• VINSIGHTS

    Technologist - A Fascinating Career

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    When products fail to meet customer expectations, or even worse, health and safety standards, it is deeply embarrassing for retailers and can be costly. It erodes consumer trust and can directly impact profitability through compensation, reduced sales, legal costs, fines and eroded share prices. It is no surprise that product technologists, the people who preempt these disasters, are sought after. While there are labs that specialise in product testing, many retailers consider it too important to outsource and employ product technologists directly.

    What does the product technology team do?

    Working on a critical path product technologists are responsible for ensuring all aspects of compliance and quality assurance have been passed before a product makes it onto the shelf. To reduce the likelihood of delays in getting products to the consumer, the product technology team will work closely with the buying team during the sourcing process and then alongside the merchandising team as the product approaches launch.

    Key responsibilities for technologists include:

    • legal compliance – for example ensuring products don’t contain banned substances and conform to health and safety standards;
    • compliance with company CSR and ethical policies – such as avoiding use of child labour;
    • production capability – ensuring that the supplier is able to deliver the required volume of product to a consistently high standard
    • product durability – putting the product through trial wear programmes

    Roles often involve working across the business, ensuring that products do not make it to market before they have been thoroughly and vetted. This can be a cause of frustration for the buying and merchandising teams meaning that product technologists need to be hands on and have the confidence and gravitas to stick to their timelines.

     

    Product Technology careers

    Typically product technologists will come from a scientific background before specialising in specific sectors such as hard goods including furniture, kitchenware, outdoor goods, home including dining; electrical goods including microwave, lamps, fans and white goods etc. The career path for technologists is quite consistent across sectors, with specific sector knowledge becoming less important in more senior roles.

    Junior / Assistant / Trainee Product Technologist 

    Entry level positions in product technology will involve a lot of process focused activities including spreadsheet work, chasing certificates and following up with factories. Salaries are typically up to £25,000

    Product Technologists 

    Product technologists take ownership for their product area and manage the assistant technologists. Involved in all areas from product sourcing to ultimately ensuring the product is thoroughly tested by launch is their responsibility. Product technologists will often be required to travel to factories and become involved in negotiations with suppliers. Salaries are typically up to £50,000

    Senior Technologists 

    Senior technologists will be responsible for overseeing quality assurance in a number of product areas and ensuring that the processes, systems and skills are in place to deliver this. Salaries are typically £60,000 to £80,000

    Head of Technology 

    The most senior roles ensure a strategic approach to and from product technology. The role will see them working across the business to ensure that quality insurance is emedded into other teams systems and that the function is fit for purpose. Salaries are typically in excess of £100,000

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    15/01/20

    Denim Production - YOUR Way Forward...

    Did you know… Denim laundries are one of the highest polluting facilities on the planet. 3 – 4% of a factories production is waste. UK is predicted to buy 87 million pairs of jeans this year SO… The UK Retail needs near-shore flexibility to reduce over production and respond to the market’s needs. About 70L litres of water is what it currently takes to finish one pair of jeans. This can be reduced down significantly to 5 Litres by companies like Sartex. Within 5 years jeans will be able to be created with only 100% recycled water through the Ozone or harvested rain water.   The fashion industry is unable to continue the way it is going and is desperately looking for more sustainable means to suit the needs of the consumer. Denim is one of the most contaminating industries and over 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are created by the fashion industry. Waste garments represent about 3-5% of every factory's inventory. Asia production is planned 6 months in advance and Turkey (the main close to home supplier of denim) lead times for repeats are 3-4 weeks. This gives little flexibility for companies to react to consumer trends. Subcontracting is still rife in many countries due to large demand. Visits to factories are infrequent and checks made on factories are often done by 3rd party services - Sartex are completely verticle from Inspection of Fabric, Laying, Cutting, Confection, washing and finishing all in Monastir. Retailers are under a considerable amount of pressure to meet ethical and environmental targets. £140 million of clothing goes into landfill each year – washing garments in the UK will reduce over production and waste. We are working to help sustain and introduce better alternatives to Denim production which of all the garments manufactured worldwide utilizes the most water, waste, chemicals and energy, as such we are launching the Sartex/Denim House services here in the UK - already working with UK brands Fat Face and Whistles as well as Global brands from 7 for all Mankind, Diesel, Replay to Boss amongst many others. Using organic, sustainable and recycled fabrics together with their advanced eco production. Sartex/Denim House have committed multi-million Euro investments in their incredible facilities in Monstir, Tunis. From Jeanologia and Tonello’s state of the art Ozone and Laser machineries to their Water treatment plant that recycles 70% of used water back into the factory and the balance clean enough to enter the Tunisian water system. Sartex/Denim house’s senior management team will be showcasing their new innovative developments, processes and commitment to Sustainable Denim in person on the 21st January 2020 – for more information about attending contact shelley@vandc.uk #commitedtosustainaibility

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    December 2019

    We've got the 2020 vision!

    As we wave goodbye to the last decade, we welcome 2020 of what V&C believe to be a positive and exciting start to the next decade. With Sustainability and Digital being at the core of our business focus. It is moving to reminisce on how many iconic brands have left our high street due to the retail apocalypse, those include Mothercare, Jack Wills, Karen Millen, East and Bon Marche – to name few. This creates opportunities for the new brands to step up and deliver innovation and style to the ever-changing retail landscape, most of whom are incorporating sustainability, recycled and organic fabric development into their collection, seeing the evolution of sustainable brands such as Veja, Raeburn and others. V&C continues to grow it’s event side of the business that have included content rich and exciting topics in collaboration with Google and Facebook for the digital side and launching Sartex/Denim House collaboration for the Sustainable Denim production. It is apparent, due to the successful attendance of these events, that UK brand and retailers continue to explore and grow their business through ecommerce and drive their sustainable action plan as the consumer become mindful on environmental issues – a paradox in itself. Our digital growth both in terms of recruitment and our Digital Marketing Services across PPC and Paid Social delivers excellent returns and campaigns for our retail partners. The UK seems to be ‘Online - all the time’ with the average British household now owning a staggering 7.4 internet devices. Our Digital event in November 2019 partnered with Michelle Capp (Head of UK Retail at Facebook and Instagram) where we discussed how brands can drive traffic to their websites through the power of social media, PPC and SEO. Brand awareness is key, all brands have a story to tell - it’s just how you tell it! We look forward to the start of 2020 for many reasons, in January we have our new event scheduled around Sustainability, we have new brands on board to start the digital campaigns and we have lots of fantastic new opportunities for our candidates across all retail sectors from Technical, Commercial, Buying and Merchandising.  V&C wish all our clients and candidates a very Merry Christmas a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

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