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Technical Manager

What’s it all about then?

You’ll be the senior manager in charge of all the technical aspects of food manufacture within your company (or subsidiary business unit) including quality systems and food safety. You’ll also be the one that ensures all processes meet legal requirements.

You’ll be managing the day-to-day activities of the company technical department and leading and developing a team of quality assurance and hygiene staff. As well as this, you’ll also help with strategic company developments and act as a senior representative at various events and functions.

Basically everything that counts as technical within the company will sit under your roof – quality, hygiene, labs, labelling and legislative issues and so on.

What might I be doing?

Your work will be based around Quality Assurance activities with additional technical responsibility for such things as company hygiene management and laboratory management to reflect the broader nature of the role.

You might expect the following duties:

  • Directing the company’s quality management system to ensure compliance with standards such as those set by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point(HACCP) procedures on food handling
  • Reviewing existing policies and planning how to improve quality management systems
  • Implementing improvements to systems
  • Representing the business on all technical-related matters
  • Ensuring all staff are competent to do their jobs properly and able to develop in their roles
  • Managing company hygiene, quality and laboratory activities
  • Liaising closely with senior company management , suppliers and customers
  • Agreeing budget figures and controlling the technical budget
  • Supporting other company departments as required

What will be expected of me?

As a Technical Manager, you’ll probably have had extensive previous experience of managing technical processes within the food sector and it’s very likely that your basic qualification is a food-related degree. 

You’ll need to be an expert in different legislative standards and requirements affecting the sector of the industry that you’re working in.

You’ll be someone who is able to make quick accurate judgements and back these up with facts and information without losing focus on the detail.

You’ll be exceptionally well-organised and motivated. You’ll need to be at the top of your game to work effectively.

As a manager you’ll be expected to lead a team so both experience and the ability to communicate professionally and competently are key attributes for the role.

What can I expect?

The job of Technical Manager is extremely demanding.  You could well be working long hours and often travelling to meet with suppliers and customers.

You can expect lots of different issues to cross your desk at any time and you will have to be able to deal with pressure and make decisions that could have far -reaching implications. You’ll need to be an expert on absolutely everything you have to deal with – competence alone is not really enough for this role.

What about the pay?

As a senior member of the management team you’ll probably be earning more than £50,000 a year. While a guide figure, this does give an indication of the level of responsibilities that come with the role.

What qualifications do I need to get in?

To attain the Technical Manager’s job you will have to show loads of proven experience within one of the technical functions.

In terms of qualifications, in the first instance you will probably hold a food-related degree and have followed this up with a suitable postgraduate qualification in quality management or business studies.

What about further training?

There are many professional qualifications available for Technical Managers, for instance the MSc in Food Regulatory Affairs.

You might also help your promotion prospects by undertaking study for professional exams offered by organisations such as the Chartered Quality Institute.

Memberships of these organisations also demonstrate your commitment to your job.

As well as this, you might want to consider the MBA qualification which will add a broad range of knowledge to complement your technical knowledge and give you the skills needed for further promotion.

Anything else I might need to know?

Yes, the role of Technical Manager will vary with company size – in a smaller business the job may be hands-on but a more strategic role should be assumed in a larger company with many more staff and departments.