Vice President, Operations – Rare Opportunity to Lead Baking Operations

Kincannon & Reed has been retained to recruit the Vice President, Operations headquartered in New Jersey. Our client is seeking a skilled Operations leader with a strong work ethic and an uncompromising commitment to product excellence to lead the growth of their renowned Bakery.

The Company

If you believe all bakery products are commodities, stop reading now. This Company operates from three facilities in the New Jersey/New York City area.  All facilities have the highest standards for Occupational Safety and Food Safety (SQF).  Most products- which now include Pitas, Lavash, Flatbreads, Buns, Pizza Crusts, are made with clean and non-GMO ingredients, and are processed with plenty of fermentation and “Old Fashioned Excellence”.  The innovative and highly automated baking equipment, has in many cases, been co-designed by the Team to help them maintain their position, and edge, as America’s Flatbread Leader.  The Company’s customer/partner list includes many of America’s top-tier food establishments, including Chick-Fil-A; Starbucks, Panera, Costco, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Wegman’s to name a few.

The Company will tell you that its greatest asset lies within their 350 employees, some who have been ‘part of the Family’ for 30+ years.  They take great pride in being recognized during each of the last five years as “One of the Best Places to Work”.

In addition to Baking a Difference, they are busy Making a Difference, as it is a company committed to Growth, Ethical Standards, Sustainability, and Charity.

The Position

To better address its growth agenda and reduce the Owner’s involvement in day-to-day operations, the Company is adding a new position to its senior leadership team. The Vice President, Operations will have direct responsibility for the operations of the company and oversee Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Quality Assurance, Information Technology, and Inventory/Warehousing. This individual will have an owner’s mentality and hands-on work ethic to help grow the business in a way that remains true to the Company’s vision and mission.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Oversee all operations for the company including Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Quality Assurance, Information Technology, Inventory/Warehousing and Maintenance/Sanitation.
  • In partnership with the Owners, lead the strategic vision to realize the organization’s short and long-term sales and profitability goals driven by commercial customers and the voice of the customer.
  • Translate strategy into actionable goals for performance and growth. Drive goal setting, performance management, and annual operating planning.
  • Lead, build & continue to develop an empowered, engaged team by providing direction, inspiration, challenges, and guidance to achieve world-class operational performance.
  • Ensure financial accountability, facilitate collaboration, continuous improvement, and achievement of results.
  • Develop positive relationships with internal constituents and support teams including Sales, R&D, Human Resources, and Finance.

This position reports to the CEO/Owner and will have offices in two locations. The position is supported by a team of 10 direct reports and a total staff of over 300. Travel is minimal.

Candidate Profile

The VP, Operations must be a strategic and adaptive thinker and doer who has experienced managing multiple facilities and a strong affinity for the workforce. He/she will have a strong understanding of operations. His/her people assessment, recruiting, selection and development skills are critical. The ideal candidate will have a “roll-up-your-sleeves” management style and possess strong interpersonal skills that are equally effective in a boardroom, with customers, and with plant employees.

Experience & Skills:

  • 15+ years of operations experience in food manufacturing, preferably in baking, and include leadership in an entrepreneurial environment.
  • Hands-on experience leading teams to improve efficiencies and achieve a strong cohesive environment.
  • Deep knowledge and demonstrated success driving continuous improvement and tools leading to strong, measurable results preferably in a highly automated environment.
  • Strong focus on profitably growing the business operation coupled with the courage, drive, and discipline to make decisions and execute.
  • Strong financial skills including experience with ERP.
  • Demonstrated ability to build talented, engaged, high performing teams.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience on quality best practices and industry regulations.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; strong interpersonal and organization skills; and, demonstrated ability to develop and maintain strong relationships.
  • Exceptional performance with a record of achievement demonstrating leadership capabilities.
  • Excellent working knowledge of technology.

Personal characteristics:

  • A leader and facilitator who is very comfortable asking the questions ‘WHY and “HOW”.
  • An entrepreneurial spirit with the ability to inspire others and is not afraid to take a calculated risk.
  • An articulate, strategic, adaptive thinker, achiever, and when needed, problem solver.
  • Self-directed, goal-oriented, while always listening to the customer and relentless in the pursuit of quality.

Education level:  Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject is required, MBA is a plus.

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