Continuous Improvement Manager,

United States, Mississippi, Columbus

Business unit: Pulp & Perform. Chemicals

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.


Discover the opportunity to join an international, dynamic, and responsible company that fosters the development of its employees globally. We want to be the best – to use our leading market positions to deliver a leading performance – and for that, we need YOU! Find out how our values make AkzoNobel the employer of choice.
The Pulp & Performance manufacturing site in Columbus, MS has an outstanding opportunity for a passionate, experienced professional to assume the role of Continuous Improvement Manager (CIM).  This position is responsible for delivering a functioning Continuous Improvement (CI) program to improve the real result key performance indicators (such as safety, OTIF, cost, material efficiency, quality and inventories) of the site. The role is therefore actively involved in establishing a support structure to develop CI capabilities and mind-set with guidance from the central Lean Six Sigma (L6S) Black Belt / CI Expert group - thus acting as an agent for culture change.
The CIM champions, develops and sustains a culture of continuous improvement (CI) and embodies knowledge about related methodologies/ activities (L6S and AkzoNobel Leading Performance System (ALPS)) across all areas of the site with a strong focus on manufacturing and operations. This role personifies the L6S capabilities and way of solving problems, making decisions and setting standards and as such actively practices, coaches and trains according to the L6S methodology. The CIM therefore is at least CI Expert (Black Belt) and must be certified according to AkzoNobel corporate standards by 31 Dec 2017 at the latest.
This position reports into the Site Manager and is part of the local Management Team. 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.
With more than forty years of experience in the pulp and paper industry, we help our customers achieve their business goals in ways no one else can. We are both the leading global supplier of bleaching chemicals and a trusted partner for customized pulp bleaching technologies and services.The Columbus site primarily produces hydrogen peroxide and sodium chlorate. The site sits on 300 acres and operates 365 days/year 24 hours/day. The site employs approximately 100 employees and is considered an employer of choice in the area. 
Job Responsibilities:
Embed CI culture
- Champion, develop and sustain a culture of continuous improvement (CI) and knowledge about related methodologies/ activities (L6S, 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 (L6S) 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.
- Lead/ support the local ALPS implementation and build-up of required capabilities and ensure ALPS full and successful implementation and practical application on a daily basis
- Champion deployment of change management processes and tools to realize the business strategic objectives.
- Coach one CI level lower (i.e. Advanced or Lead) CI Practitioners and local staff/MT on site and give reinforcement training on selected topics.
- Provide training to local organization (ALPS, CI Practitioner (Yellow Belt), Champions- and Awareness training)
Complete projects
- 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 (a.o. Safety, OTIF, cost, material efficiency, quality, and inventories) of the site
- Run own improvement projects delivering value to the organization
Maintain 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
Communicate results
- 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
- Report results in ANT
- Publish articles and success stories in AkzoNobel internal media
Supervisory Responsibilities:
This position does not have any direct reports.
Training Requirements:
The CIM therefore is at least CI Expert (Black Belt) and must be certified according to AkzoNobel corporate standards by 31 Dec 2017 at the latest.
Physical Requirements:
This position will require the person to be in a chemical plant environment and every area of the plant.  The individual will be required to walk up stairs, they may be required to wear a respirator, and visually be able to see data and readouts.
Work Environment:
Office, Lab, Maintenance Shop and Production Environment.

Vacancy data


Job characteristics

Closing date

December 31, 2099

Vacancy number



North America


United States





Business unit

Pulp & Perform. Chemicals

Sub business unit

Bleaching Chemicals NAEA

Job family


Hierarchy level


Full time/part time


Contract type


Job requirements/Candidate profile

- 10+ years of relevant work experience (operations, production, maintenance, logistics, (process) engineering, continuous improvement, etc.)
- Masters / Bachelor degree (degree related to technical, business or economics fields most applicable).
- 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, Lean Six Sigma, TPM
- CI Expert (Black Belt) for the large sites (Bohus, Stockvik, Alby, Columbus (GA), Jundiai), CI Lead Practitioner (Brown Belt) for the small sites (the remainder), at the latest certified according to AkzoNobel corporate standards by 31 Dec 2017.
Lean Six Sigma topics
- 7 wastes, VA/NVA
- DMAIC cycle
- Data staging, data worlds, sample size and power
- Process and Value Stream maps
- Distribution, standard deviation, capability analysis and sigma level
- Measurement system analysis, Gauge R&R
- Single/multiple/logistic regression, ANOVA, residual analysis
- Descriptive statistics, control charts
- Root cause analysis, FMEA
- Idea generation/ brainstorming and selection
- Control and implementation plans
- 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 experience
- Extensive experience in coaching and engaging others; able to impart knowledge to others
- Able to multi-task in high-pressure environments
- Excellent communication, presentation and conflict resolution skills on all organizational levels; ability to gain respect and trust through situational leadership and integrity and inspire others to follow and participate in the change process
- Fluent in English, both verbal and written
- Strong computer skills (PowerPoint, Excel, Word, SharePoint, JMP); able to prepare various formats of documentation associated with CI programs
- Requires some travel
Behavior and Personality Features
- Risk-friendly and self-directed, able to take a decision quickly within uncertainty
- Comfortable in quickly changing environments with steep learning curve
- Passionate about change and striving for exceptional performance
- Competent leader
- High self-confidence and ability to deal with resistance
- Active listener
- Highly organized and can keep the “big picture” in mind
- Reliable
- Customer focused
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)