Job Opportunity for Operations Manager at Oorja in Lucknow

Website Oorja

Base location: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
Travel requirement: 80% of time or more
Earliest start date: 1 September 2022

About Oorja

Oorja ( is an award-winning social enterprise based in New Delhi. We are on a mission to empower 10 million farmers globally by 2030 with the agricultural solutions they need to sustainably increase their income and quality of life.

Oorja is a Farming-as-a-Service company working at the intersection of sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. Our focus is on powering beneficial appliances that help users to generate stable incomes, create jobs, and mitigate carbon emissions. Despite urgent need, around 90% of marginal farmers cannot afford to invest in solar technology for their farms. Oorja wants to close this gap. We finance decentralised solar energy systems for community use. Oorja sells irrigation, milling and cooling as affordable services on a pay-per-use basis to smallholder farmers, without any upfront cost to them. We operate in rural areas of northern India where farmers are currently reliant on polluting and expensive diesel motors for their energy needs.

Our core strengths are our inclusive, farmer-centric business model and a diverse and driven team with shared passion for sustainable development. Some of our funders and partners in this mission are:

Role Background

Oorja is seeking a seasoned Operations Manager to join its senior management team. You should bring a minimum of 7 to 8 years of overall experience working in rural India, including 1 to 2 years in a management position. You will be stationed in field locations and lead a multidisciplinary team across various disciplines including business development, sales, engineering, customer service and advisory. The focus will be on day to day management of this talented team to build the project pipeline, acquire customers and land and implement new solar projects, deliver timely services in exchange for cash payments, and push up sales and utilisation at existing assets. You will also handle partnerships with ground organisations including FPOs, FPCs, NGOs, foundations and development organisations. This is a highly entrepreneurial role and the ideal candidate will bring a demonstrated track record of achievement in a high-growth venture. You will be required to travel frequently between our project sites in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other neighboring states we may expand to in future. You should have excellent spoken and written communication skills in English and Hindi.

Key Duties

• Day to day management, coordination and supervision of the field teams (current size: 11)

• Independent planning and supervision of implementation of new solar projects

• Building financial and non-financial partnerships with local organisations

• Scheduling and making regular visits to sites, Operators, customers and partners

• Designing and implementing efficient processes and systems, including digitisation

Roles and Responsibilities

The Operations Manager’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

• Independently coordinate, supervisor and monitor progress of field teams consisting of both and non-technical staff (including Project Engineer, BD Executive, Solar Technicians, Project Assistants, Agronomist, Sales & Collections Agents, and Operators)

• Ensure field teams are adequately staffed; identify any gaps in capacity within the team; interview, recruit, hire, onboard and train new hires

• Professionally manage direct reports: set goals, provide feedback, motivate and coach employees, conduct performance reviews, provide them mentorship and growth opportunities

• Strive to build a collaborative and effective team dynamic: organise regular team meetups and activities; communicate and exhibit core company values; proactively resolve internal issues

• Independently lead project planning and implementation: plan timelines and milestones, ensure deliverables (project commissioning, sales targets, timely repairs and maintenance) are all achieved within pre-defined budget and timeline

• P&L responsibility: prepare and monitor budgets; monitor the net income after expenses for the field team; ensure company resources are allocated and used efficiently and transparently

• Analyse sales, utilisation, customer and project data and use it to diagnose asset performance, devise and implement strategies to increase customer base and drive up sales volume

• Where appropriate, define and implement new operational policies, processes and standard operating procedures to reduce costs and improve efficiency; formulate solutions to problems observed repeatedly in the field

• Ensure the company’s procedures and policies are followed; report any deviance to leadership

• Provide regular progress updates to leadership and board members, in spoken and written form

• Build and maintain local partnerships with relevant ground organisations including foundations and development organisations such as GIZ and Aga Khan Foundation and farmer collectives (FPOs, FPCs), community organisations, local government departments and other stakeholders

• Regularly inspect all operational solar sites to supervise activities of Operators; schedule and make regular visits to customers, partners, suppliers and contractors

• Lead the digitisation of cash payment records and integration of new digital payment methods (mobile money, online banking, etc).

Specifically, the management duties will include managing the team to accomplish the following:

• Site selection and land acquisition – conducting screening, focus group and individual farmer demand assessment surveys, technical assessment of potential sites, identification of land, negotiation of rent, and preparation, signing and notarisation of land lease agreements

• Community mobilisation – formation of farmer groups, customer sign-ups, membership fees collection and distribution of membership cards

• Hiring and training – pump and cold storage operators from the local community, sales and collections agents from the local area, training and upskilling them

• Procurement and inventory management – coordinating timely delivery with the supplier, taking delivery of equipment, safe warehousing and storage, maintaining inventory in excellent condition, providing inventory report to management as per documented methodology

• Project operationalisation and maintenance – construction of borewells, pump rooms, fencing, installation of lamps, affixing site IDs, distribution of registers to operators for recordkeeping, regular cleaning of PV panels, billing, on time payment collections, cash reconciliation and deposit in bank

• Sales and service – increasing number of customers at each project, increasing utilisation of assets, providing incentives and promotional offers to customers to increase sales, providing outstanding customer service, problem investigation and diagnosis, problem closure and review

• Marketing and communication – for customer acquisition use materials such as banners, stickers, explainer videos, t-shirts and flyers, conducting local community meetings and focus group discussions, identifying and mobilising local champions to spreading the word, demonstration of crop diversification at test plots

• Training and capacity building – development of training curriculum, technical and operational training of operators as per the manual, organising farmer training workshops

• Impact management and measurement – implementation of the M&E framework, collection of baseline and periodic impact data using standardised surveys, data entry on a digital platform

Qualifications & Skills

• 7 to 8 years of overall professional experience, including working or doing business in rural India

• Minimum 1 year’s experience in a management or leadership position; capable of managing field staff with diverse backgrounds

• Master’s in Agribusiness, Commerce or relevant discipline

• Excellent and confident communication skills in Hindi and English (verbal and written)

• Entrepreneurial, motivated and self-starting candidate; ability to translate targets into actionable plans, timelines, budgets

• Street-smart with the ability to solve problems effectively

• Extremely well organised with good documentation and reporting skills

• A good team player, with ability to work independently with minimal supervision

• Willing to interact frequently with customers and travel long distances for 15 days in a month or more

• Ability to deliver and achieve targets under pressure and tight deadlines

• Proficiency with computers; experience working with CRM software, billing/payment technologies suited to rural customers is an advantage

• Quantitative skills: ability to clean, analyse and present data in MS Excel and PPT

• Profit and loss (P&L) monitoring and budgeting skills

• Valid driver’s license and willingness to travel 50% or more of the time

What We Offer

• A highly enthusiastic, self-driven international team

• A melting pot of diverse talents – development professionals, researchers, engineers, farmers, scientists and community mobilisers

• Competitive remuneration package

• Comprehensive health and accident insurance

• Interesting field of work where you will build your understanding of solar technology and the development sector

• Close mentorship for career development

• A flat and open work culture and friendly work environment

• Experience and responsibility at an award-winning company in the renewable energy and agritech industries, among of the fastest growing segments of the global economy

• The chance to make a difference and to help improve people’s lives.

How to Apply

If this opportunity appeals to you, please send your application by filling the online application form

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