Engineering Manager | UK

The Company

Oxford Lasers Ltd is a high technology company headquartered in Didcot, Oxfordshire. The company designs and manufactures complete laser-based systems, supplies subcontract laser manufacturing services and carries out after sales services. 

The laser systems are organized into two divisions; Industrial and Imaging. Micro-machining systems use a laser beam to make micron accuracy holes or cuts or precise ablation in a wide range of materials in leading hi-tech markets. Imaging systems use a laser to produce very short, intense pulses of light to image and analyse very small, fast-moving particles or sprays.  

The company was founded in 1977 as a spin-out from Oxford University and still retains its unique skills in laser technology and applications. 

The company has a Sales and Service Centre in Massachusetts and believes the US market offers considerable opportunities for further sales growth.  

The company was the subject of a Management Buyout in October 2006 and is 100% owned by the management. Since the buyout the company has grown organically and established an extremely strong financial and technological base. It has built a strong R&D department, based on externally funded projects, which provides a stream of new technology and leading-edge know-how to the rest of the company.  From this foundation it wants to exploit the expanding market for advanced laser products and to enter a new phase of strong organic growth.   

The Position

The Engineering Manager will be accountable for ensuring technical excellence in our products and that all development activities conform to the required design, safety, quality, and commercial requirements as appropriate.

The Engineering Manager will help to drive and deliver a culture of safety, quality, delivery, and cost management with the appropriate level of regulatory compliance across all relevant disciplines within the Engineering team.

The Engineering Manager acts as the management focus for the engineering team, ensuring that the business is supplied with the capacity and capability required to deliver against the demands of projects, and support to business development, operations and service support. The Engineering Manager is responsible for driving improvement into the team ensuring lessons learned and process inefficiencies are frequently reviewed and highlighted, with causes identified to driving continuous improvement in the team.

The Engineering Manager will become part of the management team and will work with their peers across the business to support business projects and process improvement.

The role may involve international travel. 


The Engineering Manager will report to the Operations Director and will be responsible for  

  • Supervision of the engineering team including priority setting, performance management and technical sign off of work packages
  • Leadership of technology transfer from R&D into production for new products, tools and processes
  • Leadership in product compliance working with internal and external resources as required
  • Supporting the development of the technology roadmap for Oxford Lasers
  • Leading the development of new products against this roadmap
  • The Safety, Quality and Design Compliance of all activities within the Engineering team
  • Understand key strategic and tactical objectives and manage the performance of all Engineering activities
  • Define and drive process development in the team and ensure process adherence and periodic improvement
  • Support the implementation and delivery of appropriate continuous improvement activities
  • Provide input to the annual budgeting processes
  • Drives performance within the team through the effective implementation of appropriate metrics
  • Advise and propose technology and product roadmaps and the underlying internal investment plans required to support the business strategy
  • Support the flow down of Functional objectives to the engineering teams and support their completion
  • Provide day to day management, tactical resourcing control and direction and prioritisation of the Engineering team
  • Support bid activities and review and approve the technical solution
  • Foster and maintain outstanding key customer (internal and external), supplier and stakeholder relationships
  • The management, development and welfare of staff covering morale, recruitment, selection, talent development and performance management
  • Compliance with the Company Policies and Procedures, and Company ethics

The Engineering Manager will work closely with several different departments within the company particularly Sales, Research & Development, Operations and Service.

Education, Experience & Skills

  • A degree or equivalent experience in an Engineering discipline
  • Proven engineering leader for high technology projects. Working knowledge of Project Management techniques
  • Experience of leading talented multi-disciplinary technical teams
  • Experience of taking products from concept phase through to the successful launch of a complex low volume product
  • Knowledge of Lean Manufacturing tools and techniques would be an advantage
  • Experience of dealing with product conformity to global regulations either directly or through the use of appropriate 3rd Party Assessors
  • Extensive knowledge and experience of Engineering Design Reviews
  • Proven ability to work and deliver, to time pressure and deadlines, using project management and change management disciplines
  • Demonstrated performance in team building, fostering organisational culture and delivering continuous improvement
  • Demonstrated high level in communication skills in dealing with stakeholders
  • The demonstrated ability to motivate people and influence change in line with company organisational values
  • Sound understanding of budgetary, accounting, and financial tools and processes

The Person

The position will be filled by a capable engineering leader who has had wide experience within a high-tech design or manufacturing business and has had to implement new products into real world situations. Although the successful candidate does not have to be an expert in laser micro-machining or imaging initially, they must have sufficient engineering background to learn the physics of the process, relate effectively to the experts within the company and (most important) be credible in front of the customer.

They must have the ability to comprehend the complete sequence of design, build, test, and customer acceptance and have the drive to ensure the product is delivered on time, to cost, and to specification. They must have the personal authority to gain respect and make things happen even where they don’t have formal authority.  

Typical experience could be in 

  • Specialist hi-tech design-and-build company
  • Design and project management for the introduction of highly technical production systems, instrumentation, or processes
  • Technology transfer from prototype to low volume manufacture for electro-mechanical equipment

Skills and Core Capabilities 

  • Experience of the design and production of individual, complex, customer specific hi tech products 
  • Provides leadership across the team and displays the appropriate behaviours in line with the Companies values
  • Strong written and verbal communication, able to influence internal stakeholders
  • Provides a leading example of professional behaviour to the team
  • Ensures effective mentoring of junior engineers and further development of senior engineers
  • Acts as an ambassador for the engineering function
  • Comfortable working in a high-tech business.  Able to command the respect of very technical staff.
  • Able to provide supervision, guidance and pace setting to technical staff
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills and the ability to relay information to all levels in the business  
  • Having the technical and scientific background to manage the development of very technical products
  • Exposure to the financial aspects of design and manufacturing, including margins and cash flow 
  • Able to represent the company with important customers displaying the highest standards of professionalism, sometimes in tense situations 
  • Strong technical leadership skills with a demonstrated track record of technical delivery and programme execution
  • Good Change management and Project Management Skills
  • Self-motivated, confident, and assertive
  • A demonstrated capability to work within, and adhere to, a defined set of organisational values

We offer

Oxford Lasers is an established laser company with 40 years history.  It is a stimulating, dynamic and rewarding environment with excellent colleagues.  We work with a diverse range of customers and applications and at the leading-edge of our technology areas.  In addition to this we offer

  • Competitive salary based on experience
  • 25 days holiday
  • Group Personal Pension
  • Private Medical Scheme (BUPA)
  • Permanent health insurance and death-in-service benefit.
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