Continuous Improvement Manager,

United States, Alabama, Axis

Business unit: Ethylene&SulfurDeriv,ISC

About AkzoNobel

Industries worldwide rely on our essential chemistry in the manufacture of everyday products such as paper, plastics, building materials, and personal care items. Building on the dedication of our employees and our shared commitment to safety, sustainability, and open innovation, we have established a world-class business and built strong partnerships with our customers. We operate in over 80 countries around the world and our portfolio of industry leading brands includes Eka, Dissolvine, Trigonox, and Berol.


AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals is world leader in the production of essential chemistry with operations in 80 countries and over 10,000 employees.  Here in North America, our Specialty Chemicals business operates across 22 production, research and office sites in Canada, Mexico and the United States, including the world’s largest fatty amines facility, located in Morris, IL. Nearly 2,000 employees in the region are dedicated to providing industries worldwide with the materials they need to manufacture everyday essentials such as paper, plastics, detergents, personal care and hair styling products, as well as key ingredients for the construction, oil and gas, agricultural, mining and pharmaceutical sectors. Building on our long-standing commitment to safety, sustainability and open innovation, we have established a world-class business built on strong partnerships with our customers. The global headquarters for two of our core businesses – Surface Chemistry and Polymer Chemistry – is located in Chicago, and the region as a whole accounts for approximately one quarter of Specialty Chemicals’ annual worldwide revenue. For more information visit

With leading market positions and global brands, our Ethylene and Sulfur Derivatives Business Unit ensures that industries worldwide are supplied with quality ingredients: chemical intermediates and performance chemicals such as cellulosic specialties, chelates, ethylene amines, micronutrients, polysulfides and sulfur products.

We are looking for a Continuous Improvement Manager (CIM) at our Lemoyne, AL site. 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, quality, throughput/OTIF, cost, inventories, and material efficiency) of the site. The CIM is actively involved in setting up and establishing a support structure to develop CI capabilities and mindset 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 position reports directly to the Site Director.

Key Objectives / Principal Accountabilities:

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 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
Level of Autonomy
- Physically conduct analyses (e.g. value stream mapping, waste walks)
- Conduct training (ALPS, Yellow Belt / CI practitioner, Champion, Awareness) for site management, middle management and staff
- Support site leadership in improvement project idea generation workshops and help charter new site CI projects
- Lead Lean Six Sigma projects for the local site
- Asses and prioritize improvement projects
- Follow up and calculate the benefit of the executed projects (in AkzoNobel Tracker (ANT))

Vacancy data


Job characteristics

Closing date

December 31, 2099

Vacancy number



North America


United States





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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 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) or CI Lead Practitioner (Brown Belt) 
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 -<10% 
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)