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Lean Engineer 

EOE Statement Thorlabs values its diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.  
About the Organization Founded in 1989, Thorlabs seeks to accelerate the forward movement of scientific discovery and advancement! As a vertically integrated manufacturer of photonics components, instruments, and systems, our vast product portfolio includes over 20,000 items, ranging from optics and optomechanical positioning components to imaging systems, many of which are customer inspired.

Photonics is the foremost technology driving innovation in science and engineering. As the number of technological innovations has grown, Thorlabs has extended its core competencies in an effort to play an ever increasing role serving the Photonics Industry at the research end, as well as the industrial, life science, medical, and defense segments.

Headquartered in Newton, NJ, Thorlabs has grown to over 2100 employees with manufacturing and sales offices in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, China, and Brazil. As light-based technologies push into new markets, Thorlabs plans to enter early with the products and services required to ensure the ultimate success of our customers.  
Category Lean Manufacturing  
Location Corporate Headquarters - Newton, New Jersey  
Full-Time/Part-Time Full-Time  

Purpose of the Position


The position is responsible for initiating and driving continuous improvement (Lean) and waste elimination efforts and activities within the organization. Although the location of the position is in Newton, NJ, from time to time it may be required to undertake duties at other ThorLabs locations. 


Essential Job Functions include the following, but are not limited to:


  • Build and maintain a strong working knowledge of current lean manufacturing processes and tools; educate key people within the organization on the recommended approaches for continuous process improvement.
  • Lead training to implement identified strategies for improvement.
  • Prepare technical reports, case study documentation and training manuals.
  • Focus on continuous improvement to eliminate short and long-term problems.
  • Lead by example in an effort to influence, build commitment and understanding of lean principles (i.e. Six Sigma, Kaizen process) to accomplish the improvement goals for the organization.
  • Support constructive changes.
  • Assist in the development of the process model/maps.
  • Facilitate the setting of priorities, objectives, goals, measures and metrics for process improvement projects, ensuring that these are monitored and controlled.
  • Manage the team chartering process.
  • Ensure that a project plan is developed and agreed for each defined project.
  • Specify the appropriate lean process improvement methodologies and tools.
  • Work with team leaders to plan and lead improvement projects.
  • Involve executive management in improvement projects in an effort to eliminate barriers to team success.
  • Provide guidance to sustain improvement changes.
  • Communicate lessons learned and best practices from improvement projects.



In addition to the essential functions and duties listed above, all positions are also responsible for:

  • Meeting company standards pertaining to quantity and quality of work performed on an ongoing basis, performing all work related tasks in a manner that is in compliance with all Company policies and procedures.
  • Adhering to Company policies, procedures, and directives regarding standards of workplace behavior in completing job duties and assignments.

The Company retains the right to change or assign other duties to this position.


Physical Activities:

This position requires the ability to occasionally lift office products and supplies, up to 25 pounds.





  • Minimum 3 years of hands-on Lean experience in a manufacturing environment.




  • Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering or related field of study or equivalent work experience



Specialized Knowledge and Skills:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills; ability to communicate with individuals at all levels of the organization.
  • Formal training/certification in lean manufacturing.
  • Experience of facilitating and training a technical work force.
  • Strong ability to work in a multi-cultural environment and worldwide entities.
  • Proven experience in implementing six Sigma and lean manufacturing tools in a manufacturing environment.
  • Strong knowledge of MRP and Microsoft Office software and particularly spreadsheet applications.
  • Detail orientated.
  • Strong ability to work independently.




Ability to travel up to 20% of time as needed.


Organizational Relationships

Direct Reports:

This position has no direct supervisory responsibilities.


Thorlabs values its diverse environment and is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.  All qualified individuals will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identify or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age or veteran status. Job descriptions are not intended as and do not create employment contracts.  The organization maintains its status as an at-will employer.  Employees can be terminated for any reason not prohibited by law.


This position is currently not accepting applications.

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