Postharvest Specialist EMEA

About the vacancy

As Postharvest Specialist EMEA you are responsible for analyzing postharvest operations, help secure consistent implementation and application of postharvest processes, and evaluate new technologies and tools to improve postharvest fruit quality. You will report to the Quality and Delight Manager EMEA. 

In this role you will conduct research on methods to reduce fruit damage during handling, sorting, packing and shipping. Using proper experimental design methods and data analytics, in coordination with other functional areas like Applied Research, Compliance and Supply Chain, you will lead or support a wide range of research projects including technology testing, cold chain optimization and new packaging development. 

Responsibilities

You will have the following responsibilities: 
  • In close coordination with the quality assurance and regional production teams, monitor the consistent application and execution of postharvest processes from field to coolers, through supply chain to costumers, and on to consumers in all production regions.
  • Execution of research projects directed towards assessing and improving the post-harvest handling process with the goal of quality improvement, reduce claims and scrap/culls.
  • In close coordination with our global and business unit quality and postharvest teams, test design development, identification of areas for improvement and development of objective methods to test, improve and maintain berry quality. Support ongoing testing to improve fruit quality and shelf life.
  • In close coordination with Applied Research, and field operations, optimize fruit quality based on best in class production practices and technologies. When needed also support R&D to understand potential postharvest behavior of new genetics.
  • Support the Compliance department to secure fruit conditions and handling that minimize or eliminate food safety risks.
  • Recommend solutions through research and evaluation of postharvest processes to determine the effectiveness of current operational activities and to find new improvement opportunities.
  • Support the testing and/or development of new postharvest technologies
  • Execute cooling and shipping tests of current and new packaging within defined timelines.
  • Coordinate off-site locations to conduct shipping tests.
  • Ensure appropriate and timely inter- and intra-departmental communication to perform various tasks related to postharvest research projects. Communicate effectively with the supply chain (coolers, transportation, packaging) and production teams, as well as with growers.
  • Prepare and modify SOPs related to postharvest activities. 
  • Assist in data analysis and postharvest project report writing.
  • Recommend improvements to existing processes to improve the efficiency of postharvest activities.
  • Provide regular progress updates in a timely manner.
  • Ensure the integrity and accuracy of Driscoll’s postharvest research results.
  • Maintain proper industry contacts and interaction with related industry, research and grower support organization groups.
  • Travel to other areas regions/operations, as required.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Candidate profile

Education & Training

  • Bachelor’s degree in Food Science, Agricultural Engineering, Agronomy, Biochemistry or related discipline, with a MSc or specialization on postharvest management a plus.

Experience

  • 3-5 years of experience within the produce sector, preferably within an international environment, and solid foundations in experimental design, data collection methodology, process improvement and project management.

Skills & Behaviors

  • Bilingual (English/Spanish and/or Portuguese), with proficiency, French and/or German an added benefit.
  • Computer skills including proficiency in Microsoft Office, as well as spreadsheet and database software is required.
  • Self-motivated and able to complete assigned tasks with minimal supervision.
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, along with developed interpersonal skills.
  • Team player with the ability to be adaptable and flexible in a fast-paced, continuously changing environment
  • Ability to balance multiple work assignments and ability to confidently make recommendations while working cross-functionally.

Competencies

  • Fully hands on but with a solid capability to balance short term execution with long term strategy.
  • Solid understanding of pre-harvest, harvest, and post-harvest processes and process controls.
  • Understanding of supply chain elements and functions as well as produce, and preferably berry quality, defects and their cause.
  • Demonstrated ability to identify what agronomic and/or handling factors could have caused a defect or out of specification issue.
  • Solid understanding of cold chain and effects of temperature, modified atmosphere, packaging and product storage, on product quality.
  • Demonstrated ability to apply statistical techniques in a testing environment.
  • Ability to connect, interpret and report information from multiple data sources.
  • Extensive understanding of analytical testing methods.
  • Understanding of the fundamentals of physics a plus, including heat transfer and vibration.
  • Fundamental understanding of Python, computer vision/image based grading, and machine learning a plus.

Other

  • A valid passport and the ability to travel internationally without restrictions are also required.

We offer

Alongside a competitive salary and benefits package, we offer you the opportunity to contribute to the growth of our experienced and ambitious organisation. Our success as a company depends on a creating an enabling environment where our people are energized, motivated, and empowered to perform at their highest level.

About Driscoll’s

Driscoll’s is the global market leader for fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. With more than 100 years of farming heritage and hundreds of independent growers around the world, Driscoll’s is passionate about growing fresh, beautiful and delicious berries. Our values of passion, humility, and trustworthiness have guided our mission to delight consumers around the world.

Driscoll’s exclusive patented berry varieties are developed through years of research using only natural breeding methods – meaning, no GMOs. From farm-to-table, we focus on delivering a high quality, premium berry experience with our many supply chain partners. Driscoll’s is the trusted brand for Only the Finest Berries ™

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