What’s it all about then?
As a Process Technologist (sometimes known as a Process Development Technologist), you’ll be the link between the product development kitchen and the production line, with responsibility for making sure that new products make a smooth transition from trial and testing stages to full production.
This means you ensure that trial factory production runs take place with the outcomes reported to all relevant staff. You’ll identify any critical issues, make recommendations for improvements, measure yields and make sure that everything complies with quality, safety and customer expectations.
In some instances you may also have responsibility for buying and trialling new processing equipment - either in support of a new product launch or to make improvements to current production processes.
What might I be doing?
This could vary with your level of responsibility but is likely to include:
- Taking responsibility for the development of new products from New Product Development (NPD) through to successful production launch, ensuring that product consistency is achieved throughout the entire process
- Ensuring all work meets in-house and customer standards for quality and safety
- Scheduling and managing production line trials and revaluations making sure that everything has gone to plan
- Building strong relationships with NPD, Production and other staff who will be involved with the development
- Understanding company production processes and flagging up any potential problems to NPD staff at early development stages
- Facilitating customer visits during production trials
- Developing practical schedules for product launch
- Liaising with purchasing colleagues to ensure that all incoming stock for initial production runs is in place
- Conducting ongoing investigations into production processes and making recommendations for improvements if necessary
- Ensuring that operating procedures and specifications are written correctly for each new product and available to relevant staff
- Supporting initial production runs and being available to trouble shoot and provide expert advice if necessary
- Ensuring all products are costed thoroughly after production trials and prior to full production
What will be expected of me?
You’ll need to be motivated, enthusiastic and able to take and overcome problems in your stride - you’ll be the sort of person who makes sure the job gets done whatever it takes.
You’ll be able to record and interpret complex data and make recommendations based on your conclusions and have excellent computer skills and be able to communicate well both in written and verbal formats.
This job requires someone who is very well organised, able to see the big picture while still focusing on the smaller day-to-day facets of a project to make sure that new products launch successfully.
You will also need to able to cost products accurately to make sure no unwelcome surprises crop up when your product enters full production.
Finally, you will be expected to be totally familiar with all your company’s manufacturing processes.
What can I expect?
You would usually work around 37.5 hours a week as a process development technologist. However, when you’re running production trials you may be working on late, early or night shifts or weekends as these often have to be fitted into off-peak times.
You’ll spend a lot of time moving between office and the factory floor and you may spend a lot of time in production areas during product launches - so make sure you’re the kind of person who won’t be put off by the need to wear protective hygiene and safety clothing or work in areas which could be chilled, hot, wet and so on..
Some travel might be involved in your job as you present trial findings to customers and meet with ingredient and equipment suppliers – this could even include some international travel to inspect equipment you may be recommending for your company’s use that’s made overseas.
What about the pay?
As you’ll already have some experience if aiming for this role and have probably entered the company as a graduate trainee, you can expect to earn no less than £24,000 a year for a job like this. With increased responsibilities, this may rise to more than £30,000 a year.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
You’ll find when you check job ads or promotion opportunity notices for process technologist roles that companies will want some (or a lot of) previous experience, within either the company or a very similar role elsewhere. In addition, while most instances your employer will be looking for a degree level education, you may have started work with lower qualifications but undertaken relevant study on a part-time basis while getting some experience in the bag.
What about further training?
If you’ve reached degree level or equivalent you might want to consider one of the wide range of Masters level qualifications, one of which will very likely suit your needs and aspirations.
Your company may also pay for you to attend specialist courses around your job which will enhance your skill level and make you even better in your work.
Anything else I might need to know?
Yes, this role is extremely important to all food manufacturers, particularly those operating on a large scale. You absolutely have to ensure that new products can be made in a profitable manner so your company makes money – making for a high profile career springboard when done well.