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Continuous Improvement Manager

Date: Jun 10, 2022

Location: Ashland City, TN, US, 37015

Company: A. O. Smith Corporation

Company / Location Information

Water technology is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. As a leading global water technology company, A. O. Smith Corporation (NYSE: AOS) is at the center of the trend. We are a $3 billion company with over 140 years of history and 15,000+ employees. Our emphasis is on hot water and clean water; we are one of the world’s largest manufacturers of residential and commercial water heating equipment as well as a supplier of water purification products in a number of emerging countries.

With manufacturing operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, India, and Europe, we have the reach to serve customers worldwide.


A.O. Smith is committed to continuous improvement and maintaining a culture that values and respects our employees. We have programs in place to help our team members achieve their potential and when you join our team, you will receive rewards and recognition for your contributions, training and professional development opportunities, as well as a variety of benefits to support you and your family's health, well-being, and financial future. If you are inspired to learn, take risks, and succeed as a team, you can build an amazing career at A. O. Smith.


This position is a golden opportunity to work directly with a winning team in Ashland City, TN that deeply believes that people are our most precious resource. Culture change starts with our daily behaviors and that each of us has the opportunity to improve the lives of others every day. We need someone who is just as passionate about our values of bringing everyone along with us on this continuous improvement journey to meet our customer's needs and deliver business results.

Primary Function

Incumbent will use coaching skills, teaching skills, and effective change management techniques to support the implementation of the A. O. Smith Operating System.  The A. O. Smith Operating System (AOSos) encompasses the philosophies, lean tools, and managerial behaviors to drive a highly engaged culture of people solving problems or innovating to drive business performance every day.  This position will specifically be responsible for activities occurring within the Ashland City, TN site and integrating with corporate and cross-divisional Operating System activities.  The incumbent will primarily be the Lean teacher, coach, and mentor for site leadership and business resources.  In addition, the incumbent will have responsibility for the coordination of the transformation of the site to fully utilize the A. O. Smith Operating System.   


*For purposes of this document, the terms “lean”, “Continuous Improvement”, and “CI” are used interchangeably.


  • Lean Teacher, Coach, & Mentor 
    • Serve as a teacher, coach, and mentor of business leadership on how to effectively participate in and emulate the behavior of the A.O. Smith Operating System.  Work with business leaders to drive the lean transformation.  Bridge gaps between knowledge and skills to support leaders in their learning activities.
    • Work with BU leadership to install lean tools and supporting managerial systems to support their business objectives.  
    • Responsible for CI employees’ development and training.  
    • Work with HR leadership to define training plans and development schedule for business unit leadership, members of the local CI Organization, targeted employees, and employees at-large.  
    • Coach/Teach targeted employees though Kaizen events and one-on-one coaching sessions, as required, to facilitate their development.  Coordinate improvement events across single site or multiple locations, as business needs dictate.
  • Training curriculum and content
    • Assist in designing lean training curriculum, including experiences and kaizen participation, for multiple segments of the organization
    • Provide input to develop content for Lean tools training that will be used across the company.  
    • Be intimately familiar with available Lean Training Resources (Online tools, established presentations, videos, and simulations) to be able to recommend or facilitate, as needed.
    • Identify areas that require outside expertise to develop onsite skills that are currently missing.   
    • Assist in creating and managing company CI documentation governance and use standards 

Role Specific Responsibilities

  • Coordinate execution of A. O. Smith Operating System Adoption  
    • Serve as the liaison and main point of contact between the BU and the corporate Enterprise Excellence Office- partnering to ensure consistency in approach, language, and application of the A.O.Smith Operating System.
    • Lead the conducting of “Lean Maturity” Assessments and development of improvement paths based on results and business needs
    • Audit and participate in events to ensure that the A.O. Smith Operating System protocols are understood, being followed, and standard methods are used.  Serve as conduit between the Enterprise Excellence Office and local leadership to continually improve those protocols based on real-world application experienced during implementation.
    • Utilize corporate social networking tools to engage in a “community of practice” for lean practitioners within A.O. Smith
  • Strategic planning & Project Management
    • Facilitate strategic planning sessions for business units or functions.  Provide guidance on how lean tools can be used effectively to support business objectives.
    • Provide input on A. O. Smith organizational strategies, implementation strategies, and process development regarding Enterprise Excellence applications
    • Teach and coach staff members on Project sponsor duties and assist in developing solid project management practices
    • Facilitate monthly portfolio management reviews.  Work with business owners to ensure the integrity of the process
  • Additional Interaction
    • Actively participate in the Enterprise Excellence Community of Practice including CI Summits and monthly learning activities (calls, webinars, book club, etc.).
    • Provide input on A.O. Smith Operating System organizational strategies, implementation strategies, and process development
    • Actively participate in adjusting A. O. Smith Operating System implementation roadmap to create and continuously improve our implementation standards.


  • Bachelor’s degree required, engineering degree preferred
  • MBA preferred but not required
  • Minimum 8 years’ experience implementing lean tools and thinking in manufacturing or transactional environments
  • Increasing levels of responsibility over the course of career
  • Demonstrated ability to lead a team, document improvement results, and effectively communicate those results
  • Demonstrated ability to manage a complex project to successful completion
  • Lean/Six-sigma certifications are a plus, but not required
  • PMP certification a plus, but not required
  • Coaching certification is a plus, but not required

We Offer

This position offers the chance to be part of something truly exceptional. A. O. Smith is taking a people-centric approach to their Lean transformation and this position affords the opportunity to join a team whose mission is to improve the quality of life for people.


Competitive base salary and comprehensive benefits plans which include medical and dental insurance, company-sponsored life insurance, retirement security savings plan, short- and long-term disability programs and tuition assistance.

Nearest Major Market: Nashville

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