Process Improvement Lead - Manufacturing Systems

  • Livingston, CA
  • Full-time

Company Description

Foster Farms has been a family-owned and operated company for four generations. Since our founding days back in 1939, we have always been committed to providing consumers with the highest-quality, best-tasting poultry products available. The hope is that our commitment to excellence, honesty, quality, service, and our people will shine through in everything we do.

We are always looking for talented individuals to join the Foster Farms team. We offer the experience of a large organization, but operate like a family business. More than half of our job openings are filled by internal promotion, and we encourage employees to gain a variety of experiences across different functional groups.

Job Description


A custom developed manufacturing execution system was designed and developed by Foster Farms’ in-house IT department. This system has been fully implemented in three facilities and partially in seven others. A project is underway to implement this system into all thirteen Foster Farms poultry finished goods manufacturing facilities.

The purpose of this position is to ensure Foster Farms’ Manufacturing systems are fully adopted and utilized, evolved and improved to provide maximum value to the company, and sustainably supported. This includes providing hands-on assistance to the IT project manager with requirements and master data model definition; coordinating and advising the system development team on business processes and requirements; preparing for and conducting user training; development of standard operating procedures with business leaders; overcoming business user obstacles to system adoption; post go-live system, process, and data monitoring; helping the development team fine tune system application and reporting logic post go-live; working with the business leaders and stakeholders to assume system monitoring and support independence post go-live; and working with IT and business personnel throughout the system implementation life cycle to identify business process improvement opportunities through process changes or system enhancements.

This position will be responsible for learning the broad capabilities of Foster Farms’ manufacturing systems already built and implemented as well as Foster Farms’ manufacturing facilities, equipment, personnel, and processes. This position is responsible for supporting software solutions including the master data, configuration, customization, reporting, and related applications.

In short, the purpose of this position is to focus on all user adoption, change management, system capabilities, and sustainable support obstacles both pre and post go-live so that maximum value is delivered by the system in each plant and so the in-house IT development team can focus on the systems development and data conversion activities allowing for a more rapid completion of the systems implementation into all Foster Farms’ poultry finished goods manufacturing facilities.


Makes independent decisions related to training content, structure, and delivery methods; system adoption methods; and support documentation and methods utilized at the various manufacturing facilities. Collaborates with key business stakeholders in the definition and development of key standard operating procedures and user training and reference materials and works with the business to own these items. Collaborates with the IT project management and development team ensuring IT solutions are appropriate and adequate to accommodate business environment including business processes and user base.

This position is fundamentally tasked with assisting the IT project manager and key business stakeholders to determine the optimal balance between system process and application simplification and customization vs. the commensurate in-house IT development and maintenance costs. This analysis should also including balancing between the cost, effectiveness, and sustainability of business provided support and expertise rather than in-house IT provided support and expertise.


Pre Go-Live Business Process and Systems Analysis:

  • Assist project manager and work with the business to analyze, define, and document current (as-is) business processes, inventory visibility capabilities and gaps, track and trace abilities and gaps, and master data models. Coordination with business representatives at all levels including operations, accounting, and product management executives, regional / plant managers, plant superintendents, supervisors, leads, and operators.

· Assist project manager and work with the business to identify and document improved (to-be) processes and master data model definition.

Work with the business leaders to identify business super users who will represent the plant and will also serve as the key plant first line support resources.

Systems Implementation Preparation:

  • Assist project manager in defining, planning, coordinating, executing, and validating project tasks and deliverables.
  • Partner with the business to develop training materials and a training plan. Conduct user training sessions.
  • Help define, document, and execute comprehensive unit and integration testing scenarios.
  • Help define, document, coordinate, execute, and obtain sign-off for user acceptance testing.
  • Partner with the business to develop and document all key standard operating procedures including specific process scenarios and corresponding transactional actions required.
  • Determine required users and authorization and submit to IT security. Coordinate user and user role creation and maintenance.

· Build and sustain knowledge of the system within the business community and help orient new business support team, accounting, and key operations personnel as to system functionality and support processes.

· Build understanding of system and promote capabilities with peripheral groups like Quality Control, Plant Maintenance, Product Management/Planning, Engineering, and Sourcing.

· Assist project manager with producing project summary documents and with updating key IT management, business management, and project steering committee members on project status.

Collect and monitor data portraying the status of deliverables related to key milestones.

Systems Support and Adoption Improvement:

· Work closely with the business and IT project management to improve system adoption and build system knowledge resulting in minimized and sustainable support requirements.

· Work with the business to transition routine monitoring and support responsibilities from IT to business support teams.

· Help define reporting requirements throughout and after each go-live effort.

  • Train business support team and others and transition ownership and maintenance of training and reference materials to appropriate business owners ensuring sustainable and consistent system usage.
  • Work with the business to improve the quality output of manufacturing processes by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes related to assigned system initiatives.
  • Establish the processes to enable continuous efforts to achieve stable and predictable process results related to assigned system initiatives.
  • While transitioning support responsibilities to the business, provide end user support assistance for the Foster Farms Manufacturing systems. This includes troubleshooting, diagnosis, and resolution of end user problems as well identification, documentation, and communication of system bug and enhancement opportunities.

Contribute to ongoing system improvement efforts. This includes collecting requirements from business users, researching available solutions, developing and documenting conceptual design alternatives, communicating effectively conceptual designs, building and configuring prototypes and prototype documentation, communicating to and educating business users, conducting unit testing, conducting and coordinating integration and user acceptance testing, working with security team to ensure appropriate system authorization, preparing comprehensive and thorough training documentation, training subject matter experts, providing post-implementation support efforts interacting regularly with end users, engaging in troubleshooting and root cause analysis of production issues, and providing continuous improvements to all aspects of design and processes.

Systems and Process Improvement:

· Work with the business and IT identifying system and business process improvement opportunities

· Coordinate with senior personnel within accounting and operations to ensure process, business terminology and metrics, and reporting consistency among plants.

· Work with the business to improve the quality output of manufacturing processes by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes specific to systems initiatives assigned.

Establish the processes to enable continuous efforts to achieve stable and predictable process results specific to systems initiatives assigned


Minimum requirements:

1. Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, software engineering, or engineering required.

2. At least 12 years total information technology or manufacturing systems usage and support experience.

3. Extensive experience with manufacturing operations or systems.

4. Basic knowledge of ERP systems.

5. Familiarity and experience working with manufacturing master data (materials, Bills of Material, cost estimates, specifications, routings/recipes) required.

6. Demonstrated project management experience for medium to large-sized projects.

7. Must be highly goal and results oriented.

8. Must be highly self-motivated and driven – must be capable and willing to learn complex systems with minimal supervision. Be capable of learning and fully understanding full capability and configurability of Foster Farms’ manufacturing systems and their integration with ECC SAP.

9. Extensive experience with software/solution support – development of training plans and documentation, conducting user training, working with the business to identify and correct knowledge and business process gaps, and system and user acceptance testing definition and execution.

10. Familiarity in working with, supporting, training, and coordinating efforts with broad disparate groups including operations and accounting.

11. Extensive experience learning, documenting, and analyzing complex business processes.

12. Must possess excellent critical thinking skills and be capable of envisioning creative solutions to complex and challenging business process/system issues.

13. Must be capable of working to a structured work plan with aggressive milestones and have strong problem-solving skills, sound judgment, critical thinking, and decision-making ability.

14. Must possess excellent communication and influencing skills. Must be able to communicate with and influence disparate groups ranging varying levels of operations and accounting management, analysts, clerks, production operators and supervisors, and IT team members. Must be able to identify and influence customers towards holistic win-win solutions and reasonable IT investments.

15. Six Sigma Green Belt certification required.

16. Extensive experience designing, building, testing, implementing, and supporting reports.

17. Highly personally flexible – capable of excelling in a challenging change management environment.


1. Master’s Degree.

2. Moderate knowledge of SAP ECC – particularly the modules / areas most aligned with manufacturing including PP, PP-PI, MM (inventory management), batch management, CO, QM, PM.

3. Expertise in multiple key SAP manufacturing capabilities (MM, CO, PP, PP-PI, APO) a strong plus.

4. Engineering background strongly preferred. Familiarity with business process reengineering, six sigma, lean manufacturing, etc. is strongly desired.

5. Software development experience a plus. Knowledge of MS SQL or other relational database language a strong plus. Experience with SAP MII ideal but not required.

6. 10 years of IT experience working in a manufacturing organization for a $1+ billion organization

7. 10 years experience with Business Systems in SAP/ERP environment

8. 5-10 years experience with SAP manufacturing modules including PP, PP-PI, inventory management, batch management, and product costing.

9. Broad consumer products industry experience strongly preferred.

10. Ability to move up within the organization.

11. Familiarity and experience in Lean Six Sigma initiatives with proven results in process simplification and waste reduction strongly preferred. Black Belt certification highly preferred.


1. Must have reliable transportation

2. Must be able to obtain/have CA driver’s license

3. Must be able to travel over night occasionally

4. Must be able to have consistent attendance in the Livingston, or other assigned Foster Farms’ Office

5. Must be able to sit for long periods of time.

6. Must be able to drive to various company and vendor locations

7. Must be able to work on the computer for long periods of time

8. Must be able to deal with periodic high stress situations

9. Must be able to stay calm and focused when dealing with difficult issues.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

Foster Farms is an Equal Opportunity Employer – Minorities, Females, Veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Foster Farms participates in E-Verify during the hire process at all locations for all new employees.