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60-second interview: The day job

What do you do? Simon King, Eagle Product Inspection?

By Jenny Eagle+

15-Apr-2014

Simon King
Simon King

As part of FoodProductionDaily’s ongoing series of 60-second interviews with the movers and shakers of the food and beverage industry, we caught up with Simon King, global head sales, service and marketing, Eagle Product Inspection.

Eagle product inspection is part of the Mettler Toledo Group and King is based in the UK.

Tell us about your current role
I focus on expanding the scope and scale of the business, including the development of new markets, products and services and Eagle’s organizational capabilities. This involves establishing Eagle’s presence in new markets around the world, for example our new operation in China and the expansion of our network of partners throughout the US. 

Additionally, I head up our portfolio development by understanding customer needs and translating these into business cases which then lead to product development programs. For example, we are currently introducing several new x-ray systems as a result of feedback from our customers and channel partners. 

How did you get into this industry?
I spent many years in the product identification industry with Domino Printing Sciences and held a number of global roles, from managing distributors and establishing subsidiaries across Asia and running the company’s Japanese operations, before moving into divisional leadership roles for digital printing technologies and system integration services for track & trace business solutions. I then transferred to the defence industry for a few years where I worked in the electro optic systems integration arena, dealing with advanced target acquisition and surveillance technologies. I came to Eagle as Mettler Toledo was looking to invest and grow the business as an independent brand within their global operations.

What do you like about your job?
We operate in a growth industry as product inspection becomes more prevalent to organizations around the world. Eagle has a huge, latent growth opportunity that we are now starting to realize. The x-ray technologies that form the basis of Eagle’s product portfolio are derived from the security industry and offer a number of advantages. The meat industry is a good example; where our ability to differentiate fat to lean ratio’s accurately, offers customers the opportunity to drive real improvements to their bottom line. This moves beyond a compliance, or brand protection measure, but starts to deliver real value and ROI to our customers businesses.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Ensuring we invest in the right areas and balance our resources against the opportunities that we have. Our problem is that we identify so much that we can do, but we have to prioritize. We simply cannot do it all at once and we need to plan, organize our resources and phase in our projects so that we do not over commit and fail to deliver.

The hardest part of the job is turning away what appear to be exciting ventures, new technologies or applications that will consume excessive resources for perhaps limited gain, although they may spark the imagination at the time.

What advice would you give to someone interested in a job in your field?
Product Inspection is a growth industry. If anyone is interested I suggest they familiarize themselves with the technologies and trends within this market. There are multiple industry references and publications which can assist build knowledge in this area. Talk to the major operators (often an exhibition is an ideal opportunity) and see what their views are and gain an understanding of their business approach. It also helps to be interested in technology and to find the thought of being involved with the manufacturing industry, particularly the food & beverage industry, to be of interest.

What trends do you see emerging over the next few years?
Product Inspection technology capabilities are extending beyond pure contaminant detection and brand protection, to act as integral traceability and production management solutions – delivering increasing value and ROI to the end customer.

Tell us about an emerging market for you
Our Chinese business is set to grow strongly after establishing an office mid-way through 2013 and now building out a network of channel partners across the country. Also, although it may seem a little odd as Eagle is based in the US, this market represents strong growth for the company as we work with a network of capable partners across the region.

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