Director of Plant Operations

Automotive Manufacturing


Confidential – Tier 1 Automotive Supplier


Our client seeks an experienced operations leader that will play an integral part in building foundational structures to support manufacturing capabilities. The successful candidate will guide the company’s transformation by taking a hands-on role in implementing standardized operating processes and systems. The Director of Plant Operations will be responsible for the management and day-to-day plant operations. The candidate must have strong situational leadership expertise; possessing the ability to integrate and manage production floor resources effectively while coaching-up cross functional teams to elevate their productivity. An ideal background will be weighted heavily in automotive OEM and/or Tier 1 automotive manufacturing industries within high mix and medium volume production operations. Candidates should be a take-charge, high-energy, hard-working, and humble leader who thrives in a fast-paced environment.

This position reports to the Vice President of Operations and has (8) direct reports.


The Director of Plant Operations will oversee the company’s ongoing operations and plant personnel. The goal of the Director of Plant Operations position is to turnaround the plant’s overall productivity, stabilizing production while driving standardization and optimization. They will act as a catalyst for change with the support of the executive leadership team. The ideal candidate will be trustworthy, respectful, and have integrity. They will embrace and encourage accountability, value teamwork, and be an open and honest communicator. An experienced and resourceful leader, figure-it-out-and-get-it-done mentality, with a track record of excellent people skills, building teams and creating successful operations without the resources and reputation of a large entity.


  • Overall responsibility to ensure product launch objectives, project capital needs and customer requirements are met on time and adhering to strict safety protocols; Responsible for the plant’s performance in manufacturing, customer satisfaction, continuous improvement, quality and delivery of product and maintaining quality and environmental certifications.
  • Passionate about coaching and training plant personnel. Effective at setting, evaluating and inspiring individual and team goals that develop people to promote a positive “get-it-done” culture.
  • Strategic thinker and situational leader; plan, direct, and manage the entire operation, ensuring the development and implementation of efficient operational processes to meet current and future business requirements.
  • Organize and manage the plant Operation/Production teams in order to meet designated targets and objectives, while using them effectively and efficiently. Set clear expectations, design practical processes and procedures that ensure accountability and KPI’s.
  • Create and implement initiatives that drive optimization and improvements in the performance of the overall operations input, throughputs and outputs, focused production planning, scheduling, and execution.
  • Work with managers within the plant to collect and analyze data to find ways to improve overall manufacturing capacity, teaching managers to schedule, plan, organize, direct, and run optimum day-to-day operations that meet or exceed internal expectations.
  • Work with department managers to implement and maintain preventative maintenance programs and incorporate production floor organization and plant cleanliness among all plant personnel.
  • Extensive knowledge of business and management principles (budgeting, production planning, material flow, inventory management, resource allocation and human resource planning).
  • Increase production, asset capacity and flexibility, while minimizing unnecessary costs and maintaining current quality standards.
  • Implement cost-effective systems of control over capital, operating expenditures, manpower, wages, and salaries.
  • Establish and implement short and long-range departmental goals, objectives, policies, and operating procedures for the entire operations/production teams. Monitoring overall plant performance for production and quality standards.
  • Provide direction, development, and leadership for all operational departments; ensure team members roles and responsibilities are clear and understood.
  • Partner with Scheduler and/or Materials Manager to ensure coordination/linking of all schedules and inventories are efficient, effective, and optimized, including source selection.
  • Champion plant safety policies and procedures. Effectively communicate the company Health, Safety and Environmental Policy and Procedures and manage /Executive Safety Committees.
  • Assist in the analysis and interpretation of ERP system information.
  • Encourage open communication at all levels within the organization as well as the customer base.


Leadership and Management:

  • Energize and engage employees through their managers by ensuring they understand and can execute operational fulfillment goals. Must be able to communicate job expectations internally; plan, monitor, appraise, and review job contributions; enforcing policies and procedures.
  • Set monitor, and follow-up on operational and/or performance goals for each department which are aggressive, achievable, and tied to long-term goals ensuring progress is being made.
  • Track and measure productivity by analyzing performance data, financial data, and activity reports; follow-up on operational/production performance goals/KPIs for each department.
  • Ensure all department managers are fully informed of operational objectives. Maintain an operational atmosphere of accountability.
  • Conduct standard meetings with department managers to ensure that priorities are clear, and coordination is good.
  • Solve any inter departmental issues that arise before any problems hamper the daily operations. Facilitate conflict resolution to ensure objective fulfillment and timely   resolution to site specific problems and opportunities.
  • Ensure the operations team has the necessary resources to effectively meet short and long-term goals.
  • Establish and adjust organizational structure so that it supports the business’s objectives.
  • As the key point (face) of management to employees, have good relations and represent management with encouragement and professionalism.


  • 7– 10 years of senior management experience including management position within manufacturing operations.
  • Manufacturing of automotive products such as composites, plastics, class-A injection molded parts.
  • Proven track record as Director of Operations, General Manager, Director of Manufacturing or Plant Manager.
  • Previous experience/best practices implementing and using continuous improvement/lean tools such as Six Sigma, 5-S, Lean Manufacturing, Transactional Lean, etc. to drive improvement.
  • Proven ability in creating accountability at the management level and leading by example.
  • Strong team building, decision-making and people management skills
  • Direct P&L ownership and experience creating and managing budgets.
  • Proven ability to start or stop all production or plant operations, and ability to schedule necessary changes with production, logistics, materials, etc.
  • Broad knowledge of OSHA and workplace health and safety programs.
  • “Own it” mentality, high energy, proactive team player with a contagious desire that inspires the team toward shared goals and purpose.
  • A highly organized, committed, and analytical thinker who is used to substantial autonomy while ensuring that the executive leadership team is engaged.
  • Must be articulate, resourceful, and focused. Must exhibit patience, perseverance, and persuasiveness.
  • Solid understanding of regulatory requirements for operating plants.
  • Knowledgeable of safety, quality, productivity, demand planning, inventory, and resource allocation processes.
  • Minimal travel required.


  • Bachelor’s degree in business, engineering, finance, or management required. MBA highly preferred; or equivalent experience.
If you have these qualifications and are looking for a challenging career, please submit your Resume using the button below.
Eric Hohauser
President & Lead Consultant
Jodi Ellis
Director, Executive Recruitment