Sensory Laboratory Senior Technician
This role is a function within the Sensory department and located in STL
Reports to Department Leader
This position is responsible for all aspects of set up and administration of routine and non-standard sensory and consumer tests and coordination of the sensory panel functioning in a research and development environment. Works under general supervision.
Organize and administer all aspects of sensory descriptive and affective tests on food, devices and/or litter products applying defined methodologies insuring a high standard of scientific integrity. This task includes but is not limited to the following:
• Provide reliable recommendations for routine studies to sensory scientists on selection of appropriate standard sensory methods to answer project objectives.
• Create required draft test materials and samples to execute sensory and employee consumer testing fitting to obtain trial objectives provide by sensory scientist.
• Finalize and validate test design in the appropriate sensory software application; e.g. FIZZ, EyeQuestion.
• Schedule panelists and guide their completion of assigned tests through accurate instruction and addressing concerns.
• Execute test, validate data, apply appropriate statistical analysis, report findings and archive data utilizing appropriate sensory software programs.
• Provide basic data interpretation to sensory scientist.
Application Management – Manage all aspects of sensory software program modules (e.g. EyeQuestion, FIZZ) ensuring proper application and functionality.
• Train sensory team on sensory software programming, capabilities and
• Act as primary contact interfacing with local IT and external vendor to assure software tools are state of the art, data analysis is providing accurate results appropriate to existing standards and software/hardware issues are resolved in a timely manner.
Panel Calibration / Management - Train, maintain and recruit a well calibrated panel by:
• Manage panels under personal responsibility related to scheduling, notification and recruiting processes
• Understand factors affecting sensory perception to minimize bias in execution
• Prepare and execute protocols requested to ensure panel performance standards are met
• Motivate panelists to achieve high quality results and minimize panel turnover
• Activate and lead selection, recruitment and integration of new panelists when required
Interfacing with team and business partners:
• Participates in cross-functional working teams to support translating sensory knowledge into key product attributes to help define product specifications and identify defects.
• Effectively engages the S&CP network to help answer sensory questions of business interest.
• Under the guidance of sensory scientist, executes engagement of external agencies to ensure best in class testing and reporting (contract, preferred vendors).
Continuous Improvement and New Sensory/Consumer method development - Supports validation of new methods and approaches to create efficiencies and explore value creation.
• Under guidance of Sensory Scientist, assesses the viability of the proposed method.
• Integrate new methods into existing sensory toolbox as required
• Stay current with the state of the art and seeks opportunity to propose new methods for the sensory team
Knowledge Management – Coordinates data archiving, adapts repository structure as required in collaboration with global team, provides critical assessment of data integrity and ensures protocols are properly documented (SOP)
Responsible for all aspects associated with sensory laboratory function, including by not limited to:
• Organization and cleanliness of lab
• Development and maintenance of documents such as SOPs, inventory, etc.
• Procurement of lab supplies while adhering to company policies
- Coordination of product sample collection, storage, preparation and proper disposal for internal testing and at external agencies
- Successfully develop and maintain good ways of working with affiliated labs and pilot facilities
- Actively participate in cross training as needed to learn new skills required for sensory and consumer methodology advances
- Conduct all activities in compliance with all required company policies and procedures
- Actively practice safety in the workplace
- Continued development of scientific skills
- Additional duties as assigned
- BS degree in sensory science, psychology or statistics from an accredited college or university or equivalent work experience in the sensory/consumer domain with technical certification in sensory/consumer evaluation procedures and methodology
- 5+ years’ experience coordinating sensory panel work streams and executing related studies
Additional qualifications desired:
Working knowledge of statistics
Experience in advanced consumer and sensory evaluation techniques of consumer products
Adaptable, flexible work style
Patience and rigor
Good teamwork, interpersonal and organizational skills
Proven ability to understand sensory methodologies
Proven ability to organize research data into comprehensive data files
Must be able to manage multiple tasks simultaneously
Understanding of tools for problem solving