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Ford & Stanley Executive

Head of Manufacturing: Opportunity Brief

Ford & Stanley Executive Search (Part of the Ford & Stanley Group) are specialists in Executive Interim and Permanent appointments to the UK, European & North American Rail, General Manufacturing, Enviro-Tech & Digital Industries.

We have been exclusively entrusted and appointed by a manufacturing business on a retained search for a Head of Manufacturing .

Below you will find an ‘opportunity brief’ developed from notes taken during the scoping meetings (Situational Discovery) held between the F&S Business Manager, Research Manager and client executive leadership team. This brief is designed to give candidates a deeper insight into the opportunity inherited within the role, the challenges the role presents and provide access to the detail that sits behind the job specification.

Client Opportunity Statement:

 “We are a specialist manufacturing business who have a proven ability securing exciting, complex and industry leading projects. The next logical step for us is to capitalise on the success we have had on winning and delivering projects and now focus on improving internal efficiencies, processes and procedures.”

“Imperative to our journey and renewed focus on internal efficiencies is the hiring of a Head of Manufacturing. Someone that will ‘roll their sleeves up’, ‘challenge the status quo’ and take the manufacturing department / production line on a journey ensuring ensure best-in-practice processes and procedures are implemented and adhered to.”

“It’s of paramount importance that throughout this period of change the Head of manufacturing retains a strong focus on culture. Ensuring that those who are considered ‘veterans’ within the team continue to be engaged along with building upon the foundations in place to bring through the ‘next generation’ of talent.”


The Opportunity

Main Challenges the role presents:

  • The incoming Head of Manufacturing will need to ensure that there is significant focus placed on securing and retaining entry level talent to the business. There is a companywide agenda to attract new talent and this needs to be replicated within the manufacturing/production line teams.
  • A significant portion of the knowledge and skillset within the business is retained within established team members / veterans of the business. There needs to be a firm focus on transferring that knowledge and understanding throughout the business in the form of standardised processes and procedures, mentorship of new employees and educating of existing team members.
  • The business has an impressive track record of winning and delivering industry leading projects but has historically leant heavily on the expertise of existing staff members. The challenge will be to extract this knowledge and implement it, along with additional improvements, in a selection of processes and procedures which drive efficiencies.
  • The role of Head of Manufacturing includes a high level of exposure to internal stakeholders. There is significant value to be had within the manufacturing/production line function having strong relationships with the internal stakeholders and as a relatively new focus for the team this will require proactive and purposeful focus to build up.
  • The business currently sits at a high level of capacity for the next year. This will continue to provide a useful ‘stress test’ for the teams and current processes in place and it’s likely that the incoming Head of Manufacturing will need to ensure that processes and procedures continue to evolve to ensure that quality remains at a high level.
  • It’s of paramount importance that throughout this period of change established team members continue to be engaged and are ‘brought along on the journey’. We are looking for a Head of Manufacturing who can drive continuous improvement whilst ensuring a positive culture. Evidently, there will be some ‘difficult’ conversations to be had but it’s critical that these are conducted in a professional and inclusive manner.


Top three deliverables in 1st year

  • Improve efficiency – done by implementing a culture of CI improvement and Lean initiatives in addition educated the business on ‘what good looks like’.
  • Implement a training plan in close alignment with the businesses’ strategy to attract entry level talent and ‘grow it’s own’. Essentially helping the business build for the future.  
  • Ensure a positive and inclusive culture that both encourages the professional development and upskilling of new employees and the engagement of existing /established team members. This culture will also service will to maintain strong levels of retention throughout periods of change.


Candidate Essentials:

  • A proven manufacturing background in a design for manufacturing/installation
  • Proven and experienced leader with experience in managing a team of 25-30 people (indirect and direct)
  • We are looking for someone ideally with 10 – 15 (last 5 years in a management role) years’ experience. Ideally, someone who can bring some ambition and ‘energy’ to the business, someone who has been there and done that but is still ‘on the up’.
  • The Manufacturing Manager will be able to demonstrate a considerable track record in the context of manufacturing Transformation, able to showcase their ability to implement effective processes and procedures and critically, an ability to influence and empower colleagues.
  • Successful candidates will be able to demonstrate strong CI / Lean understanding, with an ability to build relationships, influence commercial decisions and strongly consider ROI in decision-making. Ideally, this person will have a six sigma qualification but this is not essential
  • We are looking for someone with strong communication skills, able to communicate across the group and mentor colleagues in best practices. We need someone who is able to have tough conversations when needed.


Good to know:

  • Role reports to the Operations Director and will have 4 Team Leaders and the Head of Fabrication is a direct report. There will be 20 indirect reports (Shop floor).
  • Big passion for developing and training their staff, they are currently launching a training academy to train the next generation of staff.
  • Strong retention of staff – they currently have members of staff who have been with the company for well over a decade – this will come with it challenges when implementing change.
  • Main goal of this candidate is to deliver improved efficiency to the Production Line.
  • The role will be hybrid split between four days on site and one remote. This is due to a site presence being needed to implement the transformation.
  • There is currently no dedicated resource in this position. This is an opportunity for the right candidate to implement best-in-practice processes and procedures and ‘put their stamp’ on the function.
  • The team has previously found it challenging to build relationships internally within the business, largely due to challenges in communication and information provided. It’s the viewpoint of the leadership team that with the right person in the role this could become a real asset to the team.
  • The business currently sits at high capacity for the next year with a strong pipeline for the future. You’ll need to ensure that the added compacity doesn’t affect quality.
  • The team have largely utilised the same processes and procedures for much of the companies history, although the opportunity to develop new processes and procedures is an exciting one we also need to be mindful that this will represent significant change for a large part of the business.



  • Base Salary Banding: Low of £60k, Mid of £65k and top end of £68k
  • Annual Salary Reviews
  • Discretionary Company Bonus
  • Annual Car Allowance of £6,000 (Paid Monthly)
  • Enhanced Sick Pay
  • 25 days Holiday + 8 Statutory
  • 9% & 6% Pension contributions
  • Support with professional development


Likely Job Titles:

Production Manager, Manufacturing Manager, Head of Production, Head of Manufacturing, Head of Assembly, Head of Continuous Improvement (Manufacturing).

Executive Search Delivery Team:

  • Tom Norton – Business Manager
  • Emma Barlow – Senior Search Consultant
  • Oliver Nunn – Research Manager


About Ford & Stanley Executive Search:

At Ford & Stanley Executive Search we go beyond a recruiting transaction with our core mission being that of every interaction we have with clients and candidates is best in class. We are select in the opportunities we represent, as such, work under strict exclusivity or retained agreements with forward thinking and proactive companies that place their trust in our ability to deliver a winning shortlist at the first time of asking.

Our Search Directors (who are themselves members of the F&S Group Board) and in-house research team invest time at the front end of process with our client’s leadership team or stakeholders to consult, understand the opportunity inherent within the role, business need, map and agree timescales with supporting delivery plan well in advance of conducting the search.

All candidates both active and passive (head-hunted) can expect full and professional engagement from the Executive Search team in addition a timely, thorough and engaging recruitment process from a committed employer that seeks to secure ‘cream of the crop’ from a busy and noisy Global Rail candidate market.

Ford & Stanley Group Ltd is committed to a policy of equal opportunities for all opportunity seekers and approach all opportunity with a mindset of who is right for the job irrespective sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, age, disability, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief or political beliefs and we place an obligation upon all staff to respect and act in accordance with the policy. We shall adhere to such a policy at all times and will review on an on-going basis all aspects of recruitment to avoid unlawful or undesirable discrimination


    • Job type: Permanent
    • Location: Derbyshire
    • Date posted:
    • Salary:£60000 - £68000