Vice President, Product Development & Innovation

This company believes in the power of life’s little comforts – delivering uniquely exceptional guest experiences through uncompromising quality and a relentless passion for innovation. As one of the world’s leading textile producers, we are committed to meeting the ever-changing needs of our customers, while making responsible choices to shrink our ecological footprint and protect the health of our customers and team members.

The parent company is a leading global manufacturer and distributor to the Travel and Leisure  industry, providing products to over 25,000 hotels in 109 countries. We manufacture personal care amenities and a full range of textiles, and, we distribute nearly everything else you find in the hotel public guest areas in the hotel room.

The Director of Product Development is responsible for leading the organization in research and identification of new products and product enhancements to meet the current and future needs of customers. This position is directly responsible for new revenue and profit related to winning new programs, category extension, new customers as well as program retention through customer support. The role evaluates the potential and practicality of products in development and relies on extensive industry experience and customer engagement/collaboration to plan and accomplish goals. Great products and services will create brand recognition for the company as an industry leader and increase demand for their textile products, contributing to the future growth in sales and revenue. This senior leader reports to the SVP, General Manager, and is a contributor to planning the company’s overall growth strategy as part of the leadership team.

Primary Responsibilities:
Product Development & Commercialization:
• Manage the execution of all product development from market analysis to ideation, design prototypes to customer approval, preproduction to product launch
• Develop and manage product solutions to meet the needs of multiple business channels such as corporate brand initiatives, customer bids/RFP, product updates and roll outs
• Originate new products with clear thought process to customer needs and business model. Consider target pricing, margin requirements, quality/laundering requirements, size of the sales opportunity, operational benefits, market standards and customer expectations. Define the product specifications to meet the balanced goals
• Define testing metrics and oversee execution to obtain additional data points around key product solutions to provide sales & marketing differentiators: such as water/electricity/time savings,
operational ease through time and motion studies, data related to sustainability claims, etc.
• Maintain current knowledge of the various industry/verticals, market evolutions, customer expectations, operations to provide guidance and inform decisions around product development
• Acts as the primary contact with manufacturing partners as it relates to product development initiatives including but not limited to; identification of product specifications, timeline requirements,
sample requirements. Maintain, build and expand the supplier relationship to ensure engagement, loyalty and trust around the partnership
• Establish and manage a bi-annual calendar of development activities and drive accountability across all phases of development to ensure dates and strategies are met. This includes regular status meetings with vendor partners, internal team meetings and cross functional project management meetings
• Develop and implement, methods and procedures for monitoring projects such as preparation of records of expenditures and research findings, progress reports, and team meetings, in order to inform management of current status of each project. Use of Product Development and Project Management tools required
• Negotiate contracts with licensing partners, consulting firms and/or outside freelance resources to perform research or other types of support to the product development and design initiatives
• Responsible for all patent filings and legal follow up related to such IP in North America and globally
• Work with marketing to develop “on brand” and engaging collateral for existing and new product lines to ensure success. Identifying the products, key features and benefits, customer solutions, operating advantages, etc. Evaluate and modify as needed through the products lifecycle
• Collaborate with the cross functional teams; sales, sourcing, marketing, quality assurance and forecasting/purchasing, customer service, finance on all topics related to sales and growth opportunities for textile products. Examples of such are: resolution of quality issues related to  products; support of global sourcing strategies and partnerships, participation in sku rationalization

Customer Management & New Business Development:
• Review the sales goals and strategies to define the product development initiatives required to meet these goals that includes new business development and business retention
• Act as primary contact for all corporate and management group customers as it relates to all customer product initiatives. Maintain, build, and expand the customer relationship and key points of contact at all levels within the customer’s organization. Act as textile and industry expert, supporting and educating customers to make a valued and trusted business partner
• Actively support the planning and execution of all customer facing activities including but not limited to customer product presentations, customer sponsored events and trade shows
• Work closely with customer brand experience & engagement teams to through new service opportunities that build strong customer ties and solidify new business wins for division. Such as
design service projects for customized programs for unique brands. Define and execution of successful pilot and property testing to support customers from a service level while winning business opportunities
• Create, manage and actively maintain with the support of cross functional teams, a data base around the corporate hospitality industry, including but not limited to all brands, programs, product
specifications, manufactures, distributors, pricing, contract length and deadlines and any other relevant information. Actively use this data to create strategic product development initiatives focused
on identified customer needs and opportunities for growth
• Coordinate cross functional teams around all Request for Proposal/Information opportunities as it related to product development. Deliver timely and relevant information between the Director of Sales, the customer and internal teams, to build successful solutions and programs to defend existing business and win new growth opportunities
• Support global teams around key strategic goals in global regions to drive sales growth with existing customers such as global corporate brand teams and new customers such as regional groups/commercial laundries through product & innovation built with a strong knowledge of those regional requirements

Lead Product Development Team:
• Hire, train and manage the Product Development team to meet the established annual sales goals. Promote continuous training and development. Roles could include but are not limited to product
development, design and innovation
• Establish clear goals for the team with business metrics and SMART KPI’s. Monitor, evaluate and provide feedback and support to achieve the goals. Participate in performance and compensation evaluations and corrective action/termination as necessary
• Conduct regular department meetings to foster employee engagement, communicate any changes and address concerns. Foster idea sharing, best practices and continual improvement
• Organize and facilitate training seminars to the Guest Supply corporate, independent and international sales teams. Including general textile and product knowledge, textile selling strategy,
competitive and industry insights and global trends
• Prepare development budgets and manage expenses to achieve company financial objectives. Ensure the economic success of the organization through active financial management, prudent business practices and establishing aggressive achievable expense control goals

Innovation & Research:
• Plan and formulate aspects of research and development proposals such as objective or purpose of project, applications that can be utilized from findings, costs of project and equipment and human resource requirements
• Oversee key projects, processes, and performance reports, data and analysis
• Identify new opportunities for growth through new products or innovation
• Select concepts, technology, materials, chemistry, and manufacturing partners used for new products or improvement for existing products
• Research industry, product, and technology advancements and identify innovation opportunities that will increase the organization’s market share, profitability and stature in the industry

Education:
• Bachelor’s degree in Textiles, Textile Engineering and Science, or related degree required

Experience:
• 10 years minimum experience in related textile product development
• 5 years minimum experience in the hospitality industry with a focus on the following disciplines: Textile products, Purchasing, Hotel Operations, Project Management

Skills:
• Exceptional organizational, project management, and team leadership skills are key components for success. Strong ability to execute multiple initiatives autonomously is also required
• Excellent communication (verbal and written), interpersonal and professional interactive skills are necessary to perform at a high degree of proficiency. Ability to read, analyze and interpret general
business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations
• Effectively present information and respond to questions from customers, management and inter-department staff. Capable of working with peers and associates from other departments in a
proactive and constructive manner
• Successfully engage and lead individual and team discussions and meetings. Understand team dynamics and work well within a team structure. Capable of working with peers and associates from other departments in a proactive and constructive manner
• Customer Service – Respond promptly to customer needs. Solicit customer feedback to improve service. Respond promptly to requests for service and assistance as needed
• Problem Solving – Identify and resolve problems in a timely manner. Gathers and analyzes information skillfully. Develops alternative solutions
• Judgment – Display willingness to make decisions. Exhibits sound and accurate judgment. Makes timely decisions
• Professionalism – Approach others in a tactful manner. React well under pressure. Treat others with respect and consideration regardless of their status or position. Accept responsibility for own actions. Follows through on commitments
• Familiarization with customer service activities, interdepartmental communications, and general finance concepts is required. Understanding of Sysco’s key business metrics and systems preferred
• Proficient use of all tools of the trade: MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook). Illustrator & Photoshop skills. Familiarity with Phocas, GForce, and Salesforce.com a plus

To apply for this job email your details to resumes@rushandcompany.com

Rush & Company is a full service Executive Search Firm that specializes in the Soft Goods industry.

Included in this industry are the apparel, home furnishings and industrial markets. We work in the fiber, fabric and fashion industry with clients and candidates located all over the world.

All candidates must be able to provide work related references.

If you're a candidate and would like to submit your confidential resume, please use resumes@rushandcompany.com. We will contact you if your qualifications match any of our current job searches.