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Posted March 17, 2023

Advantage Group is seeking a quality-driven and client-focused Program and Operations Manager in South Africa.

What Matters to Us

Over thirty years ago, in Toronto, Canada, Founder Ron Pirie championed the belief that businesses work better together when they commit to actively listening and responding to each other’s feedback. Ron’s original idea to have retailers rate and rank their suppliers was first conceptualized in 1988. Not long after, fast-moving consumer goods suppliers and retailers throughout North America began to recognize that strong and measurable relationships lie at the heart of improved business performance. From humble beginnings and a staunch and universal belief that stronger collaboration leads to better business results in any market and any industry, our relationship benchmarking capabilities have become the gold standard for measuring business-to-business engagement in over 40+ countries.

The South African business is on a growth journey building its core program, custom research and advisory capabilities. The growth path includes expansion into EA, NA, CA and WA, along with opportunities in Professional Services, Telco and Pharma Sectors. Our clients include leading local and international FMCG brands, Distributors and Retailers. We are passionate about data, analytics, insights and business transformation. The ideal candidate is someone who is a stickler for detail, loves working with data and managing detailed programs, operations, and engaging with multiple stakeholders across large organisations in South Africa.

Who We’re Seeking to Join Our Team

The successful candidate ideally holds 3-5 years of experience in a project management, operations or analyst role, with some exposure to client service and an aptitude for succeeding in a flexible work position. Highly-capability candidates with less experience will be considered. Experience with or knowledge of the South African FMCG and grocery industry is considered a bonus. This role is 60% Program Management, 20% Analyst and report creating and 20% client engagement.

What Success Looks Like in this Role

The Program Manager will support the architecture design and delivery of key Advantage programs in the South African business. You will help to manage our annual research programs through the key stages of program specifications, fieldwork, market participation, report production and insight delivery. Advantage Group International is a global business and the Program Manager, reporting to the Program Director SA, will also work closely with colleagues in our global office in Toronto, the Euro/Africa region and other markets.

Note: This is a growth role, master the complexity of the data and clients, and grow into leading the program and operations of a program in its entirety in SA and other African markets.

Where You’ll be Located

This role is home office based.  Expected travel is minimal:

  1. Occasional meeting with clients in the US may be required.
  2. Occasional meetings at Toronto Head Office
  3. Use of Video Conference is frequent

Program and Field Management

  • Ensures that the Advantage programs are run on schedule and fit within the overall company-wide strategic goals to deliver high quality added-value insight.
  • Oversees qualitative research aspects of the program.
  • Collaborates with the Program and Operations Director and the Program Management team in Toronto on the preparation and verification of data processing and reporting specifications, and in assuring the integrity and quality of the data.
  • Communicates with suppliers and retailers in follow-ups by phone, virtual connects, and/or email to ensure fieldwork is managed to the right quality and meets key milestone Reviews ratings received to ensure the quality of the data, response rates, and coverage are tracked and targets achieved.
  • Compiles supplier and retailer intelligence from different data sources.
  • Gathers research requirements from Suppliers and Retailers; ensuring that they are captured in the program set-up and specification.
  • Monitors survey response and coverage and makes critical decisions to correct gaps and ensure fieldwork meets key milestones.

Insights and Client-Service Support

  • Collaborates with the Managing Director and Program and Operations Director to ensure the delivery of insightful reports that are closely aligned with Supplier and Retailer business needs.
  • Effectively identifies the story behind the data and clearly communicates insights and findings.
  • Assists with internal or external presentation of insights where required.
  • Supports the Market Leader in servicing client relationships to build trust through focus on what matters to them, communicating effectively, proactively helping them, and responding with a great sense of urgency and accuracy for their day to day needs.

Where You’ll be Located

This role is initially to be home office based. Expected travel is low to moderate but may be higher at peak times of the year:

  1. Meetings with and presentations to senior retailer and supplier clients in the African region may be required
  2. Occasional meetings at our Global office in Toronto may be required
  3. Use of VC, telephone, or teleconference frequently (digital communication acumen is needed)
  4. Attending select in-office workdays may also be required

What We’re Looking For

  • Tertiary Qualification, minimum of relevant undergraduate University degree
  • 3-5+ years of relevant operations, project management, research, or data analysis
  • Strong organisational, program management and communication skills needed, with the ability to engage with multiple stakeholders from Leadership, Sales, Finance & Procurement, at clients. And with multilevel stakeholders and business partners supporting the program design and implementation internally.
  • Strong proficiency with Microsoft Office suite, particularly MS Excel and PowerPoint
  • Experience with Tableau or other BI tools is considered an asset
  • Proven ability to communicate in English (verbal and written)
  • Interest in the data, insights and FMCG, General Merchandise, Liquor and Retail sectors a plus
  • Desire to grow with the business and develop your role

The Capabilities and Skills that Matter

  • Numeracy and a keen eye for detail and a level of comfort with data analysis
  • Outstanding initiative with a “can-do” attitude
  • Ability to communicate effectively internally and with client contacts at all levels
  • Ability to reliably work with limited supervision and a high sense of urgency

The Competencies We Value

Advantage has identified the following set of competencies that successful managers, are expected to demonstrate and develop in the role over time. Most of these will apply to the Program Manager role.

  1. Decision Making and Critical Thinking

Making good and timely decisions that keep the organisation moving forward; ability to accurately analyse situations and reach productive decisions based on informed judgment.

2. Teamwork

Knowledge of the necessity and value of teamwork; experience of and ability to participate effectively as part of a team.

3. Accuracy and Attention to Detail

Understanding the value of accuracy and attention to detail; the ability to process information with high levels of accuracy.

4. Effective Communication

Understanding and applying effective communications concepts, tools, and techniques. The ability to effectively transmit, receive, and interpret ideas, information, and needs through the application of appropriate communication behaviours.

5. Results Orientation

Understanding of the importance of meeting or exceeding established targets and ability to drive critical activities to completion.

6. Accountability

Holding self and others accountable to meet commitments.

7. Flexibility and Adaptability

Dealing with changes and adapting to a changing environment.

8. Managing Multiple Priorities

The ability to manage multiple concurrent objectives, projects, groups, or activities, making effective judgments about prioritising and time allocation.

9. Helping Others Succeed

Supporting others to improve performance and meet career and organisation’s goals; and the ability to motivate individuals and teams both internally and externally with clients.

10. Client Leadership and Market knowledge

Builds strong internal and external client relationships and delivers client centric solutions. Possesses a strong understanding of the market environment and dynamics.

Advantage offers an attractive salary package with fringe benefits. This is position at entry level or mid-management level.

Interested candidates please submit a Cover Letter and CV to our Human Resources Team at and CC our Program and Operations Director (SA)

We thank all applicants, but only those with relevant qualifications will be contacted.