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Company Name:
Approximate Salary:
Not Specified
Hopkins, Minnesota
United States
Project Management
Position type:
Full Time
Experience level:
10 years or more
Education level:
Master's Degree

Senior Manufacturing Continuous Improvement Specialist

Working at Cargill is an opportunity to thrive—a place to develop your career to the fullest while engaging in meaningful work that makes a positive impact around the globe. You will be proud to work for a company with a strong history of ethics and a purpose of nourishing people. We offer a diverse, supportive environment where you will grow personally and professionally as you learn from some of the most talented people in your field. With 150 years of experience Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. We have 150,000 employees in 70 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work. Learn more at


Cargill Dressings, Sauces & Oils refines vegetable and tropical oils and animal fat for a wide range of food and nonfood manufacturers. We also make shortenings, frying oils, mayonnaise, dressings, and sauces for the foodservice industry.

The business operates seven oil refineries, five shortening and oil packaging plants, a mayonnaise production facility, a dressings plant and a culinary sauce facility, all of which are located in the United States. We also operate an edible oil refinery in Mexico.

Customers include major food manufacturers and quick-service and casual-dining restaurant chains. Dressings Sauces & Oils is integrated with Cargill's soybean crushing activities, which provide a reliable source of crude soybean oil for further processing.

Position Purpose

The Senior (Sr.) CI Production Excellence (PE) Specialist II is responsible to drive execution of the Production Excellence (PE) strategy and approach for GEOS NA. Using specialized knowledge, provides guideance for the overall Continuous Improvement portfolio across GEOSNA, conducts CI activities with moderate project cost, risk and process ambiguity across GEOS NA. This includes portfolio development, organizing and direct oversight of GEOS NA CI workshops, Kaizen, Stable Ops, and other manufacturing and process optimization events. The Sr. CI-PE Specialist also assists the CI-PE Manager in portfolio development, governance and control; project execution, value realization and measurement; capability and culture development; business partnership, and stakeholder management; and people, talent and budget management.

Principal Accountabilities

50% -Project Execution, Value Realization, and Measurement

  • Works in partnership with leaders on the identification and execution of continuous improvement plans and oversees tactical project completion. 
  • Assists with CI program administration and coordination, including the development and execution of continous improvement deployment plans. Accurately forcasts project value targets and costs in alignment with business strategy. 
  • Uses advanced knowledge to develop and manage CI project plans for projects with moderate cost and risk (e.g. POC, Stable Ops), and assures project goals and objectives are attained and sustained. Identifies and documents variances from project goals and objectives, and communicates status reports, issue logs and risk areas to leadership for GEOS NA.
  • Ensures the stated values from projects are delivered to Cargill’s bottom line. Tracks and reports the value creation and develops sustainment plans to ensure sustainable results.
  • Facilitates and coaches teams to deliver improvement in process capability, productivity and quality through implementation of CI philosophy, theory, and application tools / tactics. Uses experience to drive process improvement initiatives throughout GEOS NA.
  • Independently manages the daily execution of value stream processes, sub processes and work streams to ensure completion of milestones on time, task and within scope of projects with moderate cost and risk
  • Sets and continually manages project goals and objectives with team members and other stakeholders.
20%- Capability and Culture Development (Collaboration)
  • Drives collaboration and team based problem solving
  • Identifies, monitors, and implements continuous improvement best practices. Leads cross-functional teams to select and implement tools and methodologies that will enable capturing best practices.
  • Drive continuous improvement capability and culture change for GEOS NA level projects with moderate levels of process ambiguity through best practice sharing, vocal advocacy, and visible leadership, which includes the objective of identifying and implementing opportunities.
  • Act as a subject matter expert to provide advice and coach GEOS NA teams on CI, providing services and support for teams to be systematic in their approach to develop and improve processes for sustainable, long-term success.
  • . Assist execution of performance metrics to measure program success through value realization analysis, value tracking process, progress reports and dashboards to ensure project targets (financial, productivity, defect reduction, etc.) are achieved for projects with moderate cost and risk.
  • Assess organizational readiness for the changes, and CI project efforts.
  • Prepares presentations, communications, and training materials to enable change management and success of CI project initiatives for GEOS NA.
  • 10%-Portfolio Leadership, Governance and Control
  • Focuses on organization readiness assessments, value realization, opportunity prioritization, resource evaluation and execution on CI strategies aligning with business strategies for GEOS NA.
  • Uses advanced CI knowledge to identify areas for stabilizing or enhancing the performance of assets or processes that improve business results.
  • Leads and manages teams across GEOS NA to analyze, develop and implement sustainable and quantifiable business process improvements.
  • Continuously analyzes and measures the effectiveness of improvements, and makes decisions for additional improvements to applications, processes and procedures with moderate levels of ambiguity.
  • Assists in implementation of governance models to ensure improvement projects, plans, methodologies and quality standards are consistently followed for GEOS NA. Leads teams to identify causes and solutions, and ensures decision outcomes (e.g. RASCI framework structures, Cargill’s long-term strategy, etc.) are followed.
  • Provides day-to-day leadership and oversight to groups through the continuous improvement process for projects with moderate cost and risk. Example projects include: refining yield, measurement system optimization,waste & scrap recovery and removal, packaging efficiency, resource utilization (water & energy reduction)
  • Maintains of the overall Continuous Improvement portfolio across GEOS NA. 

10%-Business Partnership and Stakeholder Management
  • Directly communicates and informs GEOS NA sponsors and stakeholders for projects moderate cost and risk to provide updates on the project objectives, performance measures, issues and risks. Stakeholders may include business or functional management leaders and/or teams, CI deployment teams, and other CI practitioners.
  • Seeks counsel to remove barriers to ensure completion of project milestones, and influences stakeholders to take action for a single BU/Function.
  • Establishes and maintains relationships with GEOS NA leadership.
  • Facilitates working discussions across GEOS NA teams, and maintains an open partnership with business users to identify and solve gaps in the CI process.
  • Works with GEOS NA leadership to ensure aligment of other projects, with CI program goals, objectives, plan and approach.
  • Challenges the status quo with business and Function leadership and other stakeholders to explore new ways to analyze, measure, execute and ultimately bring increased value to the asset or process.

10% -People, Talent and Budget Management
  • Responsible for managing CI development and coaching of up to 10 CI champions, Green belts, , POE’s, PPE’s, and their mangers. 
  • Responsible for managing the budget for individual deployments.
  • Responsible for aligning overall team resources to execute against strategies with moderate cost and risk.

This position is posted internally as well as externally




  • Bachelor’s Degree (±16 years) 
  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training
  • Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification
  • 7+ years work experience
  • 2+ years direct experience leading Lean Sigma and/or other continuous improvement projects or deployments
  • Substantial progress toward Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification
  • Experience utilizing data tools such as Minitab, OSI PI, RT Duet and other diagnostic tools.
  • Experience utilizing formal and informal networks within an organization to deliver results and remove obstacles for team membersProven ability to understand and communicate the role of diverse stakeholders within an organization
  • Demonstrated experience with effective communication of goals and strategies across multiple leadership levels of an organization
  • Proven ability to identify issues, obtain relevant information, and relate / compare facts from different sources to identify solutions 
  • Proven ability to use expertise, experience, and network to manage through ambiguous situations
  • Experience acting as a role model and coach, tailoring coaching techniques to situations, including CI project work
  • Demonstrated ability to manage deliverables, and timelines for self and others
  • Ability to communicate the program’s vision and mission, emphasizing how an individual’s work aligns with the strategic intent of the program and the organization as a whole
  • Proven ability to behave in accordance with Cargill values and ethics
  • Ability to travel up to 50%
  • Analytical Problem Solving: Able to identify problems; apply structured and disciplined methodology to identify root cause and cause-effect relationships using data
  • Ability to facilitate cross-functional teams
  • Ability to build strong working relationships
  • Demonstrated experience with effective communication of goals and strategies across leadership levels of an organization
  • Demonstrated knowledge of key business financial metrics and application to projects


  • MBA
  • Proven competency in Lean Six Sigma skills: DMAIC, Lean, Kaizen/Work at Black belt level 
  • Plant operations management, project management, or process engineering experience
  • Experience leading major change initiatives

 Equal Opportunity Employer, including Disability/Vet.