The RequirementsWhile experience at the manager level is a plus, this could be a chance for a strong individual to step up. To be a good fit for the Program Launch Manager opportunity, you will have:
- A 4-year degree in Manufacturing, Engineering or other related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
- 2+ years of related experience in manufacturing environments; this could be in program management, engineering change management, production support, etc. Automotive industry experience is strongly preferred.
- Strong project management skills.
- Good technical understanding of processes and machinery.
- Proficiency in basic computer skills, including Microsoft Office (Excel and Word).
- Familiarity with Ford WERS and VPP systems is a plus.
- Exceptional organizational skills, including the ability to multitask and handle high-stress situations in a fast-paced environment.
- Robust attention to details.
- Demonstrated organizational, leadership and communication skills.
- Excellent written, mathematical and analytical abilities.
- Solid problem-solving skills.
- The ability to maintain confidentiality.
Role OverviewNote: this is a high-level overview of the role. To take a deeper dive into the details, see the Role Specifics tab.
Our Chicago facility has 300+ employees involved in material handling, assembly, and material sequencing. Our main deliverables are fascia (dashboards), front and rear bumper assemblies, and overheads (interior cabin headliners/ceilings). Upcoming major programs include the implementation of a new suspension line and significant changes to overhead assembly. We currently support Ford Explorer and Taurus models.
Reporting to the Engineering & Maintenance Manager, you will lead cross-functional teams in program launches and changes, executing against Business System and Product Delivery Process (PDP) guidelines. This will include:
- Collaborating with the Program Manager to establish and communicate to the plant team the program-specific deliverable requirements with respect to timing, quality and completeness.
- Monitoring, tracking and reporting progress.
- Ensuring the overall quality of plant PDP deliverables are met.
A smaller project might involve adding a device to headliners to power new features, and may last a couple of weeks. In either case, there will be a lot of details for you to handle, from defining requirements to establishing timelines to ensuring progress to goals.
Role SpecificsNote: this is a detailed description of the role. To get the 30,000-foot view, see the Role Overview tab.
As Product Launch Manager, you will:
- Coordinate engineering change management Plant side responsibilities for new and current programs, driving quoting, costing, planning and implementation. This will include co-sharing change management meetings with the Program Manager.
- Ensure new product/process development to a level of production feasibility within allocated timing, meeting all objectives of the development program including investment (tooling and equipment), product cost, product performance, and quality.
- Assure appropriate program planning to confirm that manufacturing development is consistent with established program objectives and company needs, including:
- Content: Consistent with program objectives.
- Cost: Maintained within program targets.
- Tooling: Maintained within program targets.
- Quality: Program objectives met.
- Supplier base: Establish base to meet program requirements.
- Program readiness: Meet all targeted timing and production scheduling.
- Collect all plant design inputs, including process-driven product design inputs for product engineering.
- Coordinate and maintain communications with the customer and Plant Operations for all program activities.
- Lead all plant-based program phase and gate review activities.
- Communicate engineering change issues that may jeopardize the status of a program to management, as required.
- Follow up with other department activities to ensure engineering releases and changes are covered by necessary documentation and executed according to timing requirements.
- Ensure proper coordination and placement of materials within the pre-production area for new programs.
- Coordinate (daily supervision) labor to produce advance product builds on multiple programs.
- Support engineering trial runs on tooling, equipment, and / or products.
- Validate engineering documentation (pads, process flows, PFMEAs, control plans) and ensure they are ready for the proper phase of the program.
- Document new model floor build.
- Support customer activities for wall walks, design reviews and implementation of key strategies.
- Support product / program transitions with current production engineering staff.
- Support Process Engineering with major engineering changes as required.
- Document all activities as required.
- Adhere to all company guidelines for emergency evacuation to ensure employee safety.
- Handle any additional responsibility deemed necessary by management.
What's in It for YouVisible, strategic impact
The programs you'll lead are at the top of our list of critical strategic initiatives, so your successes will be noticed. You will gain a broad view of our operations and build on your skills, setting you up to chart a career along multiple paths in Dakkota.
Once you join us, you will go through our Dakkota University Training program, which includes curriculum on safety, our vision and culture, and departmental and company training. Additionally, Dakkota has a generous tuition assistance program in which we pay for classes up front. Assistance is available to expand your skills and, if you desire, improve your career opportunities.
Driven by values
Dakkota CEO Andra Rush has created companies that do more than generate profit: they impact the local community and economy by providing training and putting Americans to work. Rush was honored by President Obama in his State of the Union address in January 2014, along with GM CEO Mary Barra, for demonstrating the "strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams."
Building community, creating jobs
At Dakkota, we strive to enhance the communities where we live and work by being environmentally and socially responsible and ensuring fair and equitable employment. We provide multiple opportunities for employees to make a positive impact on their community by devoting volunteer hours and resources to local charities, as you can see in the pictures here. We're always looking for new ways to make a difference. Our employees have supported organizations like the United Way, Salvation Army, and Autism Speaks, as well as local food banks and schools.
You will find a collaborative culture at Dakkota in which people enjoy working together toward common goals. In fact, we have vision and culture committees to help clarity and communicate those values. We are also strongly committed to diversity and have been awarded the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Console (MMSDC) Supplier of the Year Award the last three years. We also celebrate with birth announcements, seasonal picnics and parties, employee service awards, and more.
Awards and accolades
Dakkota is a highly respected, award-winning company. A few of our more recent accolades:
- 2016 Michigan Minority Supplier of the Year (MMSDC)
- 2015 National Minority Supplier of the Year (NMSDC)
- 2015 GM Supplier of the Year
- 2014 Michigan Minority Supplier of the Year (MMSDC)
- 2014 GM Supplier Quality Excellence Award
- And many others
In addition to a competitive salary and discretionary bonus potential, we offer excellent benefits. Our benefits include comprehensive and affordable medical, dental, and vision insurance programs; a 401(k) plan with company match; flexible spending accounts; company-paid employee life insurance and short-term disability insurance; paid holidays and vacations and more.
Keys to SuccessTo excel in this role you will have exceptional leadership skills, including the ability to influence and motivate others in a matrixed environment. It's also important that you develop relationships with key contacts within the plant. On the whole a collaborative approach will work well, but at times you will need to be assertive as you hold people accountable.
It should be clear by now that you will manage a lot of moving parts in a fast-paced environment. You'll need very strong organizational skills as well as the ability to track a large number of details. For example, with multiple programs and projects under way, you'll need to ensure that timelines don't conflict.
In addition, in order to be an outstanding Program Launch Manager, you will:
- Maintain a strong sense of urgency.
- Remain flexible and adaptable as priorities change.
- Bring a proactive approach and the ability to "think on your feet."
- Keep a constant eye out for opportunities to improve processes and efficiencies.
About UsDakkota Integrated Systems was formed in 2001 to create a minority contract supplier that could thrive in a fast-paced, cost-competitive environment to support automotive original equipment manufacturers. We have excelled at delivering quality, process control and innovative solutions for warranty and sustainability concerns to address our customers' needs.
Outstanding customer service and agility have propelled Dakkota from one facility with one customer to 13 facilities with GM, Ford, Chrysler, and many other customers in 13 years, earning launch and supplier partner awards along the way. Dakkota was among the first automotive suppliers to be awarded complete interior integration programs for General Motors. We dedicate resources to each new program and co-locate with our customers for a fully integrated approach.
Our in-house capabilities include:
- Extensive use of proven engineering disciplines: DFMEA, GD&T, FEA, VE/VA, and PFMEA
- Development of assembly tooling and fixtures
- Packaging development and validation for complete systems, including customer-directed components
Our vision and culture are firmly based on our high regard for our customers and solid respect for our employees. Dakkota strives to be considered to be one of the best places to work in North America, to maintain our reputation for best-in-class customer service, and to be known as a company that is "built to last."