Job opportunities in the Octopus Ventures portfolio

Octopus Ventures
Octopus Ventures

Engineering Operations Manager

Surrey NanoSystems

Surrey NanoSystems

England, UK
Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2024

Job Title: Engineering Operations Director

Department: Management

Location: Newhaven

Job Type: Full-time Permanent

Purpose of the role:

Deliver Coating Services through UK facilities, and manage subcontract manufacture of wet paint and its associated logistics channels

About Us

Surrey NanoSystems develops, manufactures, sells and applies its proprietary Vantablack coating systems. Its business is made up of sales of paint for application by the user, and application services, where Customers’ parts are coated in the Company’s specialist facilities.

Toll blending is effectively used for manufacture of wet paints, with the blender managing logistics and distribution on SNS’ behalf. The Engineering Operations Manager is accountable for establishing and maintaining necessary controls, particularly during New Product Introduction, Capital Projects and Engineering Change Requests. Close liaison with Product Management and Customer Purchasing and Logistics functions is required.

Coating services typically consume the largest proportion of the job-holder’s role. In most cases, Coating Services require application of SNS’ highest performing coating on mission-critical components. This requires nanomaterial dispersion, tightly-controlled spray application and post application dry etching (in order to deliver the class-leading optical performance for which Vantablack is known). Many requirements are for low-volume, high value parts, where significant technical and engineering effort is required to develop processes for specific parts, and deliver the necessary performance. In this context, technical familiarity with the necessary processes takes on equal importance to Operational skills in problem solving, management and continuous improvement.

Responsibilities and Duties:

Provide day-to-day leadership to Production Operations to ensure delivery to Quality, Time and Cost targets. This leadership will be hands-on, practical direction in developing part-specific tooling and processes (dispersion, spray, etch) for Customers’ parts.

Maintain Health & Safety to develop culture and ensure a safe, inclusive and engaging working environment

Provide day-to-day leadership of the Engineering Function to ensure Continuous Improvement of Operations performance

Support the Management Team in development of Company Strategy, Departmental Objectives and Organisational Structure as required

Maintain certification to ISO Quality and Environmental Standards

Maintain and develop IT support infrastructure and delivery systems

Key Skills and Ability


  • Technical Competence in Coating Service activities – tooling, materials, spray application, post-application surface modification
  • Production Management – scheduling and control
  • Line Management – Objective setting and review, Management of Personal Development and Discipline
  • Budgeting, Reporting, Inventory Management and Control
  • Management of Health and Safety


  • Purchasing and Logistics
  • Understanding of paint manufacturing, application and logistics (e.g. dangerous goods) requirements
  • Understanding Export Control and dual use regulations
  • Contract Negotiation, Employment Practices
  • Familiarity with RIE equipment, processes and techniques

Education and Qualification


  • Degree level in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics


  • Operational Research



  • Coating Application and Surface Modification techniques, analytical techniques (spectroscopy, semiconductor processing etc.)
  • Lean manufacturing methods, Kaizen/problem solving methods, operations improvements (e.g. 5S, DMAIC)
  • Desirable
  • Spray Application methods, paint manufacturing



  • Role in Technical Function related to the processes deployed in the Coating Service stream – CVD/plasma processing, Specialist Spray Applications, Spectroscopic Measurement techniques
  • 5+ years managing team of 10+ serving high technology Customers

Personal Attributes

  • Impact and Influence
  • Ability to deal with and manage ambiguity, particularly with early-stage Customer