The performance improvement program announced in October 2011 is making good progress and has exceeded its intermediate goal for 2012. Since the announcement of the program, benefits amount to €250 million (excluding €26 million contributed by Decorative Paints North America). The program conceptually consists of three building blocks: operational professionalization, functional excellence and business unit specific adaptations. Operational professionalization addresses issues such as product complexity reduction, procurement, manufacturing and distribution excellence, and margin management. Business unit adaptations and operational professionalization have contributed around 95 percent of the 2012 benefits, while functional excellence is primarily an important enabler.
The cost of the program for 2012 equaled €292 million, recorded under incidentals, including costs for the additional restructuring measures in Decorative Paints and excluding €17 million for Decorative Paints North America. Since the announcement of the program, around 2,100 people have left the company, of which approximately 360 in Decorative Paints North America.