Change

We are standardizing a number of processes in the company to benefit from our scale. We have defined a specific set of core processes that will help to build on the strengths of AkzoNobel company-wide. These are:

Behavior-based and process safety

We have had, and will continue to have, one approach to safety across the entire company, regardless of market sector or geography. This includes personal safety – which we refer to as behavior-based safety – and safety in our production activities, which we refer to as process safety. Within the innovation process, we will also be addressing product and process safety opportunities.

In 2012, we took a number of important steps with regard to behaving safely. Specifically:

  • TakeCare program
  • Life-Saving Rules
  • Substance management

Going forward, rather than inventing new processes or frameworks, our focus will be on disciplined and rigorous implementation of existing initiatives.

Operational Control Cycle

To ensure that we are dependable and focused on cash and return on investment, we need to have a coherent and disciplined operational management process. This process must take a forward-looking view. It starts with our end-user segment view and drives our planning, our actions and our continuous follow-up at various levels of the company.

Continuous improvement

As is the case with the Operational Control Cycle, a rigorous continuous improvement process is required. This applies not only in our factories, but also in other areas of our operations, such as office activities and distribution. In our continuous improvement process, we incorporate the following important concepts:

  • Continuous improvement starts with the customer
  • We must understand, standardize and improve processes that deliver customer value, seeking excellence by reducing variation (often referred to as Six Sigma activities) and waste (often referred to as “Lean”). By waste, we mean all forms of waste, including over-processing, time, skills and capabilities, in addition to process defects, over-production, wasted transport and inventory
  • We need to continuously learn using a structured plan-do-study-act (PDSA) approach, based on data and facts

Innovation

Effective and efficient innovation processes are fundamental if we are to care for the customer, in that good processes deliver products with better functionality, improved eco-efficiency and/or lower costs for customer and/or consumer benefit. This includes processes that enable delivery of opportunity identification, concept generation, solution development, commercialization and continuous improvement in response to customer and market needs. The focus will not only be in the area of new product development, but also on simplifying existing product portfolios and innovation in manufacturing and distribution processes.

Procurement

To leverage our scale, harness innovation and combine the capabilities of our suppliers with our own, we need to take an AkzoNobel approach to procurement. Sustainability is also becoming an increasingly important topic in our own discussions with suppliers. We have been harmonizing and standardizing processes such as strategic sourcing, key supplier and account management and operational procurement (including purchase-to-pay, or P2P) processes. Standardization of these processes will accelerate going forward.

Talent management

In order to deliver diverse and inclusive talent development, we must have one talent management process across the whole of AkzoNobel, which engages and motivates a high quality, diverse workforce. This talent management process includes:

  • Planning for talent needs based on diversity and inclusion goals and utilizing disciplined workforce planning
  • Attracting, acquiring and on-boarding based on a clear employee value proposition (see case study "Where your ideas go far")
  • Assessing performance and potential through performance dialogs, development planning, development centers and talent reviews
  • Development and retention via cross-BU/functional moves, challenging assignments, mentoring, coaching, learning (e.g. the AkzoNobel Academy)
  • Deployment of personnel based on solid succession planning and rich internal talent pools

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