Houston, TX 77035
Director of Operational Excellence
Solugen, Inc. is a revolutionary product and technology company seeking to use biology to transform the chemicals industry. Solugen was founded in 2016 and is a post-Series C venture-backed biotechnology company supported by renowned venture capital firms including Founders Fund, FiftyYears, Refactor, Y Combinator, Temasek, GIC, and Baillie-Gifford. Located in Houston, Texas, Solugen has recently started-up a first-of-its-kind carbon-negative manufacturing facility - The BioforgeTM - that uses a novel chemienzymatic technology to manufacture bio-based chemistries for a wide range of applications, including water treatment, agriculture, personal care, and other applications. Solugen currently has 100+ full-time employees.
Solugen’s mission is to decarbonize chemicals manufacturing. As a first step, Solugen has built its first 10 KTA commercial plant with the potential to offset up to 37,000 tpy of carbon dioxide equivalents. This role will directly support Solugen’s short-term goals and implement strategic plans to support growth over the next 5 years.
Reporting to the COO, the mission of this role would be to provide tools, processes and framework to all operations functions inside Solugen. This mission aligns with the broader Solugen goals to improve operational efficiency, improve yield across Solugen’s operating assets and drive consistency in meeting the demands of our customers (internal and external). The Director of Operational excellence will lead a team of engineers and data analysts to support the operations organization and implement cost saving/revenue generating processes and ideas. This role will also be the primary interface with our strategic partners implementing new AI functionality into the Bioforge PLC.
- As part of the Operations Leadership team, participates in constant assessment of pricing, operating costs, distribution function, product development, market development and other policies and procedures of the Company that the Operations department supports. Recommends and implements changes that will improve effectiveness in reaching the growth objectives of Company.
- Drive innovative ideas, solutions and business processes through leadership and decisive action to push an ambitious yet achievable strategy for growth.
- Work with VP of Engineering and projects team to ensure Lean ideologies are applied to project scopes and that Minimum Technical Solutions are identified. Additionally, provide lessons learned from existing Solugen assets to Bioforge Scale Up teams to drive engineering/operational improvements.
- Ability to develop fit for purpose, highly competitive manufacturing systems to support business development objectives, focused on understanding customer requirements and implementing safe and efficient batch/semi-batch chemical processes at multiple plant sites. Specifically, identify and address Asset uptime and utilization issues and develop and implement change management in our operating assets.
- Continuous improvement of business processes through a full commitment to Lean Manufacturing Principles and aggressively attacking wastes.
- Improve operational dashboards and balanced scorecards (starting with Revenue/Margins all the way to OEE, Overall Asset Utilization, cost, and lower level KPIs – and drive organizational accountability to sustain continuous improvements.
- Identify and implement low-cost asset improvements and automation to sustain improvements.
- Demonstrated leadership and organizational success in similar operating environments, with progressive increases in responsibilities and challenges as part of career progression.
- Strong process engineering experience in complex, fast-paced, continuous/semi batch chemical manufacturing environment.
- Strong project management skills to manage complex processes to bring new products to market from ideation to industrial manufacturing.
- Strong technical acumen--actively participates and contribute to technical discussions, proactively identify challenges and risks, working closely with engineers, operators and supply chain and logistics on addressing challenges, and forming mitigation plans.
- Experience defining cross-organizational/company-wide strategy including driving alignment across engineering VPs/directors – this person breaks down Silos to cross-departmental operating frameworks.
- Creative problem solver that proactively takes initiative.
- Strong sense of ownership. Proactively remove program obstacles and willing to go above and beyond to chase down loose ends.
- Proven track record of implementing improvement initiatives (tied to cost savings or revenue generated).
Attention to detail and organization
- Excellent communication, negotiation, leadership, and project management skills with the desire to further develop these skills as the Company grows.
- Commitment to safe workplace goals and practices that ensure operational integrity, including compliance with all regulatory policies and procedures.
- Comfortable following safety protocols and wearing personal protective equipment—including hard hats, gloves, earplugs, and respirators--in work zones.
- Good familiarity with Office products as well as a general level of comfort with online communication and work management platforms such as Dropbox, Google Doc, and Slack.
- Advanced understanding of project management execution and scheduling software (e.g., Microsoft Project, Primavera).
- Analytical approach to problem solving, with a focus on managing a team environment with attention to results and a sense of urgency.
- Ask a lot of questions, be curious, and have insights into your work.
- Be nimble, embrace the speed and ambiguity of startup culture.
- A passion for green chemistry and fighting climate change.
- Ability to self-manage and set your own priorities and schedule.
- Be comfortable working in multiple roles.
- Emphasize safety above all else.
- Respect for others.
- Creative problem solving.
- Willingness to learn and research new engineering/science concepts.
- Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Science, or related field.
- 10+ years of experience of Optimization experience in a manufacturing environment (Certified Lean/Six Sigma or similar).
- Previous experience with oversight of multi-site manufacturing organizations.
- Experience establishing process and defining metrics.
- Effective communication and team building skills.
- Project management certification preferred (PMP, APMP or equivalent).
Solugen is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other legally protected status.