and actively look for ways, and reinforces actions needed, to achieve synergy possible within the larger organization. Project Leaders may have Research Technicians and/or interns that report directly to them to support the needs of the team.

Simmons Operating systems principles and objectives: Is familiar with Simmons' established operating systems (e.g. quality, security, office environment, company policies); understands the responsibility to maintain familiarity with the systems and this position's role in support of these systems - including a consideration of the impact of individual actions on the systems and the responsibility to communicate concerns and improvement ideas.

Performs other duties as necessary in support of business objectives: This position description is intended to guide activities and is not intended to limit the thinking and creativity of the person to the work of this function nor is it intended that this describe all the work that may be required of the person in this position. Commitment to quality and continuous improvement in all aspects of the business is essential.

Physical Activities: Enters and locates information on a computer. Visually verifies information, often in small print. Communicates with Customers, Vendors, or Employees via telephone, in person, and/or electronic mail. May present information to small or large groups. Must be able to work in various temperatures and move about in a manufacturing environment, kitchen environment, office environment, and surrounding property. Lifts heavy boxes, equipment or other required objects (up to 50 lbs) as needed. Will use laboratory/kitchen/cooking equipment.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): As needed in required environment.

Travel: Travels domestically to and from multiple facilities or work-sites or customer visits, often requiring overnight stays. Approximately 25% travel.

Technical Experience: 5 years experience in product development and technical services is required, particularly in pet food. Experience requirements are commensurate with education. Knowledge of animal nutrition and food formulation and thermal process is highly desirable. Experience in commercial product and/or process development is required. Must have excellent computer skills with respect to the Microsoft Office Suite. Experience with Concept 5 and/or AutoCad is a plus. Will be expected to quickly learn the business integration software suites including JDE and IQS. Strong data entry skills are required. Intermediate to advanced level skills in Excel and PowerPoint as well as experience preparing documents for presentation.

Industry Experience: R&D knowledge/experience in food or pet food preferred. Experience in commercial product development and in the food and pet food industry is desirable. Knowledge of food science, animal nutrition and food formulation is a plus. A working knowledge of current food and pet food regulations in various countries is highly desirable. Should have a working knowledge of process mapping. Must have leadership qualities and flexibility with respect to job requirements. Knowledge of specific requirements in the United States is essential for successful job performance.

Minimum Education: Depending on assigned business unit(s), Bachelor's Degree in Food Science, Animal Nutrition, Animal Science, Meat Science, Engineering or related degree. Required experience is balanced by education level.

Keywords: Simmons Foods, Springdale , Project Leader (R&D), Other , Siloam Springs, Arkansas

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