• 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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    V&C Drapers Interview on FLEXING and the importance of Consulting in our industry.

    Following the coronavirus pandemic, the fashion retail industry will likely turn to temporary employees more than ever, says Matthew Vohs, chief executive of fashion retail recruitment agency V&C. Covid-19 has seen many retailers and brands either closing stores or arranging pre-pack administrations. The by-product of businesses evaluating their store portfolios is an impact on headcount, as executives question whether the organisation requires all its current staff. The furlough route may however have had a detrimental effect on the industry in forcing businesses to streamline and subsequently realise that they can accommodate their workload without the furloughed staff. This could leave many experienced employees a victim of redundancy.  Many retailers have already announced job cuts. British luxury brand Mulberry is to axe up to a quarter of its global workforce as a result of coronavirus, White Stuff has entered redundancy consultations within its head office and UK retail teams. Debenhams has cut hundreds of head office roles after placing them on to the furlough scheme during the crisis. Staff culling like this will, of course, reduce a business’s overheads, but also leaves an abundance of redundant skilled workforce across the sector in buying and merchandising, retail operations, design and technical roles. These candidates will now need to adapt to their situation by being more dynamic and entrepreneurial in their job search, as new, developing and emerging companies look to tap into their expertise via a freelancing route. Going forward, contracting across multiple organisations could very well be the norm for fixed or short term positions. It will allow variety of work for employees but also allow businesses to access skilled workers without the need for long-term investment.  Businesses will also need to change their mind-set. They will need set clear objectives for contracted or freelance staff and establishing tangible KPI’s that measure their output. However, they also run the risk that the employee may find full-term work or a more lucrative contract. The world is changing and retail is among the sectors that are changing the most, with more and more of us needing a flexible work solution.  Freelancing and contracting means a retailer could employ a team of buyers for one season, a merchandise director on a three day week, perhaps a designer for one collection or an ecommerce social media expert for a fixed 12 months. These roles are not traditionally temporary, however, with this new approach, retailers get fresh concepts and diversity without the burden of long-term employment issues. Retailers can also change their teams with regularity, introducing new ideas and responding with incredible speed to what the consumer wants. Post coronavirus, there are going to be lots of highly in demand skills and great talent available but those people will also be considering how they want to work, wanting flexibility. If companies don’t take note, they will miss out on the best staff and lose out to competitors.   

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    Flexing made easy!

    We’re Thinking Differently – Are You? We have been thinking about new ways of working and have something new to tell you about.  Something that we think is going to change the way you work, offering you exciting career opportunities or improved work/life balance – or both! It’s Called Flexing. The world is changing and retail is one of the sectors that is probably changing the most.  The past few months has seen most people review how they work more flexibly. It is just the start, going forward, this flexibility will be paramount for employees as well as employers. Why not consider your Flexing model? We still want to offer you new roles but in a different way.  Instead of being employed by one retail or supply business on a full-time basis, we can also offer you fixed term contracts or fixed term part-time contracts.  We can even offer you Flex to Perm and V&C Associates will effectively be your employer. We will guide you through the process on setting up an umbrella company or helping you register your company It might not sound different yet but read on – it is different.  It’s exciting, it’s new and importantly, it’s flexible. Flexing allows you to work for more than one retailer or supplier for as long as you want, for as many days a week as you want giving that flexible work /life balance if that what you are looking for. As an example; You might Be a buyer but only want to work twice a week without long-term ties? Think about working as a merchandiser but for a short term contract ? Want to do a special, one-off design job? Work as a Merchandise Manager, but part-time? Want to have the opportunity of working on a multiple assignments with a different retailer or brand? Flexing Makes it Possible We will find you the role you want on a short, medium or long-term fixed contract basis (minimum 6 months).  It gives you tremendous flexibility.  Imagine – you could work somewhere as a product developer for two days a week and for the other three days, work as a selector for a different business. You might want to work two days as an Account Manager, have a day off in the middle of the week and work the rest of the week for another retailer, in the same or similar role. There are retailers and suppliers looking for this type of arrangement. It suits both of your needs.   Huge Benefits for Candidates There’s a reason it’s called Flexing. It’s more than temporary roles or part-time contracts.  It’s more than fixed long-term contracts.  It allows you to work for two different organisations at once.  You get the benefits of two different companies, get to grips with different cultures, gain more experience and use your own experience to add a new dimension to another retailer or supplier.  It makes work life more interesting, variable and exciting – there’s no room for boredom!  Alternatively, use Flexing to create better work/life balance and work when you want to. Effectively, V&C Associates (with our FCSA affiliated Umbrella partners)  would employ you and take care of NICS, PAYE and holidays. We believe this is a new beginning, a new way of working for everyone.   We cover: Digital Design & Technical Buying & Merchandising Sustainability Sourcing Human Resources Sales/Account Managers Retail Operations Flex with us - let V&C Associates get it absolutely right for you. Click here to discuss your Flexing employment solution.

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    Your Flexible workforce!

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