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Director Continuous Improvement & Industrial Engineering

Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo Bioworks

Boston, MA, USA
Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2023
Our mission is to make biology easier to engineer. Ginkgo is constructing, editing, and redesigning the living world in order to answer the globe’s growing challenges in health, energy, food, materials, and more. Our bioengineers make use of an in-house automated foundry for designing and building new organisms.
As Ginkgo enters a phase where demand for our services have never been higher, we are building a new Operations function with the mandate to drive “scale” across the organization. Specifically, economies of scale at Ginkgo can be observed empirically from a relationship they refer to as “Knight’s Law” (loosely inspired by Moore’s Law for semiconductors). Since 2015, Ginkgo has witnessed an exponential increase in output (3x biological tests per year) alongside an exponential decline (50% reduction) in the average cost per test. To help continue this impressive trend, Ginkgo is building a Continuous Improvement & Industrial Engineering (CI/IE) team within the Operations function. This team will design and implement new tools, methods, and operating models necessary to further unlock the scale growth needed to achieve our long-term financial, operational, and commercial goals.
Reporting to Ginkgo’s Vice President, CI/IE, the Director, CI/IE, in coordination with subject matter experts across the organization, will identify, analyze, prioritize, and define/develop new ways of working that reduce complexity, improve predictability, and increase productivity of Foundry and non-Foundry activities. You will serve as a key change agent and strategic thinker that supports, promotes, and embeds new ways of working across the organization and practice good change management practices. You will have the experience & judgment to know when to apply new-to-the-world solutions versus practices perfected by other industries (Lean, Six Sigma, Kaizen, etc.). The Director, CI/IE will identify, develop, plan, and lead key strategic continuous improvement events and help drive execution of deliverables to improve efficiency, quality, and cost in alignment with corporate goals. Leading by example and through coaching/training the Dir, CI/IE will help drive an operational excellence mindset throughout Ginkgo by building the internal capabilities of the organization utilizing lean tools while also embedding a culture of Continuous Improvement.
In addition to the above, this role will specifically be focused on identifying, developing, and executing strategic cross-functional projects targeted at developing an Operational Excellence (OPEX) culture and to provide technical support and coaching across business units. As a strategic position, this role will be critical in establishing the OPEX Standards for Ginkgo and help audit against proficiency/adherence to those systems as directed by Site and OPEX leadership.
Please note: This role will be primarily based in our Boston, MA office however travel to other Ginkgo Bioworks locations will be required as needed.


  • Drive the change, own the results: act as a strong CI/IE practitioner with an understanding of leading practice in industrial transformation while also diving into the tactical path to unlocking capacity from Ginkgo’s most complicated operational processes. Execute measurable operational improvements all the way to Ginkgo’s P&L and balance sheet.
  • Identify & prioritize strategic CI/IE initiatives: we have ambitious growth goals that assume meaningful operational improvements. The Senior Director, CI/IE, in coordination with the operational teams, will define and execute upon the high-level targets, milestones, resources and timeline needed to deliver these improvements.
  • Define the standards of the OPEX program: through active engagement with cross departmental teams and assessing industry trends, help establish the standards of the CI/IE program for Ginkgo that outline the company’s unified approach on driving efficiency and effectiveness. These standard practices will help create a strong base for the CI/IE program to ultimately help deliver upon our operational improvement plan.
  • Build operational excellence into our infrastructure: design, implement, and refine managerial systems which make the “process of process improvement” simpler. For example: Standardize how we reactively and proactively identify, prioritize, track, and resolve operational issues; build governance, controls and KPIs around process improvement project delivery. Assist in the design of a playbook which defines how we drive operational excellence into businesses we incubate or acquire. Implement modern visual management tools, meeting cadences, and problem-solving templates.

Minimum Requirements

  • 10+ years of combined Continuous Improvement/Industrial Engineering, Business Operations Leadership, and/or plant manufacturing/engineering experience in a diverse set of industry, product, service, and volume/mix contexts (Ginkgo considers itself a “low volume, high mix/complexity” operation)
  • 5+ years of experience leading teams through in a rapid pace and high-complexity operational/service delivery environment with tangible repeatable results
  • 3+ years of experience at a company or consulting firm renown for Continuous Improvement/Industrial Engineering
  • Undergraduate degree in science or engineering: MS, MBA and/or PhD is a plus, but not required

Preferred Capabilities and Experience

  • Biotechnology, bioprocessing and/or life sciences experience is a plus, but not required
  • Project management certification/experience is a plus, but not required
  • Enthusiasm about being a part of Ginkgo’s mission and driving results
  • Demonstrated understanding of the Continuous Improvement/Industrial Engineering toolset and clear thinking around which methods/tools should be deployed in which contexts
  • Strong financial acumen with a firm understanding and ability to link efficiency improvements to bottom line results
  • Comfort with leading cross-functional transformations; recognizes the importance of proactive change management with a sensitivity to company culture
  • Ability to define and build new operating models and processes in complex/ambiguous environments
  • Ability to quantitatively capture initiative deliverables and link these outcomes to our corporate targets & company strategy & vision
  • Strong problem-solving and analytical skills, with a history of strong business judgment; reflexively reverts to first principles instead of dogma
  • Excellent verbal/written communication skills and attention to detail, with the ability to efficiently organize information, analyze large datasets, and present data in a clear and impactful manner
To learn more about Ginkgo, visit or check out some curated press below:
We also feel that it’s important to point out the obvious here – there’s a serious lack of diversity in our industry, and that needs to change. Our goal is to help drive that change. Ginkgo is deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its practices, especially when it comes to growing our team. Our culture promotes inclusion and embraces how rewarding it is to work with people from all walks of life.
We’re developing a powerful biological engineering platform, so we must remain mindful of the many ways our technology can – and will – impact people around the world. We care about how our platform is used, and having a diverse team to build it gives us the best chance that it’s something we’ll be proud of as it continues to grow. Therefore, it’s critical that we incorporate the diverse voices and visions of all those who play a role in the future of biology.
It is the policy of Ginkgo Bioworks to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and employment applicants.