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New Product Introduction Senior Project Manager

Location: Chicago, IL, United States

Job Function: Innovation Quality & Food Safety

Req Number: 555

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We are a global leader in food & beverage ingredients. Pioneers at heart, we operate at the forefront of consumer trends to provide food & beverage manufacturers with products and ingredients that will delight their consumers. Making a positive impact on people and planet is all part of the delight. With a deep-rooted presence in the countries where our ingredients are grown, we are closer to farmers, enabling better quality, and more reliable, traceable and transparent supply. Supplying products and ingredients at scale is just the start. We add value through our unique, complementary portfolio of natural, delicious and nutritious products. With our fresh thinking, we help our customers unleash the sensory and functional attributes of cocoa, coffee, dairy, nuts and spices so they can create naturally good food & beverage products that meet consumer expectations. And whoever we’re with, whatever we’re doing, we always make it real. 
Position Summary
Reporting to the VP of Innovation, the New Product Introduction Program Sr. Manager will be responsible for bringing ofi’s products from concept to shelf in North America Region.  This position will manage each part of the stage gate process for innovation projects including the creation of a project database to be able to collect project charters, approvals and dashboards will be another important task that the candidate will perform.
Stage Gate is a new process for ofi, therefore this person will be responsible for designing, developing, and standing up the core capabilities required to commercialize a product through Stage Gate Process using defined workflow tools. The ideal candidate will collaborate cross-functionally, manage projects, solve problems, and build ofi Stage Gate Process to be able to successfully launch our products from Idea to launch.
Position Responsibilities
  • Roll-out a stage gate process and new workflow tool.
  • Manage the end-to-end commercialization process from concept through to shelf.
  • Collaborate on process and RACI documentation and lead training for cross-functional teams.
  • Develop a prioritization framework and communicate priorities to cross-functional team members.
  • Report out on KPIs associated with the steps in the commercialization process on a monthly basis to senior leaders within ofi.
  • Work with team to develop project timelines & communicate to all stakeholders.
  • Work with team to help problem solve, remove roadblocks and manage scope changes.
  • Influence and drive alignment amongst team members and across key stakeholders including the leadership team, marketing, sales, supply chain and R&D.
  • Lead stage gate meetings to manage feasibility, launch and project lifecycles with cross-functional leadership team.
  • Responsible for launching products on time & within spec.
  • Be the gatekeeper for 1 source of truth on projects in the pipeline.
  • Work closely with the R&D function to ensure product development aligns with market needs, regulatory requirements, and manufacturing capabilities.
  • Collaborate with the manufacturing team to ensure efficient and effective production of high-quality products and to troubleshoot any production-related issues.
  • Identify risks and mitigation plans to avoid launch delays and lead the right escalation process accordingly.
  • Coordinate with IT Team for stage gate automation
  • Perform other duties as assigned.
Position Requirements
  • Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration or related field required.
  • Minimum of eight to ten (8 - 10) years of experience in a commercialization function with at least 5 (five) years leading the end-to-end commercialization of new product launches (relevant industry experience required).
  • Manage and collaborate with direct team and cross-functional associates.
  • Strong project management skills including timeline development in MS Project or similar software, and cross-project task sequencing.
  • Experience using Sales Force and a workflow tool preferred.
  • Working knowledge of product manufacturing and the supply chain preferred.
  • PMP (or equivalent) certification a plus
  • Simplification and process improvement mindset with experience in streamlining overly complex processes.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to manage a wide range of personality types.
  • Grit, passion, drive, and commitment to creating and achieving results.
  • Self-starter, able to project manage and deliver results with little oversight.
  • Ability to navigate highly matrixed and global organization.
  • Ability to manage through influence to drive results and accountability from peers and the cross-functional team.
  • Experience with trials at pilot plant or manufacturing processes preferred.
Note: This job description is not intended to be all-inclusive. Employee may perform other related duties as negotiated to meet the ongoing needs of the organization. 
ofi provides equality of opportunity for all persons with respect to hiring without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation. All employment will be decided on the basis of qualifications, merit and business need. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us for support at: [email protected] 
At ofi, we celebrate our diversity. Olam Americas LLC is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace.