Vice President - Operations - North American Manufacturing

Executive Management Winamac, Indiana


Vice President, Operations                                                                     

 About BraunAbility

BraunAbility is a global leader in the manufacture and distribution of mobility transportation solutions for people with physical disabilities. Founded 50 years ago by entrepreneur Ralph Braun, an inspiring industry pioneer who overcame challenges related to his own battle with muscular dystrophy, Ralph initially engineered solutions for his own independence.  With others soon hearing of Ralph’s solutions and seeking that same independence for themselves a company was born, and today BraunAbility remains true to its mission of “Devoted to Making Life a Moving Experience for All.”  

BraunAbility has been a major innovator and leader in delivering mobility solutions since its inception, with a vast product line of wheelchair accessible vehicles, wheelchair lifts and seating adaptations.  The company that Ralph Braun started in his parents’ garage is now a thriving enterprise with a global headquarters in Carmel, Indiana, and three distinct business units, as well as a recent joint venture announced with Q’Straint, a leader in wheelchair securement solutions.  The global enterprise is comprised of nearly 2,000 employees, on course to reach its strategic goal of $1.2 billion in revenue.

BraunAbility is a highly mission-driven company fueled by a drive for product development to satisfy market needs. It has a performance-oriented, values-based and familial culture, rooted in respect for people and the legacy of Ralph Braun. Guided by a compelling vision, BraunAbility is growth-focused, committed to continuous improvement and technology, and grounded in a passion to serve the needs of its unique customer base. 

BraunAbility is a wholly owned company in the Patricia Industries portfolio. Patricia invests in high-quality, wholly owned companies and works to enable its businesses to reach full potential. Patricia Industries was established in 2015 in Sweden by the Wallenberg family. It is owned by the family’s renown industrial holding company, Investor AB, which has significant ownership interest in some of the most prominent blue chip industrial corporations in the world. Patricia Industries is committed to the philosophy of building high-growth, high-performing companies for the long term through active and engaged participation at the board level.

The Role

We are seeking an individual to lead the operations of our core manufacturing business that was the start and remains the heart of the BraunAbility enterprise.  North American Manufacturing (NAM) is the largest business unit within the BraunAbility family of companies, and this role will oversee the manufacturing operations for this approx. $700m revenue business. Reporting to the President of N.A. Mfg and serving on the business leadership team, this role will have oversight for three US-based manufacturing facilities (Winamac & Elkhart, Indiana; Mt. Carmel, Illinois and Tyler, Texas).  

 Key Responsibilities:

  • Transform operations to adopt and institutionalize a Lean manufacturing mindset and operational model, aiming for continuous improvement in efficiencies, outputs, waste and quality.
  • Develop the direction, philosophy, and implementation of strategic plans for operations in support of the overall business strategic plan. Set and regularly report on specific goals and KPIs to drive execution.
  • Lead initiatives to foster a safe, collaborative, and team-oriented culture.
  • Facilitate strong bench strength across functional teams. Specifically oversees Manufacturing Engineering, Quality, EH&S, Materials Management, Production, and Sourcing.
  • Lead long-range capacity and facility planning.
  • Oversee manufacturing budget expenses and capital project costs.
  • Support creation of EH&S goals for the site management and appropriate activity-based goals for the leadership team, functional managers, and front-line supervisors to drive EH&S culture, compliance, and results.
  • Works closely with ISO Coordinator and Quality to ensure certification compliance.
  • Identify and execute through the operations team's specific solutions to delivery challenges or customer issues; includes having the implementation plan to remedy existing challenges with detailed expected outcomes based in current and accurate data.
  • Motivate and energize our team members while supporting our core values of drive change, get results through self & others, inspire innovation, demonstrate values & build capabilities.
  • Being a servant leader in this role is extremely important.

Key Qualifications:

  • An appreciation for the rich history and legacy of the company, and a passion for changing the lives of people with disabilities.
  • Experience with implementing or operating in a Lean environment.
  • Automotive experience at the OE or Tier 1 level is not a requirement but a plus.
  • Extensive exposure to a business with branded manufactured products in a progressive operations environment, thus an appreciation for quality, costs, delivery, and new products.
  • The ability to motivate and energize a team while building followership through trust, communication, and a compelling vision.
  • Understanding of global materials management and supply chain / logistics management.
  • Demonstrated project leadership skills (ability to lead and motivate others at multiple levels of the organization). 

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field (Engineering, Business, etc.).
  • At least 10 years in operations leadership in a manufacturing environment, with 5 years of overall operational oversight and responsibility within an advanced manufacturing environment.
  • Prior experience with lean manufacturing systems, six sigma, Toyota Production Systems (TPS)
  • Strong team building, decision-making and people management skills.
  • Ability to create accountability and to lead by example.
  • Knowledge of business and management principles (budgeting, strategic planning, resource allocation and human resources) and financial acumen.

Direct Reports:

  • Production, Manufacturing Engineering, Quality, EH&S, Material Control, Sourcing

 Location: Hybrid position, with onsite presence at the Winamac, Indiana manufacturing location four days per week at the onset, and three days per week longer-term. Corporate housing (company B&B) near Winamac facility. Occasional travel to Elkhart, Indiana, Mt. Carmel, Illinois and Tyler, TX facilities. 

BraunAbility is committed to building an equitable, diverse and inclusive workplace. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.