Designed with collaboration in mind - from the open plan offices and cutting edge video conferencing facilities to a state-of-the art culinary kitchen - Tate & Lyle's Commercial and Food Innovation center at the Hoffman Estates near Chicago, Illinois, is a practical embodiment of the firm's mission to get closer to its customers.
The 110,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility at the Hoffman Estates near Chicago serves as the global headquarters of Tate & Lyle’s Innovation and Commercial Development (ICD) unit and the North American headquarters of its Speciality Food Ingredients division.
The center - parts of which look more like an art gallery than an office - has three floors containing cutting edge food science research and processing laboratories, applications and technical services laboratories, a culinary demonstration kitchen, a suite of consumer insight and sensory testing facilities, pilot plant and prototype manufacturing facilities, and extensive global communications capabilities enabling staff to hook up with colleagues in other Tate & Lyle facilities or with customers and partners all over the world.
While there are still some staff at Tate & Lyle's old offices in Decatur in southern Illinois and others are still in the process of transferring, most have now moved to Chicago, which makes more sense as a global hub for a business with employees and customers all over the world, says ICD president Karl Kramer.
However, several new roles have also been created as the firm seeks to get closer to its customers, from a pastry chef and culinary chef to a new director of global nutrition and global vice presidents of product management for sucralose, texturants and sweeteners excluding sucralose. A small open innovation team headed by Mike Golembieski has also been created.
The current staff count is around 175 but there is capacity for around 250, says HR VP Bob Ryan.
The building - which Tate & Lyle has leased - was completely gutted and redesigned with collaboration in mind, for a cool $26m. A further $32m was then incurred on restructuring costs.
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