Friday, August 26, 2005

New Business/Product Development Manager

Product development work was a subject I knew I had to get to sooner or later. This article from an employment agency calling for a Business Development Co-ordinator in England seems fitting to kick off a series on this. This is the work that the Regional Seafood Development Associations will be doing in spades.

This picture shows the innovation of a fish processing plant in Fairbanks: salmon peperoni sticks.

Here's a job description of the kind of person that will be needed. 25,000 Pounds Sterling isn't much for that kind of work in the U.S. I don't think. But these Associations will have to work hard and Just Over Broke for a little while to get going.

They won't have to worry about making expensive mistakes like I've seen in the past, because they won't have much to make mistakes with. I remember the product development and business development people at Whitney-Fidalgo putting a $25,000 ad in Time magazine for salmon caviar. Nobody had ever heard of salmon caviar back then. That was a one time ad too.

You have to be as conservative and smart as parents saving to put junior through college. No guessing allowed. Or let me put it another way. When that brown bear you're after is moving fast, like markets do, you have to hit a vital spot with one shot. No peppering it with rounds, no matter how big the round. This takes focus, by someone who can focus, and a track record of determination and innovation.

The Business Development Manager is a "make it or break it" position that makes the whole undertaking worth while. A lot of the skills needed can be learned on the job. There won't be much time to spare, so he or she will have to be a quick study. The first positions will have to call for a jack-of-all-trades; interfacing with the markets with research and intuition, then developing the criteria for the products to match.

This picture is of salmon chunks being brined in prepatation for smoking.

So buckle your seat belts, dive right in and all that, and above all have fun. Norquest put the having fun part right in their By-laws and look how successful they have been.

Bonus Material:

"Guarding the flavour potential of baked goods is a challenge for food makers preparing frozen –to-microwave and oven foods." This is a rubber-meets-the-road kind of article in product development.

Southeast Alaska gillnetters are taking vacations and halibut fishing this month instead of the salmon fishing that they have done for the past 100 years in August

I wrote a post a little while back that mentioned making condos out of the last seafood processing plant in Astoria, OR. I don't know how I missed the work to turn the big old Columbia Wards plant in Kenai into a hotel, restraunt, custom processor, and everything-else-they-can-think-of facility.

There is big bucks behind this effort, that's how they can afford to throw some money at an outside quality control party, (AQS). As a new processor, they need to buy their credibility in the market. And even at that, you couldn't prove by me how important that is. Whether anybody south of Dixon Entrance really gives a hoot about the glamor of the quality control program or just about the quality of the fish.


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