VP Operations – Industrial Manufacturing – Private Equity – New Executive Search

Vice President Operations  

Private Equity Owned Company
Industrial Products Manufacturer –  Complex Machining & Assembly
Four-Season Outdoor Paradise – Rolling Hills of Southwest Virginia

Company Overview

Our client designs and manufactures highly specialized industrial components for commercial and consumer building applications. The company supplies engineered, machined and assembled products to OEMs and wholesale distributors on six continents in 50+ countries, and maintains market-leading positions in both North America and the Middle East.

Operations had been fully integrated, with world-class machining capabilities that complement high-volume assembly lines. But that is changing, improving, rapidly. Our client launched its Lean transformation just over five years ago and is well down the road of operational excellence across the enterprise in support of customers’ continuous improvement expectations in quality, efficiency, durability, supply, and price.

Transformation to fully self-contained work cell, value stream structure is targeted towards end of next fiscal year.

While competitors continue offshoring to cut costs, our client demonstrates the capabilities and expertise of American manufacturing, winning in the global marketplace with superior products and services provided by experienced, dedicated American workersThus, the company’s renewed focus on significant productivity improvement to delight customers with what they value, achieved through Lean operational excellence principles and practices.

Sustainability is also more than just a buzzword here.  In keeping with its mission to deliver environmentally conscious, energy-efficient products, the company offers a variety of ozone-friendly components, considered the highest performing products in the industry.

In short, our client is committed to product excellence in quality and reliability; their people are dedicated to providing world-class customer service, value, delivery and technical support to their global customers.  Lean thinking and Lean doing. Today, and for the long-run.

Position Overview

Vice President Operations. An exceptionally talented operations executive with demonstrated Lean transformation expertise, who can lead a business of approx. 500 team members (non-union), in a 700k sq. ft. production site, generating approximately $150 million (5%-7% annual growth rate) in sales revenue.  A strong Lean Leader who can lead production and supply chain operations while continuing to drive continuous improvement from an already solid Lean foundation.

The position reports to the company CEO and is responsible for all operations (manufacturing, supply chain and related support) activities and results, at both the strategic and tactical levels including business planning and execution, people development, Lean operational excellence, customer and industry relationships, and community relations.

Our ideal candidate will demonstrate a track record of sustained performance over time in challenging, complex (machining, assembly) operations environments.  We seek an individual committed to building a career for the long-term with this proud and historic brand name American manufacturing company.

We are unable to consider candidates from outside the USA; must currently reside in US. 

Specific Accountabilities 

  • On both strategic and tactical level, develop and maintain manufacturing footprint and supply chain organization to support company’s strategic objectives, profitability and cash flow targets.
  • Drive breakthrough operational performance across the enterprise: increased productivity, reduction of direct and indirect costs, lead-times and inventory, while delivering a quality product complete and on-time to the customer.
  • Lead the company’s on-going Lean transformation, based on strong foundation of Lean knowledge and expertise (standard work, standard management, Kaizen, etc.).
  • Administer company policies and procedures fairly, consistently and with accountability, encouraging associate communication within an open-door policy environment.
  • Represent the company in the community and promote the goodwill and interests of the organization throughout the community.

Position Requirements 

  • You want to undertake a significant challenge. Build and grow on existing Lean operations foundation. Make things happen. You are not faint-of-heart and not half-committed to success.
  • You have demonstrated exceptional creativity, leadership and results in driving a Lean enterprise transformation while in a line operations management role.
  • You understand and demonstrate expertise in building a world-class metrics-driven supply chain team focused on supplier development and excellence in rigorous target cost environment.
  • You are a proven leader who creates energy, lives integrity, leads change, creates a vision, inspires people to achieve goals, develops people, and delivers results.
  • You have extensive industrial experience. Automotive industry background a strong plus.
  • You exhibit a hands-on management style, maintaining a direct link to the production floor and procurement organization, and are comfortable in a flexible, non-bureaucratic structure working collaboratively and effectively with individuals from a variety of departments and positions throughout the entire company.
  • You like the idea of working for a company which is both global in reach and yet local in operations and infrastructure.
  • You enjoy and thrive in a smaller-town, semi-rural lifestyle, centered on family and community values and spirit.

Commitment to Lean

Our client has been on its Lean journey for almost six years. Much has been done and today’s Lean foundation is a strong one. Our new VP Operations will continue to lead the company’s relentless pursuit of Lean improvement. He or she will have plenty of support in that quest.

  • The company’s equity owners made their substantial ownership investment in 2012 and publicly declared that “Our vision for the company is to build upon its successes and to support its spirit of continuous improvement in all of its endeavors.”
  • The company’s Chairman is a seasoned global Lean executive who earlier in his career drove numerous Lean initiatives at the operating and P&L levels with Delphi
  • The company’s CEO is also a seasoned automotive and industrial products executive who previously led one of his companies to win the Shingo Prize.
  • The company’s existing senior leadership team, including its VP Finance, SVP Sales & Marketing, VP Quality & Reliability and Director, Human Resources, have already demonstrated their support and become active partners in promoting Lean thinking throughout the organization.

Lifestyle & Location 

Our client’s manufacturing and headquarters site is in a small town that straddles the Virginia-Tennessee state line in an elevated region just a short distance from the Great Smoky Mountains and not far from the Cherokee National Forest, where the wildflowers and scenic vistas are simply awesome.  In this part of Virginia, the mountains, rolling hills and tranquil lakes converge, in one very accessible location.

While others may await weekends to “get away from it all” you’ll be tempted daily with the aromas of culinary delights, relaxing soft strains of old-time country music, and even the roar of  hard-driving race cars at one of America’s most elite NASCAR venues.   As the tourist brochures proudly proclaim:

“Here, you can tour a cavern where Indians once lived or a place where the first sounds of country music were heard…”

Visit “a main street where contemporary boutiques reside next to antique shops and a landscape where you can immerse yourself in culture, history and natural beauty.”

“Pick fresh produce from the garden of a local farmer or see a Broadway production. Learn about the history behind the birthplace of country music, or enjoy a local band in the warm evening air.”  

For more information, or to express your personal interest, please contact:  

Adam Zak
The Lean Executive Recruiter
Adam Zak Executive Search
Tel. +1 239.302.3344

We retained Adam Zak to conduct a critical Senior Vice President of Manufacturing Operations search for our company. Not only did he recruit a top-flight individual into the firm, but he also delivered on what he promised. He was diligent in the process, stayed in communication, and was, as his candidates, always prepared.

– Christopher Gleeson, Chairman, GenMark Diagnostics, Inc. and former President & CEO,
Ventana Medical Systems

Simple Excellence

Adam Zak is CEO of Adam Zak Executive Search and co-author of Simple Excellence.

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I write about leadership in Lean - continuous improvement and continuous innovation - in operations and operational excellence. Oh, and recruiting and getting recruited for executive level career opportunities.
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Adam Zak. The Lean Executive Recruiter.
Your trusted partner in recruiting exceptionally talented Lean executive leaders.