Plant Manager– Interior finishing manufacturer


This interior building product manufacturer is one of the three most recognised names globally. They operate from 43 production facilities in 13 countries, with an annual turnover of some €1bn globally and over £110m in the UK.


Having previously partnered our client on various roles the then Plant Manager outlined that he was due to take an internal promotion and thus needed a successor to his existing role.

The business had enjoyed sustainable growth in the UK, promoting further capital and people investment to achieve stout targets.  As with many of Mark Goldsmith's building product clients, this had stretched the existing plant, which was already running on 24/7 continual production.

The existing Plant Manager had come from a strong lean methodology and practitioner background and so emphasised the importance of driving this further as he had worked hard to drive a change and lean culture internally.  Unfortunately many at operative level had been with the operation for many years and culturally preferred the way the plant had always been run.


During our meeting, Mark suggested researching sectors in addition to the traditional building products marketplace.  Having recruited people from outside the sector previously Mark outlined various industries that a forward-thinking, leader of change would likely come from.  It was imperative the person had a strong appreciation of running a continual process, raw ingredient in - finished product out environment. Mark compiled and presented a target list of businesses to our client that sat within a 5050-mile radius.  This included large UK manufacturing sites of food, beverage, automotive, cosmetics and chemicals. From this list Collingwood identified and approached over 50 individuals who would meet the agreed specification.

Those headhunted candidates fitting our client’s needs were then progressed through to face-to-face interviews with Collingwood. At this stage in the process, we confirmed their experience, skills, personality, ambitions and more importantly, their cultural fit matched to the brief. Collingwood also provided behavioural profile tests on all shortlisted candidates, giving our client further evidence on their competencies and cultural fit.

Throughout the process, we also provided regular updates to the client with feedback and market intelligence on the candidate market, salary benchmarking and any reasons as to why the role was rejected by target candidates. 


Mark shortlisted five highly experienced candidates with relevant manufacturing change and people development experience. Only two came from a building product manufacturer. Two candidates were identified as high potential for the role and invited for a final stage. The individual offered came from a beverage background, having run a £200m plant, who had re-engineered the operation on a balanced scorecard basis, having introduced lean methodology throughout the site.  The offeree had been relatively content where he was and clearly would not have responded to an advert or had his CV held on a database.