New Opportunity: Director of Operational Excellence at Warn Automotive

About the Company

Warn Automotive’s mission is to deliver safety, freedom, and adventure by innovating and collaboratively building the world’s most efficient 4WD and AWD systems.  Our customers range from startup electric OEM’s to the world’s largest automotive OEM’s.  Products include basic mechanical and sophisticated electronic solutions, all integral parts in sought after platforms.  Warn Automotive, is headquartered and manufactures products in Portland, OR with a presence in Detroit, MI through our Tech Center.  New technology and vehicle platform wins are growing and driving significant investment in the business.  It is a very exciting time at Warn Automotive and our dedicated team of employees are passionate about succeeding.  We are looking for the right experienced executive to be part of our transformation, drive successful change across operations, and lead our team in a way that encourages the highest performance. 

Dover’s Vehicle Service Group (VSG) is the global leader in vehicle service equipment. It is one of the founding companies of Dover Corporation, an eight billion dollar diversified global manufacturer. VSG consists of fifteen leading vehicle lifting (Rotary, Forward, Blitz, Ravaglioli etc.), collision repair (Chief), wheel services, diagnostics (Butler, Rotary, Chief and Ravaglioli) and tier-one automotive brands (Warn Automotive) with operations worldwide, including regional business operation centers and large manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

About the Role

The Director of Operational Excellence (OPEX) will establish, oversee, and manage the Warn Quality, Manufacturing Engineering, Maintenance, and Continuous Improvement programs.  They will provide leadership to establish and maintain quality levels that meet and exceed customer expectations. The Director of OPEX will implement and maintain a statistical based quality system, develop and maintain quality systems in compliance with IATF and ISO standards, and maintain supplier quality relationships.  The Director of OPEX will drive implementation of Warn Automotive’s Continuous Improvement initiatives, drive manufacturing engineering improvements to achieve safety and productivity gains and use them to drive overall improvements to the business.  Additionally, the Director of OPEX will ensure all equipment is maintained and operating at the highest level of performance, complete with a spare parts program and fully trained and qualified maintenance staff.

Essential Functions

  • Determining the overall quality and continuous improvement strategy to align with Warn Automotive’s and VSG’s overall strategic plan.
  • Build strong quality systems for determining the appropriate infrastructure and resources required to achieve business objectives.
  • Ensures internal processes and metrics are aligned to create highest product quality and competitive advantage.
  • Provide leadership and guidance to ensure proper interface of the quality/CI function to manufacturing, engineering, sales, and customer contacts.
  • Design develop and drive utilization of appropriate lean tools and champion general continuous.
  • improvement initiatives to improve overall business performance as measured by productivity, and quality trends to include external audit results.
  • Develop and implement standard work for all manufacturing operations. Foster strong relationships with Warn Automotive’s customers and vendors and effectively relates the quality function to the business.
  • Act as management representative for IATF and ISO requirements.
  • Coordinate and maintain a quality system in compliance with IATF and ISO.
  • Implement and maintain the necessary programs to support the Corporate Quality Policy, the Quality System, and the CI initiatives.
  • Coordinate investigations of internal and external customer quality issues to insure timely closed loop corrective actions and reports as required.
  • Organize the quality department, approving plans and expenditures necessary to achieve objectives.
  • Support supplier quality programs; conduct supplier audits as needed to meet objectives.
  • Drive efforts to reduce COPQ (cost of poor quality).
  • Drive improvements in other key metrics such as warranty, R/1000, scrap, and rework.
  • Partners with the other business functions to create and direct programs to ensure the quality of the product.
  • Establish a World Class Maintenance Program utilizing TPM methodologies to drive MTBF, MTTR, and OEE performance.
  • Establish a long-term capital plan for both facilities and operations.
  • Develop long-term productivity plan utilizing Manufacturing Engineering resources to achieve Safety, Quality, Delivery, and Cost improvements.
  • Provide training and leadership and act as a change agent while representing a positive and enthusiastic role model to ensure high engagement across the team.
  • Responsible for development, implementation, maintenance and delivery of training materials.

Required Education and/or Experience

  • Bachelor’s Degree, preferably in Engineering or Management Science or in a related field.
  • Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt certification preferred.
  • Minimum five to ten years of quality management experience, which includes experience in Quality Systems.  Experience with Quality Assurance (QA) administration, QA Engineering, QA Audit.  Inspection and test experience within manufacturing.  Direct experience with IATF is highly desirable.
  • Prior experience leading manufacturing operations with demonstrated improvements.

Required Qualifications, Skills and Abilities

  • Strong leadership skills and extraordinary people management skills, with an excellent understanding of the quality process and manufacturing operations to keep the company a step ahead of their competitors.
  • Strong collaborative work ethic and ability to build and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues, customers and vendors.
  • Outstanding analytical and problem-solving skills and a high tolerance for ambiguity.  Excellent communication, interpersonal and customer service skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and conflict resolution skills including ability to work efficiently in a fast-paced work environment while maintaining a calm, rational and respectful demeanor and communication style in times of stress occasioned by work demands, tight timelines, heavy production expectations, unexpected quality control issues, and other work-related issues or concerns that may cause a heightened level of anxiety, frustration, anger, disappointment, confusion, etc.
  • Lean and Six Sigma implementation experience in functional and manufacturing related projects and processes.
  • Demonstrated successful performance in business planning, resource management and CI processes.
  • Extensive project management, team facilitation and leadership of Lean and Six Sigma tools, methods and concepts at the Blackbelt level is required.
  • Process industry experience required.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively teach, mentor and coach Lean Six Sigma practitioners to achieve business results through Six Sigma projects.
  • Well-reasoned decision making with a high attention to detail regarding organization, planning, work flow, and project prioritization to ensure tasks are completed efficiently and accurately.
  • Highly ethical, self-motivated individual with ability to work independently and/or with limited direction, as well as cooperatively in a team environment, while consistently demonstrating collaborative, respectful and productive work habits.  Promotes these same attributes in subordinates, business partners and vendors.
  • Must have career history characterized by strong employers operating in growth environments; stability in employment and success in assignments.

Interested in Learning More?

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


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