Manager, Footwear Innovation - Vietnam
Brooks Running Company
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Posted on Thursday, April 13, 2023
Who We Are:
Brooks is a team of passionate people united by a desire to do meaningful work, lead healthy lives and make a difference. We share a focused mission: to inspire everyone to run and be active. That’s it. No distractions—it’s all about the run. Through science, creativity, service, authenticity and connection, we obsess over delivering the best running gear on the planet. We do it our way, with our unique spirit, with a goal of being more relevant to runners than any other brand, day after day and mile after mile. We are determined to innovate, challenging ourselves to lead thought at every turn. Inside these walls and on the roads, tracks and trails, we live and breathe Run Happy, celebrating the positive impact running has on our lives and others. We inject it into all we do because it makes everything better, smarter, more fun and more memorable. Our company culture defines us, bonds us together and creates the conditions for success. It is lived daily as a behavioral expression of our collective set of brand values: Runner First, Word is Bond, Champion Heart, There is no “I” in Run, and Keep Moving. If you’re on our team, it means your part of creating something extraordinary. You’re part of Brooks.
The Brooks Innovation team is a group of world-class innovative minds collectively focused on improving the performance running experience through product, experiential and biomechanical innovation. They constantly challenge assumptions of how products are made and together they shape the future of running footwear. They stretch the limits of science and human performance with every innovation and are relentlessly focused on changes that benefit the Brooks runner. They pioneer relationships with manufacturing partners and suppliers, uncovering new partnerships with global industry leaders to create innovations and bring new Brooks innovations to life. The Innovation team operates across the full range of product creation, merchandising, brand strategy, sourcing and new business development to relentlessly pursue methods to make better-performing, higher-quality and sustainable products faster and more efficiently than ever before.
As our Manager, Innovation for Vietnam, you will utilize your management skills, advanced product and process knowledge to drive the Vietnam innovation team through to completion on a variety of innovation programs that will enable the future of Brooks Running. You will lead a multi-national team and manage their work with a global, cross-functional product creation team from the collection of insights through commercialization to deliver products that deliver new running experiences and exceed runner expectations. You will oversee timeline creation and management across the innovation triad driving the research, prototyping and validation of ideas through the advanced R&D process delivering ready for in-line product and technologies. You will work with and manage relationships with strategic partners outside of Brooks to cultivate new ideas and manage the delivery of groundbreaking products that challenge and shape the future of running.
· Oversee, drive and manage the Vietnam innovation team through multiple innovation projects from Portfolio Assessment, Brief & Research through Design, Development & Validation and into Commercialization & Manufacturing
· Partner with the Innovation Lead Triad through the Innovation Director to identify opportunities, align on strategies and focus, and deploy teams to achieve the Innovation Portfolio and Brand goals
· Drive awareness and understanding of the Brooks Innovation strategy and priorities to key factory partners (particularly T1’s) and create a culture of proactive innovation
· Oversee the creation and execution of project development plans/schedules according to the strategic critical dates that lead to on–time delivery of samples, portfolio reviews, validation, technology transfers and final product/ technology confirmation
· Periodically lead and play a functional role in complex and innovative development projects (technologies, programs, products, processes) from concept through to seasonal category integration in collaboration with project teams within the Innovation group and across the organization.
Lead your team through prototyping, testing and validation of concepts using your team’s advanced problem solving and product creation skills which include: pattern making and construction techniques; blueprints, mold creation and midsole/outsole creation; Lab, fit, wear and biomechanical testing and specification; and manufacturing processes used in the creation of our product
· Promote and build a partnership between your team and design, product line managers, engineering, manufacturing and vendor/partners to ensure that products exceed runner expectations, are manufacturable and meet performance and quality objectives of the organization.
· Display an in-depth knowledge of the manufacturing process with the ability to work with your team to manipulate the process in order to advance and achieve new manufacturing techniques which enhance the overall performance and efficiency of product
· Lead and manage local and international development trips to work with manufacturers and suppliers on existing and new development projects.
· Position your team to be able to recommend and specify to product team the material, component, and construction options to meet product’s functional goals, as well as assure product performance integrity through product testing (physical and field testing), either by building up their skills or promoting your team’s knowledge
· Manage (including goal setting, performance review, hiring decisions, team culture, etc.) and support the career development of direct reports to ensure job satisfaction, retention and to identify and develop bench strength.
· Oversee your team’s meetings with product teams during various phases of development to review, evaluate, update and ultimately assist in the decision-making process that leads to on–time production confirmation and margin goals
· Create and build a knowledge base and stay informed about vendor capabilities and performance, factory relationships, quality issues, materials pricing and lead times.
· Manage the team to work on identifying local and global sources for new ideas, materials, technologies and solutions to our challenges
· Contribute ideas for product design, construction, materials, compounds, and components to enhance functionality, aesthetics, sustainability, fit and profit margin.
· Serve as the technical & manufacturing resource for members of the project teams, marketing and design.
· Work to further define and implement the Innovation process with all its steps and milestones
· Find and create training programs to increase your team’s knowledge and skills to keep up with the industry trends
· Work with the Senior Manager for Innovation to make sure teams across all locations are aligned and working in harmony.
· Participate in the Portfolio Assessment process to contribute to the creation of the Innovation Portfolio
· Drive the implementation of new systems, process improvements, deliverable formats to make the innovation process more efficient and result-driven
Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Design, Biomechanics or other applicable technical degrees.
7+ successful years of experience leading the product development of high-performance footwear projects.
3+ years management experience leading, developing and coaching a development team
Technical expertise in footwear product development with an advanced knowledge of the total footwear construction process including outsole/midsole drawing, pattern engineering, material construction, testing and costing.
Strong understanding of manufacturing capabilities, anticipating issues, problem solving with timely resolution.
Proven ability to lead and influence a team within a collaborative, cross-functional group without command/ control to meet strategic objectives.
Demonstrated ability to develop highly productive relationships with individuals and teams that are made up of diverse disciplines and cultural backgrounds resulting in effective working relationships across the company
Strong verbal and written communication skills in English and Mandarin, with an advanced ability to communicate new ideas, concepts and functional expertise within project teams and to external stakeholders. Presentation skills. Professional knowledge of Powerpoint, Keynote or other electronic means to communicate new concepts or ideas. Technical writing capability a plus.
Keen attention to detail in planning, organization and execution of tasks (self and through others), while still seeing the big picture and understanding how all of the pieces fit together and affect one another.
Ability to anticipate how a decision made can affect our customers, our partners, our products or other departments’ operations and/or morale; “connecting the dots.”
Ability to manage teams of different sizes (initially up to 5) and conduct performance reviews every quarter
Curious and open minded; always open for a challenge, inventive, creative. With the ability to challenge the status quo – always looking at improving our products and processes while also displaying a willingness to dive into the details.
Strong computer skills including experience with Illustrator, MS Office software.
Proven ability to drive, lead and influence in collaborative, team oriented and complex global environments.
Passionate participation in Brooks’ sports activities a plus, overridden by the ability to understand and empathize with the runner in order to develop loyal, engaging relationships with our customers and the Brooks community.
Embraces and lives the Brooks values!
Reports to: Director, Footwear Innovation
Department: Footwear Research & Development - 32
Position Class: Exempt, Salaried
Position Location: Sourcing Office, Dongguan, China
Brooks Sports, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and our policy is to maintain employment practices that conform to the intent and letter of the laws regarding equal employment opportunity. Brooks is committed to affording equal employment opportunity to all individuals without regard to race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran or military status, marital status, sexual preference, genetic information or any other basis prohibited by federal, state, or local laws or regulations. This commitment applies to all phases of the recruitment process including hiring, selection, promotions, transfers, demotions, compensation, benefits, or training. Brooks will endeavor to make reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals with known disabilities, unless doing so would result in an undue business hardship or a direct threat to the health or safety of any individual.
At Brooks, we celebrate diversity & equity. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment, and encourage people of all backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, and skills to apply.
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