Furnace Manager – Commodity Building Product


Collingwood's long-term client is one of the world leading manufacturers in their building product subsector. Turning over £75m from their site in the North, 650 tonnes is produced daily. Of seven sister sites in Europe, the UK is seen as flagship, running at 90+% efficiencies. Production is a continual process, running 24/7 and the UK boasts a full order book. Collingwood's brief with this site is to always recruit individuals with the ability to work under such pressures.


All of the 650 tonnes produced daily starts life off as raw material, running through the main furnace for the site. With a total rebuild of this furnace due in the coming years, Mark Goldsmith's main brief was to headhunt someone who would:

  • Manage the maintenance of furnace and associated line refractories.
  • Manage the team’s performance: productivity, quality, and continuous development. 


Simply put, the main challenge Collingwood had was a very tight brief for such a niche role. Given the parameters, Mark Goldsmith's task was to identify a Furnace Managers from manufacturers within a 30-mile radius of the client's location. Due to the size of the operation, target individuals would need to be working in a large manufacturing plant. 


Through researching manufacturers, Mark identified 31 such manufacturers of steel, glass, insulation and aggregate.  Within these manufacturers, he further drilled down into 49 sizeable sites. Upon agreeing on these sites with the client, Collingwood researched target positions within the sites, obtaining direct telephone numbers and email addresses.

Engaging with all Furnace Managers / Chief Macons, initially via phone, then following up on email, Mark gained interest from nine individuals. Five were rejected after a telephone screening stage and four were further interviewed face-to-face. Mark recommended three to the client and of these two were moved to the second stage - interviews with the client.


Due to Collingwood's approach and thorough investigation the local market, the manufacturer was able to make a very informed, objective decision. Offering the manufacturers preferred candidate, Mark Goldsmith managed a counter-offer situation and all the related processes through to a successful start. Interestingly, the client chose the Furnace Manager with arguably less on-the-job experience. Both Mark and client agreed he had the potential to grow into larger positions, providing the client with longevity and succession planning options for the long term.