Technical Manager

Job Title: Technical Manager

Name: Sally Bavin

Company: Northern Foods – Evesham Foods

Professional Qualification(s):

8 GCSE’s BTEC National Diploma in Hotel, Catering anf Institutional Operations BSc (Hons) Food Marketing Management, 2:1

Degree studied at

Sheffield Hallam University

Brief job description

Responsible for product and process development, Quality Assurance and for ensuring that the correct standards of Hygiene and Good Manufacturing Practices are achieved within current legislation, also Northern Foods and Marks & Spencer Codes of Practice. Responsible for customer contact regarding all technical matters.

My career so far…

Home Economist – Rawmarsh foods a company within Northern Foods – 1993 to 1994 (Industrial placement during degree)

After Graduating I returned to Northern Foods on the Graduate Training Scheme and have moved around companies with the Northern Foods group in several roles:

Process Development Technologist at Pennine Foods – Sept 1995 to March 1998.

Senior Process Development Technologist at Fenland Foods – March 1998 to December 1999.

Quality Assurance Manager – Riverside Bakery at Jan 2000 to June 2001

Technical Manager (maternity cover) at Evesham Foods – June 2001 to date

What does your job involve in a typical day?

Technical Manager – Evesham Foods

I firstly attend the ‘morning meeting’ to discuss any day-to-day issues and to feedback any technical issues from visits/audits. I meet the departmental managers regularly to check everything is running smoothly. Department managers run their departments and I will get involved where ‘bigger’ decisions/advice is required. Any visits from our customer are planned and I ensure that the relevant departments such as production are fed with the correct information. I go to as many taste panels as I can ! Customer complaints are assessed and these are discussed either on the telephone or in person to the M&S; technologist.

I talk to numerous external contacts on a day to day basis from M&S; technologists and selectors (discussing NPD, complaints, codes of practices), raw material suppliers (non conformances), packaging artwork houses (ensuring the critical path is being adhered to), NF technical Services, Pest Controllers, Environmental Health and Trading Standard officers.

A typical day will involve lots of meetings either based on production issues, launches of new products, hygiene issues and technical audits either by our customer and by NF technical Services. I will ensure that all the relevant codes of practices (from NF and M&S;) are being adhered to. I get heavily involved with all audits and customer visits. I am responsible for drawing up all technical reponses for the site and ensuring that the corrective action plans are completed against the timescales

Other, not so technical aspects are also considered throughout the day. These include completing managers’ personal development reviews, organizing training, meetings with managers to ensure they are informed of all relevant site -wide issues. I am responsible for the technical budget, ensuring that the weekly spends are in line what was budgeted for and to make decisions on exceptions as required.

What do you like most about your job?

Every day is different. The job is really about juggling lots of balls and trying not to drop them!
I really enjoy working with a team of people all working to the same outcome.

What skills are required in your job?

Excellent planning and communicating skills with good solid leadership.
Practical thinking skills become key in order to find the optimum solution.
Skill s relating to working with others is essential for good sound customer relations.

How many people work for you?


What is your advice to people looking for a career in the food and grocery industry?

The food industry is very fast moving and challenging, with excellent opportunities for career development and early responsibility. My Industrial Placement year gave me a fantastic opportunity to work within the industry and see if it was really for me. You will surprised by the huge range of opportunities within the food industry from technologists to engineers to production managers, think about the things you enjoy and what career would suit you best.