• Manager of Sampling & Merchandising

    Job Locations US-WI-MIDDLETON
    Requisition ID
    # of Positions
  • Description


    Job Summary

    The Sampling & Merchandising Manager will lead all efforts to deliver sampling and digital swatching to the organization on time while working to control costs and manage all projects within budget. The Sampling & Merchandising Manager will oversee all areas related to sample books and other merchandising collateral, digital swatching, and fulfillment. The Sampling & Merchanting Manager will own and enforce processes to facilitate efficient workflow and production, and also be responsible for communicating the progress of key projects to the organization.


    Job Duties

    1. Collaborate cross-functionally to define objectives and deliver best-in-industry sampling and merchandising materials

    * Help Product Managers understand the sample book implications of their assortment.

    * Hold cross-functional team members accountable for the accuracy of the sample book information provided.

    * Hold cross-functional team members accountable for providing the information and materials needed for sample books on time.

    * Facilitate defining the objectives and content of the sample book.

    * Be accountable for the quantity of sample books and the specs that impact cost.

    * Ensure team members understand the financial implications of their decisions.

    2. Optimize sourcing: Quality, cost, service, support

    * Ensure quotes are sent to vendors on time and prototypes are received on time.

    * Ensure information to order sample book material is available, permission is obtained and sample book materials are ordered on time; assist with material calculation for sampling and swatching as necessary.

    * Ensure material swatch master is provided to the sample book vendor on time.

    3. Ensure brand consistency

    * Ensure branded books have a consistent look and size.

    * Work with the Creative Manager and Channel Marketing to ensure sampling and merchandising materials represent and position SWF brands appropriately.

    4. Oversee benchmarking and market research activities

    * Ensure benchmarking of competitor / peer sample books and swatching is completed in a timely manner: assess construction, quality, cost, functionality, features, etc.

    * Ensure benchmarking of adjacent products / channels for new ideas to reduce investment, increase effectiveness, decrease lead time is done as needed.

    * Work with Channel Managers to get feedback on effectiveness for continued product improvement.

    * Coordinate with market research firms to validate design concepts

    5. Own process and process improvement

    * Effective management of all resources, inputs, outputs and timing for total project, total lifecycle of a sample book and/or merchandising program.

    * Oversee the material collection and inspection to ensure the correct materials get to the sample book vendor on-time – create a process map to drive efficiency and effectiveness of this process.

    * Create a more formal sampling change order process to ensure decisions to change are thought through, financial implications are considered, and changes are communicated to the team.

    * Develop, implement and enforce a process to ensure any changes to the sample book assortment is agreed to and communicated appropriately; including to associates responsible for consumer / digital swatching.

    * Develop, implement and enforce a process to communicate and execute digital swatching needs, including a process to have any new fabric swatches scanned for our websites and microsites on time.

    6. Budget and schedule / project time lines

    * Collaborate with Channel Managers on the development of the MCAST/Project Planning budget for sample books.

    * Ensure sample books and consumer / digital swatching are developed on time and within budget.

    * Oversee timing and completion creative briefs, sample book concept, sample book thumbnails and obtaining white book.

    * Ensure artwork for sample books is completed on time, allowing time for copywriting, proofing and translations.

    * Collaborate with Product and Channel Managers on individual project schedules; ensure alignment with program launch NPD schedule, including sampling, displays and electronic swatch scans.

    * Find ways to pull time out of standard sample book schedule, decrease overall lead time.

    7. Own cross-functional communication

    * Communicate sample book and consumer / digital swatching schedules to cross-functional team members, as well as any other appropriate project details / changes.

    * Responsible to communicate progress of key NPD sampling projects to the organization, including appropriate SLT members, i.e. critical sample book launches.

    * Responsible for effective and timely communication with transportation to ensure merchandising produced overseas is tracked appropriately and arrives on schedule.

    8. Lead and manage teams

    * Manage team of Integrated Marketing sampling and fulfillment associates

    * Lead cross-functional project teams: Channel, Product Management, Integrated Marketing, Purchasing, P&IC, etc. Define minimum expectations for each member of the sampling / digital swatching team, confirm these expectations with their manager.

    * The purchasing agent and P&IC coordinators responsible for sample books and digital swatching would have dotted line responsibility to the Sampling & Merchandising Manager.

    9. Quality

    * Establish standards and metrics, measure performance, provide feedback.

    * Communicate field input to internal associates and suppliers; collect input for product / process improvement.

    * Utilizes quality/process tools and methodology in daily individual work.

    * Utilizes quality/process tools and methodology on teams.

    * Defines and documents individual processes within sphere of control.

    * Ensures that others are trained as back-ups on (processes) within the area/department.

    * Improves processes within sphere of control.

    * Identifies waste and rework and enacts plan to improve/solve.

    * Checks satisfaction of internal customers through use of quality tools and Customer/Supplier metrics.



    Education and Experience

    * Bachelor’s degree required; Industrial or Packaging Design with business emphasis, Merchandising, Marketing or Business education preferred with 5-10 years of experience.

    * Experience with designing or managing the design of 3-dimensional / structural design for product sampling, POP merchandising and displays is required.

    * Experience in home décor or custom consumer products preferred.

    * Experience managing capital budgets preferred.



    Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

    * In-depth knowledge of printing technologies, papers, plastics, substrates, glues, and manufacturing technologies used for creating merchandising materials is required.

    * Excellent communication skills for internal teams, internal customers, external suppliers of materials, vendors for sample books and swatching.

    * Must have the ability to effectively lead and coach others, even if they’re not direct reports.

    * Must be a proactive problem solver; not afraid to jump into the details of an issue.

    * Organized work habits, familiar with office automation products, i.e. Lotus Notes, Microsoft Office (including MS Project).

    * Must have the ability to work collaboratively with a wide range of associates from various disciplines.

    * Must conduct themselves professionally; frequent contact with vendor partners and customers.

    * Must have an analytical approach towards the business; ability to track project tasks and performance to budget.

    * Must have the aptitude to manage multiple projects at the same time.


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