Director, Warehouse Automation & MHE Robotics

| West Suburbs

Overview

Good people, working with good people, for our common good.

Sound good?

KeHE-a natural, organic, specialty and fresh food distributor-is all about "good" and is growing, so there's never been a more exciting time to join our team. If you're enthusiastic about working in an environment with a people-first culture and an organization committed to good living, good food and good service, we'd love to talk to you!

Primary Responsibilities

Directly lead and support the planning, analysis, design, project management, implementation, and operational sustainability of all distribution automation solutions.  The Director will lead this strategic, time sensitive objective at KeHE through collaborative efforts with the solution provider, local distribution center team, warehouse support resources and required third party business partners to successfully design, implement, operate, and maintain the automation solutions including the following:

  • Ensure that the automation solutions support world class Safety and Food Safety standards & meet all regulatory standards and the company’s expectations for employee health and welfare to mitigate risk. 
  • Act as a liaison between the solution provider and the local operating team to develop the core competency and skills required to successfully integrate the automation solution into the conventional distribution center environment
  • Support world class standards for food safety regarding storage, handling and order fulfillment capabilities associated with the automation solution
  • Support the local distribution leadership teams with superior internal customer service by driving automation objectives including timely execution, high quality installation standards, on-budget implementation, and effective performance management by collaborating with all project contributors and holding each accountable
  • Develop the ROI analysis and drive price negotiations with the vendor of choice to maximize the value proposition associated with the automation solution investment; ensuring that contractual performance obligations are exceeded

Essential Functions

  • Enterprise leader in the search, design, implementation, and execution of the KEHE automation & robotics strategy with a sense of urgency
  •  Drive change to ensure projects meet objectives.
  • Lead and drive projects, including the implementation of JDA WLM (Labor Management System, LMS).
  • Develop and maintain key operational metrics and reporting.
  • Closely manage various automation systems, third party relationships with automation vendors, and provide guidance to local management teams regarding day-to-day operation of automated solutions. 
  • Act as the lead key stakeholder in the development of the project justification including cost analysis, savings identification, sizing/preliminary design, and cost proposal for the planned automation solutions
  • Safely and Strategically manage the physical integration of the automation solution into our brownfield distribution centers such as floor conditions and concrete work, electrical and pneumatic energy supply, fire protection, lighting, and associated project objectives in coordination with vendor partners
  • Responsible for project milestones being achieved by holding contributors accountable for on-time/on-budget delivery of expectations
  • Lead and coordinate plans and activities with city, state and other officials for the appropriate permitting and ensure local codes and federal regulations are met, as needed
  • Develop and execute a collaborative process to evaluate the quality of the equipment installation to ensure the company’s expectations are exceeded
  • Lead and partner in the system commissioning and functional integration testing to gain alignment that pre-production acceptance criteria are met prior to scheduled launch
  • Lead as the Pilot Director for the project to validate that the expected KPI is being achieved including hourly production rates, inventory management and accuracy and operating expenses
  • Ensure Managers are well trained and extremely effective to ensure the operational optimization of the automation solution
  • Develop a process to evaluate the maintenance program to ensure the equipment is being properly serviced with the appropriate preventative/predictive maintenance cycles and parts inventory is effectively managed
  • Engage in the project completion ROI validation process to ensure the expected benefits of the project are being realized by the company
  • Responsibility for ensuring effective and efficient support of Regional and DC level operations management for sustainability of the automation solution
  • Participates with Senior Management in long and short-term company planning
  • Ability to lead others to a consensus and influence change.
  • Ensures compliance with applicable laws and regulations

Minimum Requirements, Qualifications, Additional Skills, Aptitude

EDUCATION/CERTIFICATION:

  • Bachelor’s degree in business or related field or equivalent work experience

SKILLS & EXPERIENCE

  • 7 plus years of proven innovative experience in distribution operations including mechanization, robotics, and automated order fulfillment solutions
  • 5 plus years of project management
  • Ability to travel 50-75% of time, as business needed
  • Success implementing warehouse automation, robotics, ASRS and controls systems
  • Knowledge of systems: WMS, WCS, LMS and PLC controls associated with automation solution integration and management
  • Experience with distribution operations including mechanization and automation technology, as well as MHE robots
  • Experience with building and facility maintenance including the proven ability to manage maintenance
  • Knowledge of local and national compliance codes and experience in municipality permitting as needed
  • Understanding of financial/accounting principles & budgeting
  • Proficient computer skills including, Visio, Excel, MS Word, MS Project, PowerPoint, AutoCAD, and Power BI software platforms
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and managerial skills
  • Demonstrate project management and successful implementation of complex initiatives
  • Proven ability to effectively manage accountability of self and others
  • Strong ability to leverage thought diversity to identify and execute innovative ideas
  • Strong communication skills, ability to establish direct relationships
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Ability to execute with speed and agility despite challenges
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Location

Easy commute off of I-88 | Walking distance to variety of cuisine options | LA Fitness in the complex (where you get a major discount) | ample parking

An Insider's view of KeHE Distributors

What’s the vibe like in the office?

KeHE is the perfect blend of hard work and diverse culture while maintaining a vibe that is fun and collaborative. It's not just a group of professionals paid to do the work, but instead everyone is part of a team working towards a common goal.

Moe Khan

Sr. Software Automation Engineer

How do you collaborate with other teams in the company?

As the Manager of UI/UX Design, we work alongside & collaborate daily with engineers, product managers, and KeHE stakeholders to advocate UX & consistency across applications. The most exciting part about working for KeHE, besides the great people, is innovation - leading us to deliver high quality digital solutions transforming the food industry.

Ashley Plumb

User Experience Manager

What are some things you learned at the company?

Engineering isn't just about writing code. Understanding the needs of our users and translating those needs into a better product is a huge part of our day-to-day. Writing clean, performant code is fun and exciting, but if we don't deliver a functional product to our users at the end of the day, none of that matters.

Daniel

Lead Engineer

What are some social events your company does?

This year, the IT department at KeHE held their inaugural hackathon. It gave us the opportunity to collaborate and strengthen friendships in the spirit of friendly competition, as well as work with new and emerging technology. I cannot wait to see what is in store for next year’s hackathon!

Anthony Gacek

Software Engineer

What are KeHE Distributors Perks + Benefits

KeHE Distributors Benefits Overview

We are proud of our comprehensive benefits package - one that protects our employees and their families. Some benefits are provided automatically at no cost. Other benefits are available by choice. The benefits we offer are an important part of our total rewards which includes pay, benefits, and long-term career growth. Unique to being an employee-owned company, our team members are eligible to receive shares in the company through our Employee Stock Ownership Plan. For our tech teams, remote work will continue to be an option.

Culture
Volunteer in local community
Partners with Nonprofits
Friends outside of work
Eat lunch together
Intracompany committees
Daily stand up
Open door policy
Team owned deliverables
Team based strategic planning
Group brainstorming sessions
Pair programming
Open office floor plan
Diversity
Dedicated Diversity/Inclusion Staff
Diversity manifesto
Diversity Employee Resource Groups
Health Insurance & Wellness Benefits
Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Disability Insurance
Dental Benefits
Vision Benefits
Health Insurance Benefits
Life Insurance
Wellness Programs
Mental Health Benefits
Retirement & Stock Options Benefits
401(K)
Company Equity
What is an ESOP? An ESOP is a retirement plan known as an “employee stock ownership” plan. Under this type of Plan, the Company makes contributions into employees’ accounts.
Performance Bonus
Child Care & Parental Leave Benefits
Child Care Benefits
Through KeHE's Flexible Spending Account option, employees can set aside pre-tax dollars towards child care expenses.
Flexible Work Schedule
Remote Work Program
Family Medical Leave
Vacation & Time Off Benefits
Paid Holidays
Paid Sick Days
Perks & Discounts
Casual Dress
Company Outings
Parking
Fitness Subsidies
Gym discounts nationwide.
Professional Development Benefits
Job Training & Conferences
Tuition Reimbursement
Diversity Program
Lunch and learns
Cross functional training encouraged
Promote from within
Mentorship program
Continuing Education stipend
We offer $2500 annually for continuing education.
Time allotted for learning
Paid industry certifications
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