We know that creating products that taste fantastic, drive sales and maximise margins doesn’t happen by accident. That’s why our New Product Development Manager Julie Telfer’s role in the business is so important. She is tasked with ensuring that all new and existing product developments are effectively managed from initial idea through to launch.
In a role that revolves around new products and innovation Julie tells us what a typical day looks like.
I like to get to work early so that I can enjoy a cup of coffee and plan my day without too many distractions. Once I know what shape it will take, I’ll review the priorities for the day with our NPD Technician, Evelyn Wrigglesworth. With so many different projects going on at any given time, it’s important to be organised and have everyone working together so that the day runs smoothly, and nothing is overlooked.
I am usually working on several customer briefs at any given time, and part of my day will involve creating initial formulations that will be used to make up finished product prototypes in our NPD kitchen. Keeping on top of trends in the food industry is an important aspect of my role. Reading a wide range of publications and visiting exhibitions helps me focus on generating ideas for customers.
I am also frequently involved in product line trials where we evaluate a new concept to ensure the product scales up from the small batch made in the NPD kitchen to an industrial sized batch. I will gather information such as moisture content and sieve analysis data and collect samples to compare with the kitchen benchmark. These trials are important for gathering key product information that will help determine the final product specification, as well as allowing us to monitor and check for anything that may cause issues in production.
Coffee in hand, it’s back into the office for a meeting with the sales and operations team to review ongoing projects and actions to make sure that all ongoing work is delivered in a timely manner. It’s during this meeting that new projects are raised, so that people across all relevant functions in the business are aware of projects from an early stage. This enables them to contribute to the way the product will be processed and packaged and highlight any potential problems This also gives the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Team Leader an early insight from a food safety perspective. All of which helps ensure projects run smoothly and successfully
My next stop is the purchasing department. We’re currently developing a new product that involves sourcing raw materials, so we talk through options and potential suppliers for that project. We also discuss quantities of new ingredients required for an upcoming line trial for another project before I head to my desk to calculate nutritional data and ingredients list for a sample product that’s being sent to a customer. This information is required by the technical team to complete a draft NPD specification for the customer.
Working closely with customers on developing new products is fantastic. Part of my afternoon’s work is a conference call to review ongoing projects and timelines with a customer.
One of my favourite parts of my role is meeting customers and giving presentations where we talk about industry and food trends, new products and how Silvery Tweed can help them. With one of these presentations coming up about breakfast cereals, I use the final part of my working day to put together the information I need for the presentation.
Driving away from the office, I’m already thinking about tomorrow and what we have coming up. For now, it’s home and time to put my feet up.
Julie is currently involved in running our NPD roadshows with the sales team. Find out more about them here, or contact us to find out more about our NPD team and how we can help you develop exciting new lines.