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Head of Plant Operations

Location: Newton Aycliffe, Durham County, United Kingdom
Job ID: R0004251
Date Posted: Oct 17, 2021
Segment: Mobility
Business Unit: Hitachi Rail
Company Name: Hitachi Rail Limited
Profession (Job Category): Other
Job Type (Experience Level): Experienced
Job Schedule: Full time
Remote: No

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Are you looking for opportunities to work on high profile rail projects and advanced technology alongside experts from the around the globe? Come and join the fastest growing rail business in the world!

Hitachi Rail is a fully integrated, global provider of rail solutions across rolling stock, signalling, service & maintenance, digital technology and turnkey. With a presence in 38 countries across three continents and over 13,000 employees, our mission is to contribute to society through the continuous development of superior rail transport solutions. We are working to Inspire the Next – and this is your chance to be part of it.

Your new role

In this pivotal and integral permanent role, you will hold a key position within our Newton Aycliffe facility, and report directly into and work closely with the Chief Operating Officer of Rolling Stock UK.

The core elements of the role are:

  • Project delivery planning & management for Rolling Stock UK (RSUK)

  • Materials management for RSUK

  • Production management at Newton Aycliffe

  • Site management at Newton Aycliffe

  • RSUK general support co-ordination (SHE, Communications, I.T. & Learning & Development)

  • Having the autonomy to manage project delivery within RSUK from end-to-end (Design to Sale), inclusive of all functional delivery within RSUK, and co-ordinating other RSUK functions within the context of project delivery

Specifically, you will be responsible for the following deliverables:

General Management & Leadership

  • You will deputise for the COO – Rolling Stock UK, and will lead RSUK in their absence.

  • You will provide leadership and direction to a multi-functional management team to ensure the effective operation and development of a dynamic manufacturing business.

  • You will coach and mentor the site leadership team, responsible for performance management and development of a strong functional group of leaders.

  • You will have the ability to drive development of skills to support effective succession planning.

  • Striving for, creating and developing an excellent working environment at the Newton Aycliffe site:

  • Directly through regular, skilled, effective communication, business updates and communication of business strategy through all employee briefings and internal communications.
  • Indirectly through proactive advocacy of a strong workplace culture that aligns to the Hitachi values of Harmony, Sincerity and Pioneering spirit.

  • Communicating with employees through representatives, - for example Union or other staff representatives.

  • You will be able to ensure strong relationships are developed and maintained with factories in Japan and Italy.

  • You will be able to regularly participate in, and contribute to strategic discussions for issue resolution.

  • You will oversee and have accountability for the development of the appropriate organisational structure and resource plans to support the business objectives and customer deliverables.

Financial Leadership

  • You will have responsibility for Newton Aycliffe site operational budget and meeting annual cost targets and responsibility for RSUK achievement of Project budget costs.

Delivering Trains (Cost & Budget)

  • Projects:

You will……

  • Plan, execute and monitor Projects within RSUK (with responsibility for internal delivery project management).

  • Meet customer and program milestones by overseeing cross-functional teams to achieve delivery plans.

  • Evaluate challenges and take action to mitigate risks and develop opportunities.

  • Contribute to successful bids, including cost models for production.

  • Production & Site:

You will……

  • Demonstrate strategic oversight of the manufacturing processes to ensure Hitachi quality standards and customer expectations are achieved.

  • Develop the appropriate reporting and visualisation methods to monitor, review and improve site performance.

  • Work with manufacturing colleagues in Italy and Japan to share best practice and develop robust business improvement initiatives.

Design, Build & Sell Great Trains

You will……

  • Ensure Quality protocols and processes are fully embedded into RSUK Projects.

  • Ensure Quality standards are set and met, including robust handover controls.

  • Be heavily involved in the Design>input DFM and other design improvement suggestions, and contributing to bids.

Taking Care of Each Other

You will……

  • Provide a safe site.

  • Champion robust Safety behaviours.

  • Ensure that Environmental, Health and Safety, manufacturing and quality standards and procedures are adhered to.

  • Be fully aware of, and actively promote and implement, Hitachi’s ethos, culture and values.

  • Be fully involved in Hitachi Rail Europe’s staff development and training and participate in PDP procedures.

  • Adhere to and champion the Hitachi Rail Europe’s Equal Opportunities Policy.

  • Comply with and implement Hitachi Rail Europe’s Health and Safety policy.

  • Undertake any other reasonable duties and responsibilities as may be required.

About you

You will be able to demonstrate……

  • Significant senior level management experience within a complex manufacturing and/or Engineering organisation, with a demonstrable record of meeting goals on quality, delivery and cost targets.

  • Significant experience of developing and managing a senior leadership team to a high level of individual and team performance.

  • Excellent experience of relationship management with internal and external diverse and multi-cultural stakeholders.

  • Good understanding of UK and EU Directives and other legislative and regulatory requirements for manufacturing plants and rolling stock.

  • Strong employee relations skills including experience of dealing with unions and staff representatives.

  • Ability to confidently lead and motivate a leadership team.

  • Exceptional communication skills and be able to empathise, motivate, and inspire.

  • Excellent decision making capability with the ability to think strategically and to consider the wider implications of decisions.

  • Able to select and deliver strategic wins and day to day tactical results simultaneously, prioritising where the most value will be gained.

  • High levels of emotional intelligence and ability to motivate a team toward the project milestones and outcomes.

  • Excellent commercial acumen.

  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills.

  • The understanding that travel internationally as required as part of this role.


  • You will be educated  to  degree  level  in  a  relevant  Manufacturing,  Engineering  or  equivalent  level experience.

Why Hitachi Rail?

At Hitachi Rail you will find a passionate and collaborative environment. We operate according to our values of Harmony, Sincerity and Pioneering Spirit. As such, we work closely as a team and empower our colleagues to take ownership and become creative in our pursuit of excellence. We take pride in the contribution we make to society and we always act with integrity and fairness towards our customers, suppliers and colleagues.

We offer a competitive salary and annual leave entitlement as well as a generous benefits package. This includes a pension scheme with contributions up to 9%, health insurance, and many more perks for you to choose from within a flexible plan that will meet your specific needs and lifestyle.

If you like the sound of the above and feel energised by the idea of joining a great brand at a moment of exciting expansion, please apply now. We look forward to hearing from you!

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