JOB FILLED - Vendor Development Manager

Job Description: 

Loblaw Produce International (LPI), formerly So Fresh Produce, offers Loblaw Companies Limited (LCL), one of the largest retailers in Canada, an extensive array of services to advise and optimize Loblaw’s fresh produce sales.  LPI has been in business for over 50 years and our unique business model offers a great value to Loblaw.  Ultimately, we are looking to assist Loblaw to win in quality, variety, innovation, and speed.

LPI has a highly skilled team of Vendor Development Managers (VDM’s) and Quality Assurance Specialists (QAS).  The team is experienced in fresh produce production, distribution, and produce retail sales.  LPI VDM’s are located in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and Spain.  From these countries, we are able to inspect the major growing areas of North America, South America, Southern Europe, with the possibility of traveling to areas outside the above listed regions.
In summary, our services enable Loblaw to meet the customer’s needs by sourcing direct, maintaining spec., improving service level, delivering produce with a longer product life, while providing great tasting product.
Role Mandate:

This role would be based out of the Valdosta, Georgia and requires regular travel.  The Vendor Development Manager is accountable for inspecting and evaluating outbound produce at source to ensure it meets LCL quality standards and that the best vendor is available to the stores. The Vendor Development Manager regularly communicates with various areas (Category Management, Product Technologist Team and LPI team) regarding vendor quality, field conditions, supply volume, and opportunity buys.

  • Post-secondary education or equivalent experience
  • 4-5 years experience or education in agriculture, growing fruits and vegetables.
  • Thorough knowledge of fresh produce and related items in regard to grades, sizes, colour including knowledge of CFIA standards for fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Raise the bar regarding company QA standards and exceptions and embrace a continuous improvement philosophy
  • Ability to communicate(verbally and written) effectively inter-departmentally and at various levels throughout the organization
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Self-motivated, detail oriented, analytical and organized
  • Computer experience in a Windows environment
  • Valid driver’s license and credit card, as extensive travel is required.
Responsibilities & Duties: 
  • Inspect and evaluate all outbound vendors to ensure that it meets our specifications for quality (size, weight, brix, colour, taste, decay etc.) and adhering to CFIA government inspection standards. 
  • Reject vendor that does not meet established specifications.
  • Verify Food Safety audit compliance.
  • Communicates daily with Category Management, Product Technologist Team and the LPI Team to discuss quality issues, vendor rejections, and vendor relations.
  • Supports Category Directors by gathering and reporting information regarding field/vendor quality, supply volume and weather conditions.
  • Collaborate with vendors to develop new plant varieties, unique produce items and innovative vendor packaging for discussion and evaluate with Category Management and LPI Team.
  • Supports Category Directors to source new vendors, opportunities and growing areas.
  • Monitors vendors for compliance with company policies and guidelines.

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