Operational Excellence Manager

Date: 05-May-2021

Location: Mitchelstown, Ireland

Company: Ornua Co-operative Limited

Ornua is a dairy co-operative which sells dairy products on behalf of its Member Co-ops; Ireland’s dairy processors and, in turn, Irish dairy farmers. It is Ireland’s largest exporter of Irish dairy products, exporting to 110 countries worldwide. Headquartered in Dublin, it has annualised sales of over €2.3 billion and a global team of 2,400 employees. Ornua operates from 10 business units worldwide, including 13 production facilities, and has sales and marketing teams working in-market across all four corners of the globe.


The Group is structured across two divisions: Ornua Foods and Ornua Ingredients.

Ornua Foods is responsible for the marketing and sales of Ornua’s consumer brands including Kerrygold, Dubliner, Pilgrims Choice, Forto and BEO. Markets are served by production facilities and in-market sales and marketing teams in Africa, Asia, Germany, Ireland, the UK, the rest of Europe, the Middle East and the US.


Ornua Ingredients is responsible for the procurement of Irish and non-Irish dairy products and for the sale of dairy ingredients to food manufacturing and foodservice customers across the world. Ornua Ingredients is also responsible for managing volatility through de-risking and trading strategies. The business is supported by production facilities in Saudi Arabia, Spain, the UK, the US and by in-market teams in Africa and the Middle East.

Growth for Good

Ornua is the home of Irish dairy. Our cooperative ethos is at the heart of who we are and how we do business.  Our global success would not be possible without the close collaboration, care, and commitment of our 2,400 strong team.  Ornua cares about building sustainable livelihoods for all our people, who in turn care about driving sustainable profits for our co-op members and the Irish dairy farming families we proudly represent. 


Ornua 2025 is our strategic plan that will help realise our vision for growth in the next five years. It outlines what we will do well, what we will do with the profits we generate, and what additional services we will provide to our members. We will be guided by 3 guiding principles; focus, simplicity and adding value to our volume and we will clearly define what market we will play in.


Together, we will grow for good – creating value for our Irish farming families and for our 2,400 strong, committed, and proud global team.


Kerrygold Park is Ornua’s new state of the art manufacturing facility and centre of excellence for the Kerrygold Brand.

The Operational Excellence Manager will apply project management techniques in driving a structured approach to optimise site process improvements for increased productivity, quality & reduce waste. The role will identify and drive operational process improvement initiatives in line with best practice Operational Excellence methodologies


The role will report into the site General Manager and support the improvement activities being undertaken throughout facility as required. The role involves a hands-on approach, working with cross functional teams to develop and support delivery of site-specific annual process improvement initiatives. The role will also be responsible for the overarching Kerrygold Park training framework with associated direct report.


Key Areas of Responsibility:


  • Support the site management team in the development and delivery of annual operational facility process improvement targets.
  • Ownership of training department at Kerrygold Park, developing the framework into Best-in-Class model.
  • Act as an advocate for operational excellence activities using statistical techniques, lean manufacturing tools, six sigma, design experimentation for processes and optimizing manufacturing process parameters, to achieve targets and cost savings.
  • Work with cross functional teams to develop/deliver annual programmes to optimise process improvements for increased productivity, quality, and reduced waste levels.
  • Key driver of Group operational process improvement projects/initiatives in line with Ornua Group and local site operational goals.
  • Work with cross functional teams to develop process improvement programmes and support their deployment/delivery.
  • Delivering identified best practice process improvement tools between business units.
  • Provide best practice training where required.
  • Development of “standards” pertaining to operational process improvement measurements.
  • Providing support to the PMO process on site.
  • Support the Site Health and Safety Strategy and KPIs.
  • Any other responsibilities deemed appropriate to the role


Key Requirements & Attributes:


  • Min. 5 years’ experience in a process improvement role
  • Manufacturing industry experience
  • Excellent project management skills
  • Capable of leading large & small projects in a timely manner
  • A clearly defined strategic thought process and a continuous improvement mind-set
  • Demonstrate excellent problem-solving skills
  • Confident to liaise at all levels, articulate with good presentation skills
  • Excellent analytical and communication skills
  • Ability to interact with multiple stakeholders
  • An ability to work/lead effectively in cross-functional teams
  • Willingness to travel
  • RIGOUR: Ensure excellence in own work applies effective professional skill, analysis and decision making, and planning and reviewing.
  • FORWARD LOOKING: Leads others through change and contributes to competitive challenges and functional strategy plans.
  • OWNERSHIP: Makes decisions about sustainable growth and/or manages performance and ensures that quality and delivery of others’ work; rewards and recognises success.
  • WORKING TOGETHER: Creates and reinforces a collaborative culture across the business.



  • 3rd Level Qualification in Process or Mechanical engineering
  • Lean Six Sigma black belt qualification or equivalent

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