Operations Director

Aerospace & Defence


South Wales


Up to £100K, bonus, car allowance, share options & benefits


Our client, part of a highly successful international parent has been at the forefront of design, manufacturing and technology for an innovative range of products to worldwide customers within the demanding Aerospace and Defence sectors.


As a result of rapid growth and contract wins, they are seeking an experienced Operations Director who will be responsible for the overall direction and effectiveness of the Manufacturing Operation, which encompasses all production, quality, production engineering, procurement, health & safety, facilities and associated environmental management.


Reporting to the President and Managing Director, you assume responsibility for ensuring the KPI targets for OTD, Quality and Costs are adhered to and will lead and drive the Manufacturing Operation Continuous Improvement program in line with the strategic aims and objectives of the business. 


The Role


  • Instil a culture of innovation, responsiveness to customers, on time delivery and development of profitable new business.
  • Achieve goals for shipments, on-time delivery, past dues, inventory and productivity.
  • Set the standard and pace; lead and inspire teams to continuously improve, innovate and deliver. Act as the focal point for Continuous Improvement activities; champion these and bring about step change; plan and achieve challenging productivity improvement targets.
  • Lead, influence and inspire the multi-skilled workforce, helping them to develop and acquire the competencies required to meet current and future needs.
  • Harness a working environment which encourages team work, energy and creativity; mentor and coach individuals in order to encourage them to develop and take on greater responsibilities. Ensure Succession Plans are in place.
  • Manage all outsourcing, vendor assessment and development activities; apply rigorous analysis in the “make or buy” decision making process. Ensure effective material sourcing and supply chain activities are focused on developing reliable and long term strategic supplier/sub-contractor relationships, optimising delivery performance and cost.
  • Work closely with the engineering teams in the development of new ideas and higher value-added concepts, including the re-design of historical/legacy equipment and through life support capabilities in order to meet customer needs.
  • Manage the performance of the manufacturing operation across multiple sites: recognise both the synergies and operational differences in capability between them, establish appropriate performance targets that are fit for purpose, simplify systems, implement improvement and cost reduction strategies to optimise effectiveness and monitor KPI’s against plan.
  • Provide real value to customers and develop strong working relationships; understand their needs and respond rapidly to their issues, questions and problems.
  • Develop and implement effective inventory management systems in order to optimise cost, minimise risk and enhance availability and delivery.
  • Provide rolling forecast information in order to manage capacity planning (SYSPRO ERP system) & ensure labour, material control & production resources are in place to meet demand.
  • Ensure compliance with all necessary health & safety, environmental and quality policies in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9100.
  • Support sales & commercial teams with the contract review process; ensure manufacturing cost base is accurate.
  • Support the timely manufacture of any prototypes / small batch quantities:attend military/user trials, defence trade shows and conferences as required.
  • Manage any specific operational challenges for a key self-contained unit which may arise as the result of anticipated new contract wins.
  • As an integral member of the senior leadership team, attend and present key business information at quarterly performance meetings with the overseas parent.


The Candidate


  • A good communicator who is able to prioritise information, keep internal colleagues informed and ensure that the customer is always on board and is fully up to date.
  • Strong ethical and moral compass: able to work across functions within a non-political, open and honest business culture that has an overarching commitment towards “value creation” and the on time delivery of consistently reliable engineered products.
  • Strong leader, influencer and motivator of others, people orientated and able to give insight into the development of the team, making changes and improvements.
  • Well-developed inter-personal skills: dynamic, positive and enthusiastic, with the ability to think laterally and act through reasoned decision making.
  • Results orientated, good judgement and decision making skills.
  • Able to balance the requirements of operating strategically with the “hands on” requirement to walk the floor and think on your feet. Well-developed strategic skills, with the ability to align the manufacturing organisation with the company’s overall business plan.
  • Honest and open communicator who is able to prioritise information, keep colleagues informed and has a natural flair for developing strong customer relationships.
  • Strong presentation skills – able to develop and confidently deliver high impact, technically focused presentations to colleagues, customers and the parent company.
  • 10+ years’ successful leadership experience in a progressive manufacturing environment (related defence or aerospace preferred, but not essential). You must be able to perform within in a close knit, highly responsive team-based environment which specialises in low volume, highly complex products with long lead times.
  • Educated to degree level or equivalent in a manufacturing or engineering discipline.
  • It is likely that you will have a background in engineering or will have progressed through a supply chain route into operational management: - strong purchasing and materials management experience is essential.
  • Experience of operations management across a multi-site business would be beneficial.
  • Technically strong with a good knowledge of manufacturing processes and techniques, raw materials, quality systems/ standards, health & safety standards, engineering, technology principles and practices.
  • Knowledge of Quality Tools and Process Improvement techniques: ability to manage change and ensure that the right KPI’s are in place to accurately measure and drive business performance.
  • Demonstrate strong technical, financial and commercial awareness.
  • Demonstrate the personal credibility, presence, professionalism and integrity to enhance inter–departmental relationships.
  • Willingness and ability to travel within the UK and overseas at short notice.
  • Hold or be able to hold UK Security Clearance.


Please send your detailed CV quoting reference 17/1912 to our retained consultant David Smalley at Daniels Smalley Partnership, Pencoed Technology Centre, Pencoed CF35 5HZ.

Tel: 01656 856200 or email david@dspsearch.co.uk




Contact us

Daniels Smalley Partnership Ltd
Pencoed Technology Park,


CF35 5HZ


Tel: 01656 856200


or email us at:- 



or use our contact form.


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