New Opportunity: VP of Supply Chain at SawStop


SawStop is a technology-differentiated company that has become the world leader in premium table saws and accessories. SawStop’s saws are equipped Active Injury Mitigation (AIM), a technology the company pioneered. AIM detects contact between the user and the blade and deploys a brake to stop the blade in less than 5 milliseconds, avoiding serious injury.

SawStop’s AIM technology was invented by Steve Gass, a lifelong woodworker with a Ph.D. in physics. Dr. Gass, along with three colleagues, founded SawStop in 2000 to commercialize the technology. Working from Dr. Gass’ barn/shop, the founders created a new table saw incorporating AIM technology as well as many other improvements. That saw was an immediate success when released in late 2004 and the company has since essentially taken over the industrial table saw market. SawStop now has over 120,000 saws in the field and has documentation of over 5,000 fingers saved by SawStop saws.

SawStop was founded by patent attorneys with backgrounds in science and engineering. The company has received over 100 US and foreign patents to date and continues to file and enforce new patents on the inventions created through its ongoing R&D. SawStop focuses on premium quality woodworking products with an emphasis on safety. The company is uniquely positioned to grow, redoubling its focus on product innovation and industry leading quality.

In July 2017, a family-owned German power tool company, TTS Tooltechnic Systems, purchased SawStop. TTS was founded in 1925 and is respected around the world for their innovation, quality, and gold-standard market position. TTS (and their largest company, Festool) has a long and proven record of precision high-tech products. SawStop and Festool each focus on premier products in their respective markets and have minimal product overlap.

SawStop’s history has taken it from humble beginnings to North American dominance. SawStop has achieved this success quickly by creating market differentiation through better design and safer technology. By joining TTS, SawStop now has the ability to significantly expand market reach and product scope going forward.


The VP will be responsible for developing and implementing a supply chain management and sourcing strategy. He or she will bring proven experience supporting a product throughout its entire product lifecycle, ensuring design decisions contribute to a robust, reliable, and cost-effective supply chain. Additionally, he or she will work with technology roadmaps, scout, evaluate and select suppliers, conduct cost and lead time analysis, build supplier relationships, negotiate commercial agreements, validate product requirements, mitigate risk, and implement lean methodologies.


In order to increase capabilities, mitigate risk and realize cost savings, SawStop must immediately improve our Supply Chain core competencies, with attention toward Sourcing stability, Cost optimization and Quality process improvements.


SawStop will add a new executive role titled Vice President of Supply Chain. This role will be responsible for Cost, Sourcing, Asia Procurement, and Quality.

The ideal candidate will have a strong background in Asian sourcing and technical proficiencies. They will also operate as lead negotiator for SawStop companywide contracts in excess of $50,000.


Supporting Our Five-Year Plan:
SawStop’s five-year plan lays out customer needs and correlated products for the coming three years. SawStop will finish the 2023/24 product roadmap in early 2020. Within the next two years, new suppliers must be selected for the next generation of product introductions. Simultaneously we must improve our position with the existing supply chain and prepare for growth.

New Best Practices:

  • Align the Supply Chain
    • Communicate SawStop business objectives and perceived risk/rewards with all stakeholders.
    • Build incentives and penalties to equitably share of costs, risks and rewards across supply chain.
  • Understand the Supply Chain
    • Build profiles on all suppliers and sub-suppliers, understanding their processes and risks.
    • Competitor supply chains
    • China Opportunities
    • Risk Assessment and Mitigation

Short & Mid-Term Opportunities:

  • Build Five Year supply chain strategic plan and initiatives:
    • Product availability
    • New supply chains for new products
    • Cost reduction
    • Initial quality improvements
    • Working capital management
  • Lean Supply Chain—Find efficiencies in:
    • System complexity
    • Lead times
    • Inventory
    • Labor
    • Packaging
    • Energy
  • Focus on total fulfillment costs

Long-Term Opportunities:

  • Horizontal Supply Chain Integrations
  • Vertical Supply Chain Integrations
  • Drive Supply Chain Internal Improvements

Out of Scope / Non-“Fit” Disciplines:

  • “Pull” Inventory Management
  • Integrated Chain Performance Management


  • Develop and drive the supply chain management strategy.
  • Develop strategic plans and policies to achieve strong supplier relationships to assure consistent supply and enhance company profitability.
  • Provide accountability and support to the management team.
  • Provide recommendations regarding technology and supplier selection and qualification, supplier risk mitigation plan, and more.
  • Plan, budget and maintain costs for Supply Chain.
  • Develop supply chain plan for all new platform/products, and guide from NPI to volume production.
  • Motivate staff and provide technical direction and guidance, as well as hands-on project management.
  • Forecast demands to increase efficiency and reduce inventory costs while delivering stable customer supply.
  • Implement quality management procedures.
  • Focus on meeting and exceeding customer requirements.
  • Ensure competitiveness in supply terms and conditions.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Business Management, Engineering or related discipline.
  • 10+ years of progressive experience in Taiwan and/or China supply chain management & advanced sourcing.
  • Strong technical background with demonstrated engineering collaboration and support.
  • Minimum of 5 years of leadership or supervisory experience.
  • Excellent organizational, leadership, motivational, analytical problem solving and strategic thinking skills.
  • Strong change management skills and experience.
  • Ability to identify creative ways to reduce cost by streamlining processes and systems.
  • Demonstrated negotiation and management leadership skills.
  • Must have working knowledge of facilities, equipment, operations and management.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Must be able to work in a fast-paced environment with dynamic priorities and demands.


  • Working fluency in Mandarin Chinese / Taiwanese Mandarin.
  • MBA or similar.


180one is a retained search firm and has been engaged by SawStop to manage this search. If interested in learning more about the opportunity, please contact Kim Barnes at 180one.

Head on over to our Placements/Opportunities page to see what else we’ve been working on!