• 28th March 2024

Head of R&D

Head of R&D

Head of R&D 150 150 JDM Food Group

The Role:

To lead the R&D function for JDM, ensure our Product development and innovation is at the forefront of the industry. Lead the team of chefs and kitchen technologists to constantly evolve our products, challenge our processes and be the best at what we do. Drive innovation with Commercial acumen and scientific knowledge to use the best ingredients to deliver against the customer strategy. Building strong customer relationships & demonstrating our R&D skills to deliver best in class.

This senior leadership role encompasses a wide range of NPD activities including the development process, idea generation, concept development, process & RM optimisation, blue sky thinking, people leadership, project management and coordination NPD teams.

Key Responsibilities & Duties:   

Lead the development function at JDM. Manage the kitchen set up including the chef team and Head of Innovation to the successful delivery of customer briefs and innovation. Ensuring JDM is the best in class producer by challenging our recipe make up, processing and larder of ingredients to ensure we remain competitive in the marketplace. Forging strong customer relationships to drive our innovation pipeline in line with market & consumer trends.

·        To identify and deliver a long-term Innovation pipeline in line with consumer, customer and market needs, which evolves our product portfolio across all routes to market.

·        Ensure the NPD process is fit for purpose and enables colleagues to act with pace in bringing new products to market that meet the required technical and quality standards.

·        Ensure the right projects are prioritised, progressed and delivered in line with the overall commercial strategy of the business; ensuring our manufacturing capability is maximised and full potential realised.

·        Lead customer relationships from an NPD perspective, demonstrate food credentials, creativity and market knowledge. Be recognised as the go-to supplier in the category; the `Challenging Friend’ that provides innovative solutions.

·        Keep up to date with and understand market intelligence, customer insight, competitor activity, trends in foods and lifestyle, packaging and ingredients. Evaluate to identify the opportunities resulting from these.

·        Create a team structure that is future proof and allows for clear deputising and succession planning.

·        Lead the development team, set clear standards and expectations for development to work to, and ensure that best in class aspirations and a continuous improvement mentality becomes part of the team’s overall working.

·        Lead the R&D team in developing and maintaining key customer relationships through detailed understanding of their processing capability, specific requirements of their markets and products.

·        Support customers with trials, product presentations, facilitating communication with relevant departments and being the primary point of contact for all R&D related projects, issues or concerns.

·        Maintain close working relationships and excellent communication with Account Managers to support the commercial strategy.

·        Ensure the team remains technically current and competent and with in-depth knowledge of the ingredients market.

·        Contribute to new product formulation and optimisation of existing products through understanding of raw materials & their functionality.

·        Generate innovative products or processes and manage implementation from concept to launch

·        With marketing, proactively research new market trends and product concepts relevant to key customer accounts.

·        Co-ordinate and lead internal (pilot plant, production line etc.) and customer trials liaising with all BI departments whilst supporting the Technical Department investigations, complaints etc.

·        Understand business priorities, coordinate resource allocation and help to maintain good code of practice.

·        Responsible for project management of identified strategic projects for diversification and growth

·        Using skills and knowledge to provide NPD expertise in support of company projects across all business areas, providing support to other functions as required.

·        Have a full understanding of company’s capabilities and knowledge of production and quality standards, whilst understanding the strategic aims of the business.

Personal Attribute & Skills:

Strong leadership & management skills in leading R&D teams. Strong process background & customer interaction. Great communicator across all internal departments. Ability to ‘sift’ through commercial opportunities to deliver the overall business plan.

·          A true R&D professional with experience in an added value fast changing food environment

·          Proven organisation and project skills

·          Degree qualified with background in food/development

·          Chilled food experience, preferably sauces, dips, purees, added value vegetables

·          Motivated and performance focused

·          Leadership and team management

·          Practical and hands on approach with strong experience of NPD Process and Innovation

·          Innovative analytical and capable of delivering strategic initiatives

·          A decision maker-not risk averse

·          A planner and organiser

·          Ability to deliver against challenging time scales

·          Outstanding communication skills with ability to deal with different functions internally and external stakeholders.

·          A “superstar” NPD professional you inspire and challenge those around you combining strategic NPD experience with a strong commercial ability, process & formulation and exceptional people skills.

·          Energetic, engaging, and promotes a strong stable team culture

Job Category: NPD
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Bicker
Salary/Rate: Dependent on experience

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