Technical Manager (Food)
Full-time, Up to £60,000 per annum

Ref: 10054

Salary: Up to £60,000 per annum

Hours: Full-time

Contracted Hours: 39

Contract Type: Permanent

Location: Chester House, Epsom Ave, Handforth, Cheadle, Greater Manchester, SK9 3DF


Technical Manager – Food 

This is a fantastic opportunity to come and work for a company voted 5th in the Great Place to Work (Best Large Workplaces) awards 2018, and Number 15 in Europe in 2017! We have over 450 stores and over 310 Groom Rooms and are the UK's number one pet care business. Our business is fast-paced, innovative and fun and it's our people that make the difference.

Following a period of rapid growth, we have a fantastic opportunity for an experienced Technical Manager to join our Pet Food business with a rapidly growing portfolio of products. PAH is driven by a culture of passion and innovative delivery of diverse product ranges to pet owners across the spectrum. 

If you love driving change, putting the right processes and procedures in place to take this business to the next level, and making things happen - then this is the role for you! 

Based at our Support Office in Handforth, Cheshire, PAH is seeking a bright and capable Technical Manager to take full technical responsibility for our amazing Pet Food products from concept to delivery. Our technical team ensures we provide our customers and their pets with products that are safe and legal across both Food & Non Food, whilst ensuring all product claims and labelling are accurate and not misleading.

We are looking for a highly motivated individual willing to take the initiative, able to provide leadership and direction as required, is a team player, with the patience and resilience to successfully drive change. Managing a small team, you'll need to be hands-on, pragmatic, provide leadership and commercial direction as required, engaging and influencing colleagues and suppliers, as well as assisting in the coaching, training and development of team members.

This is a rare opportunity for a skilled and proactive Technical Manager to drive the technical agenda and lead a Pet Food Quality team through major business change to support our strategic direction and continued growth and being seen as a ‘brand ambassador’ at all times.


Reporting directly to the Buying Director, this role needs to provide day to day guidance and support for all Pet Food categories developed for Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Small Animals and Fish within a fast paced international business. In this diverse and challenging role, key responsibilities include: 

  • Demonstrate leadership ability and commercial awareness to the Category Manager (Food), NPD Manager (Food) and Buyers, whilst keeping the Buying Director appropriately informed. 
  • Decisive and accountable for all technical aspects of category product ranges, applying technical expertise and assisting with the launch of exciting product ranges.
  • Oversee all technical aspects of own brand food development from concept to launch for our exciting range of pet food products.
  • Ensure all pet food ingredients and compositions are analysed and agreed with suppliers, so that packaging claims can be verified with supporting evidence, highlighting individual attributes of that product and nutritional benefits.
  • Be a key partner within the management team and lead reporting of product quality and performance through supplier/factory approvals, maintaining accurate supplier information. Drive and maintain the use of our Supplier Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) and ensure it is used effectively.
  • Ensure clearly defined specifications and quality requirements are developed and adhered to throughout the development process. Utilise and adopt the recently introduced excel data system to capture detail and agree pack copy of all pet food products, demonstrating due diligence.
  • Contribute to and implement defined QA management processes across a number of product categories, working cross functionally to promote technical excellence throughout the business whilst acting as the product champion. The QA management process must be appropriate for the pet food industry, taking into account commercial and competitor strategies. 
  • Responsible for working closely with and influencing key stakeholders (Category Manager, NPD Manager, Buyers) and suppliers, ensuring numerous high-profile projects are delivered on time. Lead and drive the delivery of technical aspects ensuring all brand and quality related topics are resolved appropriately. 
  • Collaborate with technical and trading teams to support day to day functions, leading and driving ideas and adopting new ways of working, compliance and business simplification.
  • Flexible and able to manage resource and workload in line with changing priorities.
  • Develop, maintain and enforce in-house technical specifications and pack copy procedures, in line with PAH product approval processes. Develop minimum standards and generic specifications to support brand attributes as an ongoing initiative. Responsible for the product specification approval and sign-off. 
  • Manage, develop and support Food Technical/QA team, conducting appraisals and providing continuous and constructive feedback to support culture of driving personal growth and development.
  • Manage and develop a close liaison with Customer Services, investigating justified product complaints, analysing data and troubleshooting and providing solutions as required to drive a culture of continued improvement.
  • Manage the co-ordination and appraisal of supplier audits and review supplier performance against defined criterion and agree appropriate corrective actions on behalf of the business.
  • Ensure consistent and appropriate application of regulatory legislation, robust monitoring and interface with technical control agencies e.g. SGS, Premier Nutrition, etc.
  • Manage, control and direct reviews of non-conforming products, customer complaints and develop corrective action plans.
  • Commercially focussed and supportive to retail operations, incident management and appropriate decision-making to ensure brand standards are maintained. 

Skills Required:

  • Ideally educated to degree level in a food science, nutrition, and/ or animal related subject.
  • The successful candidate must have previous experience as a Technical Manager leading a technical team, gained within either a retail, manufacturing or supplier based environment.
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to influence at all levels, both internally and externally.
  • An inspirational leader, able to work on own initiative as well as being a team player.
  • Will have an excellent technical understanding of pet food development where you can manage customer expectations and timescales whilst advising on product quality and potential technical issues.
  • Have a background that covers all aspects of food manufacturing and retail processes, ability to manage product quality from concept to launch, ideally including management and knowledge of supplier auditing and NPD processes.
  • Have a strong understanding of legal and regulatory requirements, interpretation and application to pet food products.
  • Demonstrate commercial awareness, integrity and determination to deliver results in a fast-paced environment with the drive and ambition to succeed in this role.
  • Have an in-depth knowledge of HACCP and microbiological requirements, as well as food standard certification schemes.
  • Highly organised, forward-thinking with excellent managerial skills and self-motivated, with a passion for achieving the best results for the business.
  • Experienced at managing and developing a team, setting direction and determining priorities.
  • Confident and able to use own initiative, thinking outside the box to consistently reach and exceed high technical standards.
  • Have a logical and analytical approach to improving systems and direct actions, plus strong communication and relationship building skills liaising with our suppliers and Far East colleagues.
  • We’re a Pet business so having a passion for pets and a ‘brand ambassador’ is a must! 

This is a great job in a well-established and growing ‘Pet Care’ business for a talented and ambitious technical professional. 

The Benefits:

  • Salary up to £60,000 per annum, plus bonus
  • 36 days paid annual leave (including bank holidays)
  • Birthday Leave - 1 day extra leave to celebrate your Birthday!
  • The option to buy extra holidays
  • An extra days holiday when you become a new pet parent (Dog/Cat/Horse)
  • An extra days holiday when you move home and half a day when your little one’s ‘fly the nest’!
  • Pension Scheme
  • Colleague Discount- 20% discount for you (plus one family member). This can be used in Pets at Home Stores, Groom Rooms, Companion Care Veterinary Services, and Pet Plan Insurance! 
  • “Treats” benefits- an online range of offers and discounts which are available exclusively to Pets at Home Colleagues
  • Life assurance
  • Contributory Private Health Care
  • Charity Leave- You are entitled to have one paid day’s leave each year to work for your favourite animal related charity.
  • Celebrating Special Celebrations? You’ll get 1 extra week off and a gift to celebrate your wedding or civil partnership, and a gift from us if you are expecting or adopting a baby!
  • Free Car Parking
  • Free Gym
  • Values Awards
  • Colleague of the Month Awards
  • Cycle to Work Scheme

*If you haven't heard back from us within 2 weeks, please assume that unfortunately on this occasion your application has been unsuccessful*

Organisation: Pets at Home

Date Posted: 06-06-2019

Expiry Date: 02-08-2019