Product Development Supervisor
The Andersons, Inc. - Maumee, OH

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This position is accountable for overseeing and conducting development work on new and existing products in the Lawn Research and Development Lab. This involves supervising a product development crew in formulating and testing prospective new materials in the field, laboratory, and in the production systems. The incumbent will oversee the daily operations of the R & D Lab, provide the technical information required to support production and sales efforts, and ensure productive interaction with customers and suppliers during the development process.

Job Parameters
The incumbent reports to the Director, Technical Development. Reporting to the incumbent are Product Development Assistants. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Assist in the development and commercialization of new products and participate in existing product enhancement work. The incumbent performs evaluations and provides design input for raw materials, formulation technology and production equipment, in order to successfully commercialize our technology.
  • Collaborate with product users, researchers, sales/marketing, and operations during the development process. Working with University or other researchers involves collecting, analyzing, and reporting information from field evaluations of product, performed by field researchers, customers, and our own field evaluations.
  • Select, develop and supervise Product Development Assistants, providing work direction to the crew, ensuring that standards are followed and timelines for project completion are met.
  • Conduct and oversee evaluations of fertilizer ingredients (including chemical and physical) for the purpose of determining fitness for use and making recommendations on supplier capabilities for meeting the needs of our formulations and our customer’s properties.
  • Plan, write protocols for, and oversee product evaluations via our own field testing or in conjunction with field researchers or customers. This requires the collection and analysis of test results, and preparation of written reports of the results and conclusions obtained. This will include discussion with the field cooperators to ensure the trials are executed properly.
  • Assist Operations in the scale-up and trouble-shooting of product launches, material substitutions or process changes with new or reformulated products. This entails troubleshooting problems, evaluating methods of operation and providing routine formulating instructions.
  • Ensure daily upkeep of the technical support area, includes facilities and equipment such as lab gear, spreader calibration equipment, pellet mill, etc.
  • Organize and maintain required record systems for field trial data, inventory control, sample and prototype ingredient lists and work list tracking
  • Provide technical assistance to Sales and Customer Service on customer inquiries concerning product performance and application.
  • Support the area of package procurement by assisting in the determination of product packaging requirements.
  • Maintain current and in-depth knowledge of all safety policies and standards related to this position. Safety meeting attendance and pro-active incident reporting/identification is expected of all on-site personnel. To achieve full integration of safety into the culture, the incumbent will be expected to actively participate in safety training and any other safety related activities. The incumbent will be expected to proactively involve and encourage employees to partake in safety initiatives.
  • Human Relations
    The incumbent is in daily contact with Company personnel, customers and outside vendors on various levels; therefore, the incumbent should possess a high degree of human relation skills and display a friendly, pleasant and cooperative manner at all times.

    Instructions Received
    The incumbent schedules their own activities, receives oral and written instructions from the Director, Technical Development, and provides periodic progress reports on the status of all projects.
    This position functions according to and within the established Company procedures as set forth by the Director, Technical Development.

    Working Conditions
    The incumbent is subject to frequent contact with potentially hazardous ingredients, dirt, dust, noise and adverse weather conditions, and therefore, must be aware of health hazards.

    The knowledge and skills needed to perform this position successfully are typically acquired through completion of a four-year degree in the biological, chemical sciences or related field along with two years experience in a lab or product development environment. Two years progress in working towards a college degree combined with four years of progressive experience in a lab or product development environment could serve to offset the degree requirement. The incumbent should also have a basic working knowledge of statistics, plant and insect life cycles, laboratory procedures and granule formulation technology. Some mechanical engineering background is highly desirable to assist in the design, construction and operation of both chemical and mechanical processing equipment. Strong human relations and customer service skills are required. Accuracy, a keen sense of observation, and the ability to communicate verbally and in written reports are also necessary.

    The incumbent is subject to frequent contact with potentially hazardous ingredients, dirt, dust, noise and adverse weather conditions, and therefore, must be aware of health hazards.

    Principal Accountabilities
    The following accountabilities are to be carried out in a manner consistent with the spirit and philosophy outlined in The Andersons' Statement of Principles:

    1. Safely manage facilities and ensure that a proactive approach is being taken to heavily involve all lab employees in safety initiatives. Lead efforts to identify and eliminate hazards and ensure all employees follow and perform their work within the set safety standards.
    2. Lead and perform formulation development work on a laboratory scale, following project specifications and timelines as directed by the Director, Technical Development.
    3. Supervise the work of subordinates in the performance of product development work, ensuring adherence to established lab procedures and methods. This includes hiring, terminations, development, and evaluations.
    4. Develop, validate, review, and maintain laboratory procedures and methods for the R and D lab.
    5. Assist in the identification, purchase, and installation or equipment for new R and D lab capabilities.
    6. Evaluate new and existing raw materials, products and formulations, documenting the results of tests performed and proposed quality specifications where appropriate, in an accurate and timely manner.
    7. Assist Operations in performing pilot plant runs of new products, documenting results of testing performed along with new or revised specifications or optional procedures, which will enable consistent customer satisfaction.
    8. Plan and oversee the generation of storage stability study samples, which meet internal, and EPA requirements, including data records, and support of the storage stability effort.
    9. Become proficient with the Lawn Excel data system to serve as a back-up to the Product Manager for entry of product specifications.
    10. Support Sales and Operations by answering customer inquiries, plant troubleshooting and completing special projects as assigned.
    11. Maintain an open, candid relationship with the Director, Technical Development, keeping him/her fully informed at all times and making recommendations for product and plant improvements.
    12. Develop strong working relationships with co-workers and other company personnel so that all matters of mutual concern can be discussed and dealt with constructively.

    The Andersons, Inc. - 2 years ago - save job