Continuous Improvement Manager,

United States, Illinois, Morris

Business unit: Surface Chemistry

About AkzoNobel

AkzoNobel is a leading global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals, with leading market positions and brands in countries around the world. We operate in a number of important market segments ranging from buildings and infrastructure to transport, industrial and consumer goods. We’re also the sector leader in sustainability and are number one in the renowned Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In practical terms, that means our sustainable solutions are in your lives, and those of your friends and family, every day. We’re the people that make it possible for you to do what you need to do.


The Continuous Improvement Manager (CIM) role is responsible for championing, developing and sustaining a culture of continuous improvement (CI) and knowledge about related methodologies/ activities (Lean, Six Sigma, ALPS) across all areas of the site with a strong focus on manufacturing and operations.
The end-purpose is to improve the real result key performance indicators (Safety, OTIF, cost, material efficiency, quality, and inventories) of the site. The CIM is actively involved in setting up and establishing a support structure to develop CI capabilities and mind-set with guidance from central ISC - thus acting as an agent for culture change.
This role personifies the Lean Six Sigma (L6S) capabilities and way of solving problems, making decisions and setting standards. This is a position that reports into the Site/ Plant Manager and is part of the local MT. As such the role aligns with the specific local requirements and priorities and acts effectively and autonomously to support the operational performance in terms of quality, cost, delivery, HSE and people development.
The ideal candidate for the CIM position will have the experience and ability to:
Build organizational capabilities
- Champion, develop and sustain a culture of continuous improvement (CI) and knowledge about related methodologies/ activities (Lean, Six Sigma, ALPS) across all areas of the site with a strong focus on manufacturing and operations.

- Develop and expand local capabilities in applying continuous improvement tools and methods (Lean, Six Sigma) and promote a structured problem-solving approach. Inject passion for this activity by providing a vision and direction for the future development and performance of the site.

- Deploy and sustain the ALPS capability and improvement program including a coaching support structure to drive CI initiatives and ensure sustainability of improvements.

- Champion deployment of change management processes and tools to realize the business strategic objectives.

- Coach Advanced and Lead Practitioners and local staff/MT on site and give reinforcement training on selected topics.

Improve Site Performance
- Support and challenge the workforce and local MT in direction setting, prioritization (timing, resources, and sequence of actions) and implementation of improvement activities to best achieve the targets for the key performance indicators of the yearly site improvement plan. This includes the organizational and strategic deployment throughout the site.
- Review the ALPS operating framework (goals & targets, KPIs, operating processes, people) to ensure compliance with corporate and BA requirements and highlight to the site management team areas of concern to agree corrective actions.
- Contribute to improving the real result key performance indicators (e.g. Safety, OTIF, cost, material efficiency, quality, and inventories) of the site.
Drive and manage the Improvement Portfolio 
- Identify, validate, initiate and drive new improvement opportunities and promote the passion for excellence and delivering on commitments values
- Manage the improvement project funnel including scoping, project assignment, resource planning, tracking of progress and benefits and controlling sustainability of outcomes
- Run own improvement projects delivering value to the organization 

Lead and support the ALPS deployment on site
- Ensure ALPS full and successful implementation and practical application on a daily basis.
- Network within the AkzoNobel CI community and share insights, problems and opportunities to promote improved performance and problem-solving across the company as well as encourage others to do the same.
- Must have the ability to manage and coach others while creating an engaged, inclusive environment for the team.

Vacancy data


Job characteristics

Closing date

December 31, 2099

Vacancy number



North America


United States





Business unit

Surface Chemistry

Sub business unit

Surface Chemistry America

Job family


Hierarchy level


Full time/part time


Contract type


Job requirements/Candidate profile

- 7+ years of relevant work experience (operations, production, maintenance, logistics, (process) engineering, continuous improvement, etc.).
- Bachelor degree (degree related to technical, business, engineering, or economics fields most applicable). If higher vocational training then longer work experience is required.
- Strong analysis and problem-solving skills, able to identify and structure issues, run accurate (also statistical) analyses and synthesize recommendations.
- Experience in continuous improvement methodologies such as Lean, Six Sigma, TPM.
- Must be willing to train as an AkzoNobel continuous improvement expert as a minimum, within 12 months after assignment.
- Experienced, certified Black Belt strongly preferred.
- Confident and experienced in coaching others
- Good team player, knows how to build his/her own network
- Prior line management or team leader experience; knows how to use the skills and knowledge of the team to design and implement solutions
- Experience with practical implementation of change programs a plus
- Solid project and stakeholder management Desired Skills and Experience

Employment at AkzoNobel is contingent upon the successful completion of both a pre-employment background check and a drug screening. In some case, pre-employment physicals may also be required.

All candidates hired must be able to provide proper documentation of their eligibility to work in the US.

AkzoNobel is an E-Verify Employer.

AkzoNobel is an Equal Opportunity Employer – Minorities / Females / Disabled / Veterans (M/F/D/V)