Insights and trends on augmented reality and advanced manufacturing technology

Meet OPS Solutions Senior Director of AR Sales Ed Sosnowski

As a leading global provider of practical augmented reality technology, OPS Solutions would be nothing without the world’s greatest team making it all happen behind the scenes.

In this week’s employee spotlight, we’re featuring Ed Sosnowski, a senior director of augmented reality sales who plays a key role in bringing Light Guide Systems to manufacturing organizations around the world.

Continue reading to learn more about Ed’s background and how he helps support our industry-leading team.

Tell us a little bit about your background before coming to OPS Solutions.

I have an undergraduate business degree from Michigan State University and a graduate degree from Lawrence Technological University in industrial operations. I have spent a majority of my career in operations positions for manufacturers in solar and automotive industries. Most of that time was as a lean practitioner or corporate lean role.

I was very active in the lean community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Great Lakes Region, and acting as the Chairman for the Board of Advisors for the Pawley Lean Institute at Oakland University.

I have also spent time in project/program management, helping launch joint venture facilities internationally in China and Italy for a solar company. More recently, prior to joining OPS, I took my first step toward sales, working for a technology company who offered enterprise resource planning and manufacturing execution systems to small- and mid-sized manufacturing companies in a technical sales capacity.

It was in that last role where I made the realization that I would enjoy the challenge of a sales position, and that I could utilize my background in lean and program management to become a successful sales person.

When did you start working for OPS Solutions and what made you decide to come work for the company?

I worked with CEO Paul Ryznar, CTO Will Sommerville and several other OPS employees during my time in the solar industry. Paul hired me as his “lean guy” when he was the VP of Manufacturing at that company. In the early years of OPS, the leadership team brought me in to see initial iterations of Light Guide Systems. I was blown away, and immediately saw the value.

I kept in touch with Paul and Will over the years, and one day got a call from Paul while he was in Germany driving on the autobahn. He told me it was time for me to come help OPS and that he thought my background would be perfect for a salesperson at the company. Once he told me about the team that he had pulled together—some of the top minds from our prior venture together—I was very interested.

When I had a chance to visit the headquarters, meet with my old colleagues and see how far the technology had advanced, I was sold. The combination of the technology OPS Solutions offers its customers and the team behind it made my decision to join a no-brainer.

What does a Senior Director of Augmented Reality Sales do?

On a daily basis, I am meeting with manufacturing companies who face the challenge of creating their products with higher quality for less cost at a faster pace. I will typically start out my relationship with a new prospect by introducing them to our company and our product via a web or phone call. Typically, that will evolve into more discussion and often a face-to-face meeting with a larger portion of their team.

In those meetings, I will typically walk the shop floor with them, observe the work they do and then go back to a conference room to discuss how our solution can help them improve their process. My background is very helpful in being able to observe the work, ask the right questions while touring the plant and then relate that back to the benefits of Light Guide Systems. So, a significant part of my job is establishing relationships and building awareness of what Light Guide Systems does.

Once a customer has purchased our product, I work with our engineering and installation teams to make sure they have a great experience from purchase through installation. As a technology partner, we want our customers to understand that we have been in their shoes and understand the demands of manufacturing, so we seek to be as responsive as possible when things come up.

We hear you’re a “Lean Manufacturing Enthusiast.” How did you become interested in Lean Manufacturing? 

I got introduced to the concept of lean manufacturing in a Material Logistics Management class at Michigan State during my senior year. I had a professor who taught a lean manufacturing summer session, and it was the most exciting class I had during my tenure there. He talked about real projects he had worked on and it captivated me.

A few years later, in the working world, I got the opportunity to start helping automotive companies reduce inventory from their supply chains, and I was able to apply things I learned in that class—such as vendor managed inventory, supplier kanban, etc.

From there, I continued to grow my knowledge and experience, eventually getting formal training in Lean and Six Sigma, and leading the lean journey in the continuous improvement department at an automotive supplier.

As I mentioned earlier, the more I learned, the more I enjoyed it and got involved in the lean community. So, even when I’ve been in jobs where my title didn’t include anything about lean, I always looked at myself as a practitioner because I tried to find ways to apply it to my work.

How does your Lean Manufacturing background tie into your role at OPS? 

Well, thankfully, I work with a team that knows me and saw the benefit of bringing me onto the team to assist in more than just a sales capacity. They knew that I could help drive improvement in the organization. So, aside from my day-to-day sales responsibilities, I get a chance to help drive good organizational lean practices within OPS Solutions.

I am responsible for the lessons learned portion of our operating system. It is a formal process we utilize to identify, document and resolve issues that come up in our daily work. I am also fortunate enough to be able to lead improvement, or kaizen, events with our team.

We recently took on a huge undertaking of revolutionizing our process from first customer inquiry through to project closure. The event was massive success and has significantly improved both our throughput of quotes and end-project quality by eliminating a majority of the sources of rework we were experiencing. That obviously ends up resulting in our customers getting the system they want on time, as designed and under budget—so we’re thrilled, as are our customers.

Finally, I have been super pleased to see how much lean thinking and good project management practices apply to sales. I continue to use lean practices daily to drive standardization into my routine and improve my productivity, which directly relates to customer responsiveness.

What is the most interesting Light Guide System you have worked on and why?

The most interesting Light Guide System I’ve worked on is an application with a customer of ours that builds custom countertops for the consumer building/home improvement market. They had a very manual process for setting up an order.

We worked closely with the customer to develop a custom solution that took drawings they made of each countertop and translated the drawings on the fly into a Light Guide Systems program. When the team members scanned the work order, our technology would illuminate the work surface to show them exactly where everything needed to go, to scale within less than a 1/4” tolerance.

This might sound easy, but this is over a maximum of 12’ long countertops, which requires multiple projectors. Converting these files to scale and then projecting them properly is no small feat. It’s this type of project that our team takes on with a “can do” attitude that absolutely blows me away.

The solution has completely eliminated the need for any manual measurement, and significantly impacted product quality. We expect significant productivity improvement to follow.

Interested in building a career at a high-growth company that’s redefining the future of manufacturing, or how to work with our team to enhance your own operations? Send us a message to learn more!

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Brian Close

Brian Close

Brian Close is the Executive Director of Sales for OPS Solutions. Brian has over 10 years of experience managing sales, manufacturing and engineering operations including managing implementation of new manufacturing equipment and processes with processes and managing $20M+ portfolio of contract engineering projects. Brian holds a BS, Materials Science & Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a MBA from the University of Michigan.
View all posts by Brian Close

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