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Research And Development Director

Los Angeles, CA, USA | See's Candies

  • Industry:
    Retail
  • Position Type:
    Full-Time
  • Functions:
    General Management
    Biotech/R&D/Science
  • Experience:
    5-7 years
Job Description:
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Position Objective: 


The Research & Development (R&D) Director is responsible for leading the development of new products and improving all aspects of quality manufacturing process of confectionary products in all See’s manufacturing locations.Leads effective teams in Los Angeles and San Francisco facilities that work cross functionally with Operations and Engineering to develop new confections, improve product, and process and troubleshoot quality issues. 


Position Responsibilities:



  1. Develops new products and leads a team that development new products.This includes developing bench top samples in the R&D lab and scaling approved bench top samples to the manufacturing floor.This includes supporting development of nutritional labels for newly developed products, as needed.

  2. Evaluates new processing equipment and new processes in both LA and SF to ensure product performs to See’s established specifications for flavor, appearance, texture and color throughout its shelf life.

  3. Monitors and leads a team that monitors production of candy to ensure candy flavor, appearance, and texture produced meets expectations. 

  4. Plays key role in investigating all quality problems with the candy in equipment, processes, ingredients, and formula compliance. Analyzes rejected or scrapped product; works with FSQA and Operations teams to trend collected data and determine root cause. Identifies opportunities for product/process improvement and cost reduction.

  5. Trains and develops people at all levels (from shop floor to management) on manufacturing confections skills.

  6. Ensures change management and process improvement as the Food Safety and Process Improvement Champion.

  7. Integrally involved in waste reduction as part of process improvement. Reduces waste caused by poor production situations, or generated during the course of making candy.Also looks for usage opportunities of high-quality ingredients that are deemed unusable for other reasons (splits on nuts, pieces instead of halves, leftover raw materials from special items, etc.) 

  8. Ensures there are written, detailed finished product specifications for shop floor in all manufacturing plants to support consistency in product quality and performance. Also generates specs for company-wide use.

  9. Responsible for ensuring effective and accurate maintenance of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) manufacturing recipes.

  10. Evaluates raw materials from new suppliers to ensure consistency with the spec for each piece; participates in qualifying/review of new suppliers for ongoing supply. 

  11. Part of the sensory group that tastes produced product and ingredients to ensure consistency with Company expectations. 

  12. Establishes/confirms shelf life of ingredients, intermediate/work in progress (WIP) products and finished goods through structured studies and tests, including sensory evaluation. Communicates progress to all departments associated with projects in writing and/or in person, as situation dictates.

  13. Assists in new process development as assigned.

  14. Supports FSQA in the assessment of raw material quality as the resident technical expert of our products and process. Works with Process Development, Operations, and FSQA on improving machinability of existing products and/or raw material performance.

  15. Improves and maintains written product formulas. Audits current product formulas and revises them as needed to ensure they are adequately detailed to yield consistency in manufacturing steps and product quality.

  16. Develops and maintains ingredient specifications in collaboration with FSQA, Procurement and Suppliers.

  17. Pulls random samples of product from local shops and leads “product-cutting” with FSQA and Operations, to evaluate the quality of products that have gone through warehousing and distribution processes.

  18. Participates with FSQA in evaluating packs pulled from inventory (warehouses) at start, mid-point and end of shelf life to ensure product is performing as expected through shelf life.

  19. Maintains timely and accurate records of all product/process improvement activities and supplier visits. Generates monthly status report of improvements accomplished.

  20. Attends and participates in the daily Operational meeting in LA and SF (as needed), plus other designated meetings on an as-needed basis.

  21. This leader’s success will come from people and process; developing positive working relationships and using a collaborative approach will ensure overall success.

  22. Completes other duties and special projects as requested by management.

  23. Responsible for identifying opportunities to enhance technology and innovation that will improve departmental effectiveness.

  24. All See’s staff must be committed to the company’s core principles and workplace values, including diversity and inclusion


Job Requirements


Minimum Qualifications:



  1. Minimum 5 years’ experience in confectionery technical support, product development or other relevant category of food processing industry.

  2. BS Degree in Food Science, Food Engineering or related field; equivalent work experience may be considered in lieu of degree.

  3. Excellent leadership and coaching skills.

  4. Sufficient understanding of product, process, systems and equipment to troubleshoot problems and provide solutions to senior management.

  5. Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills.

  6. Proven problem solving skills.

  7. Proven ability to learn new technologies quickly and manage change efficiently, proactively and in a positive manner.


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