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Material Planner, ekaterra

Supply Chain
Suffolk, VA

This is a temporary contract position

About ekaterra

ekaterra is the biggest tea business in the world, with world class purpose driven brands such as Lipton, PG Tips and Pukka. eka stands for unity and one purpose while terra stands for earth and nature. As ekaterra we are united in one purpose: growing a world of wellbeing through the regenerative power of plants.

Present in more than 100 countries, ekaterra generated revenues of €2 billion in 2019, whilst part of Unilever. With 11 production factories in four continents and tea growing estates in three countries, ekaterra is a profitable and growing business offering a world of wellbeing with the regenerative power of plants to hundreds of millions of consumers. Recently Unilever announced that it had agreed to sell ekaterra to CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII. As a standalone entity, ekaterra is even better positioned to lead the industry with dedicated focus driving greater growth and value.

Under CVC’s ownership, ekaterra has an exciting future ahead with opportunities for increased investments in our brands, our people and our capabilities. Combining the strength and scale of its global iconic brands with speed and agility, ekaterra is brewing a ‘corporate start-up’ mindset that’s opening-up new opportunities to flourish every day – both for its business, and its people.

At ekaterra, we work alongside people who put consumer love at the heart of every decision. Diverse minds who celebrate new ideas, share our values and the commitment we have for the wellbeing of all. In return, we create an environment that gives our people space and freedom, where they can grow as leaders. A connected community where ideas can thrive. Where you explore new challenges. Learning all you need to master your field, and even more about yourself.

Be part of this amazing blend. Join our collective and help us grow a better world of wellbeing and a better you.

Background & Purpose of the Job

The primary purpose of this position is to manage the sourcing of raw and packaging materials into Suffolk to support the production of finished goods for the Tea category, perform expediting and de-expediting of raw and packaging materials to support the plant production schedule and customer service while optimizing inventory levels. This will require working with procurement and suppliers to improve vendor reliability and responsiveness.

This position acts as a focal point in managing the MRP process, key step within the E2E Supply Chain Planning pillar.  The key metrics of this role are 1) Customer Service 2) Waste reduction 3) Materials inventory management.

The main job responsibilities are the following:

  • Evaluate material requirements based on system generated MRP and requisition materials accordingly. 

  • Expedite and de-expedite raw and package materials to support and maintain a flexible production schedule while communicating with Business Units and support departments to achieve customer satisfaction.

  • Monitor raw and package inventory to achieve continuous improvement in inventory optimization. Maintain and utilize inventory models.

  • Interface with Procurement, Supply Chain Planning, Suppliers, R&D, Logistics.

  • Maintain Bills of Material, material master data, factory invoices and internal KPI’s.

  • Apply World Class Manufacturing principals to identify major loss areas and facilitate process improvement.

Who You Are & What You’ll Do

You’re a born leader: Influencing a group of practitioners to take action and change behaviors even though you do not have direct authority over them

You’re a strategy guru: Support functional team improvement efforts in driving minimal inventory positions, optimal component consumption, optimal data feed between systems, and overall improvement in Material Planning KPIs. 

You love to win, and have fun doing it: Define and help enforce system best practices.  This is done through a combination of gap analysis, audits, community of practice reviews, & escalation to Sr management as necessary.

You’re a teacher: Provide “how to” and onboarding training to material planning.  Training will range from developing OPL’s (One-point lessons) to providing Instructor-Led classroom sessions on system operation.

You’re a changemaker: Identify process or system innovation opportunities with SAP or other materials management software.  Work with GPE (Global Plan Excellence) office to define/implement system change requests.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

Position requires a high degree of understanding of material planning and SAP ECC, APO and Sales Force.  Being able to balance objectives of different teams that are sometimes at tension with each other and influencing a group of practitioners to change behaviors even though you do not have direct authority over them will be critical to success.    

  • Bachelor’s degree with focus in an analytical discipline required (e.g. Logistics, applied sciences, computer science, math, statistics, economics, engineering, etc.). Advanced degree a plus.

  • A minimum of 3 – 4 years’ experience in supply chain with at least 2 – 3 years in material requirements planning. 

  • Knowledge of SAP ECC a must.  

  • Understanding of data-mining techniques and statistical methods a plus.  

  • SAP Certification a plus.

The qualities we look for

ekaterra is made up of a special blend of individuals which make our teams exciting and diverse. To be part of our blend we are looking for individuals who think Green and are environmentally conscious, who understand the power of simplicity and who are accountable for their actions. We want those who infuse mastery and passion in everything they do to create great products and unforgettable experiences for our consumers.

What’s in it for you

We believe that growth is for everyone, we believe in growing leaders, and we believe in making space to grow an owner’s mentality. Like nature, we adapt, we change and we grow. We believe in connections over hierarchies and work levels. We have a 'corporate start-up' approach; we act with speed and agility, and we have the strength and scale of a large corporation. We are building a better world of wellbeing, and a better you.

For office-based, Research & Development, and remote positions, proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to be eligible for employment. Religious and/or medical accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Unilever is an organization committed to diversity and inclusion to drive our business results and create a better future every day for our diverse employees, global consumers, partners, and communities. We believe a diverse workforce allows us to match our growth ambitions and drive inclusion across the business. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, or protected veteran status and will not be discriminated against on the basis of disability.  For more information, please seeEqual Employment Opportunity Posters

Employment is subject to verification of pre-screening tests, which may include drug screening, background check, credit check and DMV check.

If you are an individual with a disability in need of assistance at any time during our recruitment process, please contact us at NA.Accommodations@unilever.com. Please note: This email is reserved for individuals with disabilities in need of assistance and is not a means of inquiry about positions or application statuses.

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