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Opportunity Description
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Fly Rod Production Manager
WA - Bainbridge Island

Opportunity Snapshot

If you are a forward-thinking change leader who is not satisfied with the status quo, this position offers you the opportunity to make an impact at an organization producing world class, high-end fly rods for the discerning fly fishing angler. You will play a key role in ensuring Lean Manufacturing principles are embedded in our culture -- we are committed to maintaining high levels of handcrafted quality while remaining competitive and keeping jobs here in the US. Our culture is upbeat and we enjoy having fun; at the same time, we take our business very seriously, guarding our reputation with a diligent commitment to high standards.

Founded in 1980, Sage Manufacturing is recognized as the world's leading producer of high-end performance fly rods, reels, blanks and accessories built for the specialty fly fishing market. Our location is surrounded by the natural beauty of Bainbridge Island. The people who make up Team Sage are some of the finest craftspeople in the world. Their expertise, wisdom and experience are an important part of our design process, and their contributions to the fishability of our products are immeasurable. But more than that, these are great people to fish and work with!

The Role

Here on Bainbridge Island we manufacture the world's premier fly fishing rods, which are the heart and soul of the Sage brand. Reporting to the Production Manager, you will become one of three production leaders, providing direction to about 35 full time artisans, including some Leads. In addition, you will supervise a team of 13 Home Wrappers who wrap line guides onto rods at home but come in once a week to pick up and deliver rods.

We recently launched a major Lean initiative, and your mission will be to establish and foster an environment that is based on continuous improvement while supporting the production goals of the organization, reducing costs, enhancing craftsmanship, and increasing overall production capacity and agility. Quick question for you - click here This is not a case of fixing something that is broken, but of making a good thing even better. You will achieve this mission by streamlining the product realization process to reduce labor, improving inventory accuracy, promoting individual accountability and reducing lead-time.

We'll expect you to understand the position of the Sage brand as the best fly rods in the world and the implications of that reputation on the manufacturing floor. You will lead a team of craftspeople who are engaged in the process and committed to our industry leading quality standards while driving continuous improvement in all areas. One of your first objectives will be to identify members of your team who will help champion Lean principles.

You will ensure the department key performance indicators are regularly met including ensuring that every effort is made to meet and exceed the consumer's expectations about Sage products. You'll challenge the team to maximize throughput while managing costs at the appropriate level.

Note: this description is intended to give you a general overview of the position and is not an exhaustive listing of duties and responsibilities.

The Requirements

You don't need to be an avid fly fishing angler, but it would help! To be a good fit for this opportunity you will have:
  • A bachelor's degree OR equivalent experience. An academic focus in Engineering, Science or Logistics is preferred.
  • Significant hands-on experience as a leader in manufacturing environments, ideally in the fishing industry and/or with rod assembly. Quick question for you - click here
  • Experience in operations employing Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma (Operational Excellence) or equivalent business improvement processes; experience implementing such processes is strongly preferred. We also will consider candidates with formal training in this area who have not yet had the opportunity to put their training into practice.
  • Exposure to highly crafted, artisan production is preferred; at minimum you will need to demonstrate sensitivity to and appreciation of this type of production, perhaps through hobbies or other interests.
  • The ability to lead and train others, including assessing direct reports and then mentoring and developing them to build skills using KPIs; you also will need to be willing to take decisive action when necessary.
  • A demonstrated ability to drive change.
  • Attention to detail that will enhance the craftsmanship of the product.
  • Strong coaching/mentoring skills.
  • A team player approach with a demonstrated ability to lead and motivate.
  • The ability to:
    • Manage multiple tasks and priorities simultaneously.
    • Manage a workload that demonstrates high energy, passion and drive.
    • Interpret data and make data based business decisions.
    • Work under pressure and aggressively and appropriately solve problems.
    • Define and document processes.
  • Skills in MS Office with particular strength in Excel.
  • Strong analytical and management skills with the ability and assertiveness to help establish company policies and service levels.
  • Excellent interpersonal and customer service skills.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • High energy and a positive demeanor.
  • The ability to work with and lead a highly diverse workforce.
Preferred but not required:
  • Specialized training and at least five years of experience related to managerial concepts.
  • Five years' experience as a supervisor or manager for 20+ associates.

Why Sage

The best of both worlds -- the rod production department is running well and meeting targets. At the same time, the continuous improvement initiatives you'll help drive will enable you to make your mark. In addition, you'll provide input and feedback to help establish the direction of the company's long-term goals.

Quality is king -- most likely our production lines are a little different than those you're used to; it's possible to mass-produce fishing rods, but not a Sage rod. Our dedicated artisans handcraft everything we produce. Cost effectiveness, efficiency and all the other numbers are important, but they all take a back seat to quality, the bedrock of our priceless reputation. If you're the person we're looking for, you relish the challenge of applying Lean Manufacturing principles to the kind of quality that can be achieved only through hand craftsmanship.

Serious business for serious fun -- every Sage rod, reel and line is specifically designed to help our customers make the most of their precious time on the water. Many of us also enjoy angling and other outdoor sports, which means we understand the importance of work/life balance (although we can get very busy and there are longer hours from time to time). You'll find a strong sense of humor here at Sage, along with an equally strong commitment to craftsmanship and quality.

Maximum Fishability -- at Sage, every piece of angling equipment we make is designed, tested and hand built with one goal in mind: Maximum Fishability. It's a term we came up with a few years back to describe the kind of performance that helps our customers cast better, fish more effectively and have more fun. We're also committed to supporting conservation efforts that protect and preserve our favorite waters.

Excellent compensation -- in addition to a competitive salary and bonus incentive program, we offer comprehensive benefits.

Keys to Success

To excel in this role you will establish yourself as a leader your team trusts and one who they will follow. Many employees have been with Sage for 20 years or longer, and you'll need to get to know them, appreciate and respect their skills and experience, and listen well to their input. At the same time, in some cases you'll have to help them understand that "that's the way we've always done it" is not a strategic way of thinking. Quick question for you - click here We'll expect you to spend a significant amount of time out on the production floor, working side by side with your team, but without losing sight of your role as manager and leader.

We have established performance criteria and corresponding competencies that we'll share with you so that everyone has clear expectations. They include financial acumen, a results orientation, risk taking, high standards, problem solving and decision making, drive and energy, assertiveness, the ability to identify leaders, talent management, influencing skills and more.

The short version: in order to be an outstanding Production Manager, you will never compromise on product craftsmanship while still achieving KPIs.

About Sage

Sage is part of Far Bank Enterprises, an integrated manufacturer and distributor of fly fishing products which include fly fishing rods, fly reels, fly lines, leaders, tippets and performance outdoor apparel. Far Bank's other brands include Redington and RIO. Far Bank Enterprises is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Joshua Green Corporation.

Sage Manufacturing is an equal opportunity employer. EOE/AA/M/F/Vets/Disabled
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Resume Supplement
Please take a few minutes to answer questions about your background and expertise specific to the Fly Rod Production Manager position.

Question Yes No Comment
Are you legally authorized to work permanently in the United States for any employer WITHOUT REQUIRING A VISA TRANSFER or VISA SPONSORSHIP?
Do you currently live within a reasonable commute distance of Bainbridge Island, WA or are you willing to relocate?
Item Experience Comment
Within the last 5 years, what role did the following play in your job:
Managing in manufacturing environments
Managing change
Coaching/mentoring others
Interpreting data and making data-based business decisions
Managing to KPIs
Question / Choice Comment
Which of the following best describes the largest number of production employees for which you have had direct managerial/supervisory responsibility?
Do you have experience in manufacturing environments in which highly crafted, artisan products are produced (preferred but not required)?
Which of the following best describes the greatest level of involvement you have had with continuous process improvement methodologies (lean, Six Sigma, etc)?
Question Answer
OPTIONAL - Briefly describe a situation from a recent position that demonstrates your ability to motivate, train, coach and/or mentor others.
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