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Group Manager - R & D  #384 - Southwest City, MO

Simmons Foods






Southwest City, MO




Location Code


Job Title

Group Manager - R & D






R&D / Scientific

Job Description


Provides leadership to a team of direct reports in addition to being an individual contributor of project responsibilities. Ensures that R&D projects involving product development are delivered in accordance with customer (internal or external) time, scope and cost objectives. Responsible for the development of new products and / or improvement of existing products. Takes leadership in innovation and technology initiatives to meet customer support and strategic business objectives.


Serves as a project and product champion for responsible product platform. Manages product portfolio and ensures adequate balance of project distribution within team. Ensures proposed timelines fit with prior project performance history (by type and customer) as well as existing project load of assigned individual and that the project plan proposed includes all necessary steps. Fits new customers into our existing array of products or develops line extensions or product improvements for existing customers. Meets with customers independently of supervisor, with sales account manager to define scope of new projects. Assists in the evaluation of target brand evaluation and monitoring efforts.

Responsible for product development. Competent in the full length of the product development cycle, which includes conceptual development, formulation, implementation, process validation and continuous management and improvement. Works closely with the technical staff of customers or suppliers, mentoring junior and senior scientists. Reviews work output of direct reports, approves for next phase of process and mentors and develops staff skills. Works to develop, bench test, scale-up, and commercialize new products/technologies in accordance with guidelines established in Project Initiation Request. Factors include product attributes as well as development costs, finished product costs, and timing. Demonstrates product and project ownership to ensure that all parameters are optimized for won and team projects. Reviews product formulations/process characteristics across products and plants and identify opportunities to simplify the system and/or capitalize on cost savings opportunities. Makes suggestions to supervisor and, if applicable, senior operations management regarding potential improvements.

Ensures nutritional, regulatory and finished product compliance. Utilizes existing product formulation approach to assure finished product nutritional adequacy (label and nutrition claim) applying statistical data from key raw materials (z values). Develops a label deck from a master formula which considers all potential processing locations. Submits product for analytical or animal testing as required by supervisor and summarize results. Participates in project teams to evaluate product non-conformance incidence with products under their total portfolio responsibility. Collects and analyzes information as required to analyze raw material/process interactions.

Provides 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 evaluation of processing parameters. Assists in process evaluation testing as required by supervisor. Develops knowledge of critical process points in conjunction with process engineering group. Summarizes results of previous tests and of sequential processing conditions or runs for a particular formula to assist in troubleshooting and data interpretation.

Manages a total project portfolio in accordance with overall directive of supervisor for own and team projects. Issues project updates and alerts supervisor of circumstances which may impact ability to deliver desired results with contingency plan in place. Issues project final reports as requested.

Manages employees. Directs and supervises employees' work activities and monitors work performance. Collaborates with Human Resources to screen, interview and hire candidates. Administers disciplinary actions and recommends performance improvement actions in collaboration with the HR Manager. Monitors work performance and recommends compensation decisions based on guidelines. Follows Simmons values to develop and maintain a favorable working relationship with all employees. Promotes a cooperative and harmonious environment in order to facilitate positive employee morale, productivity, and continued improvement.

Participates as a member of the Team. Participates in the ongoing development, communication and implementation of team concepts, programs and policies; coordinates work to ensure best 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 reinforce actions needed, to achieve synergy possible within the larger organization.

Simmons Operating systems principles and objectives: Is familiar with Simmons' established operating systems (e.g. quality, security, office environment, company policies, LEAN); 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 the activities of the person in this position and is not intended to limit the thinking and creativity of the person as 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.

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. 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. Travel to meet with direct reports on scheduled basis. Approximately 25% travel.

Technical Experience: 5 years' experience in commercial product/process development and/or leading a team of product developers. Knowledge of nutrition and food formulation. A working knowledge of current applicable regulations in various countries. Must have excellent computer skills with respect to the Microsoft Office Suite. Experience with Concept 5 is a plus.

Industry Experience: Applicable industry experience preferred.

Minimum Education: Bachelor's Degree in Meat Science, Animal Science, or Food Science or 4 years related work experience.

Preferred Education: N/A


Customer Focus: Does whatever is necessary to understand customer needs; establishes and maintains effective customer relationships; builds and delivers solutions that meet and exceed customer expectations; handles customers effectively.

Business Insight: Understands how businesses work; aware of current business trends; applies business knowledge to job; understands the competition; understands the relationship between different aspects of business.

Cultivates Innovation: Generates ideas that are new, different and better; Looks at problems in a new way; puts creative ideas into practice; considers the value or market potential of new ideas.

Manages Complexity: Clearly defines the problem before acting; can see the root cause; explores multiple sources for information; understands what's relevant/significant and what isn't.



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