COO / Operations Director

Dorset (GB)
£100k to £130k base plus generous equity package
28 Apr 2021
12 May 2021
Contract Type

Our client is a high growth, niche designer and manufacturer to the retail, hospitality, hotel and travel industries.  The business has recently received private equity funding which will enable significant investment in the business to help support its already impressive growth as it expands globally. 

Based from their HQ in Dorset, they now require am Operations Director / COO who will build and manage a best in class operations function to support the ongoing expansion.  The role will suit a hands-on COO/Ops Director who is both tactical and strategic and excels in hands-on operational roles.  The role will suit proven COOs but also high calibre candidates who are looking for their first COO role. 

All candidates must be able to demonstrate success of running complex operations in an entrepreneurial manufacturing, fabrication or supply chain environment, preferably with an international supply chain. 

Ultimately the COO will need to support the business in its four key execution areas: that once the business is won, (i) that the product design design meets the specification, (ii) the product is built to a high quality, (iii) the product is delivered on time; (iv) whilst at all times ensuring disciplined cost management and gross margin improvement.

To manage that, the COO will have responsibility for the end-to-end lifecycle of an order, including order management, trade design, production, assembly and delivery / logistics.

We are happy to consider candidates who are willing to relocate to the warmer climes of the south coast.


Key Responsibilities:

The COO will be responsible for the following:

  • Help design and implement key business strategies, plans and procedures;
  • Develop and design solutions for removing key pinch-points creating delay in the delivery of product. Build and maintain a scalable organisation that is set up to deal with larger orders;
  • Build in discipline around cost management and constantly strive to rationalise the cost base and drive gross margin improvements;
  • Instil discipline around key metrics and business process. Systemize Bill of Materials (BOM) checks and improve visability of productivity;
  • Manage stock, inventory and processes around goods in transit, as well as improving visibility of where stock and inventory sits within the business; and at what stage deliveries are at real-time;
  • Negotiation of terms with key suppliers across the global supply chain, including securing favorable credit terms where appropriate;
  • Set comprehensive goals for performance and growth. Have a deep understanding of the drivers of the business and like these to robust, yet simple, KPIs to measure business performance. Evaluate performance by analyzing data and interpreting these metrics, and continually suggest potential improvements to the model based on empirical evidence;
  • Manage relationships with partners/vendors across the international supply chain, ensuring there are robust continuity policies if this supply chain is affected;
  • Be a trusted leader in the business alongside Directors and SMT. Lead employees to encourage maximum performance and dedication. Establish policies that promote company culture and vision;
  • Build a robust team of middle-management that helps the business grow and scale over time;
  • Participate in expansion activities (investments, acquisitions, corporate alliances etc.). 

The Candidate:

The ideal COO candidate will have most, if not all, of the following:

  • Experience of a senior operations and/or execution focused role in a business of similar size and complexity (£8m to £30m revs);
  • Track record of managing complex international supply chains in a manufacturing-focused environment or similar, particularly having had dealings with Chinese suppliers;
  • Strong team building experience, able to identify, nurture and develop talent further down the organisation;
  • Understanding of best-in-class operations, ideally having spent time with a market leader and therefore a clear view on what ‘good’ looks like. Background in organisations with world-class operations and logistics functions, and experience of professionalising operations processes and teams, driving improved insight for decision making;
  • Prior experience of working in a Private Equity-backed or highly leveraged business wold be advantageous but not essential;
  • Experience of cost management in a manufacturing-type business model is highly desirable;
  • Experience in a business with a capex intensive model and international supply chains is highly desireable;
  • Sage 200/MRP experience would be advantageous.

We expect the candidate to have the following characteristics:

  • Pace: Action oriented, hands on leader who is able to make significant impact outside of a large corporate structure. Able to balance decisiveness with diligence and make well considered decisions under time pressure;
  • Rigour: Strongly analytical and detail oriented, with a relentless drive to get to the best outcome;
  • Entrepreneurial: pragmatic and innovative, open to new ideas and always looking for ways to develop and improve both themselves, their function and the business overall;
  • Trustworthy: Unwavering personal and business integrity;
  • Hard working: Highly resilient, driven and determined. Down-to-earth, energetic and willing to “roll up their sleeves”;
  • Good communicator: able to get buy-in from all levels and all across the business. High levels of charisma, credibility and gravitas;
  • Internationally mobile and willing to get around the business, as well as spending a significant proportion of their time at the company HQ;
  • Strong strategic mind-set, highly intelligent with an ability to assess, prioritise and interpret business performance and determine clear-sighted business plans relevant to each area of the business;


  • A proactive self-starter with an entrepreneurial mind-set.  The candidate will be capable of working independently and pro-actively, anticipating challenges and exploiting opportunities.