Continuous Improvement Engineer


Asheboro, NC, US

On-site or Remote:  Onsite
REQ ID:  44922


With over 80 years as an industrial technology leader, Kennametal Inc. delivers productivity to customers through materials science, tooling and wear-resistant solutions. Customers across aerospace, earthworks, energy, general engineering and transportation turn to Kennametal to help them manufacture with precision and efficiency. Every day approximately 8,700 employees are helping customers in more than 60 countries stay competitive. Kennametal generated $2 billion in revenues in fiscal 2022. Learn more at Follow @Kennametal: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.



Continuous Improvement Engineer 

Location - Asheboro, NC but will have multiple site responsibility. Travel expected approximately one week per month



Job Summary


Kennametal has an exciting opportunity available for a Continuous Improvement Engineer to support Lean and Continuous Improvement initiatives at three of our production facilities in the region. This role will play a pivotal part in reviewing and analyzing existing processes, identifying area for improvement, leading kaizen activities to optimize operations and increase efficiency. In this position, you would have the opportunity to collaborate with plant management, plant operations teams,  and corporate Continuous Improvement leaders to drive alignment, gain support, train personnel and implement improvement initiatives that directly impact performance. This position will be based in our Asheboro facility, but will require travel approximately 1 week a month to support facilities in Roanoke Rapids, NC and New Market, VA.


Key Job Responsibilities

Lean Competencies

  • Implement Lean methodologies: The Continuous Improvement Engineer applies Lean principles, tools, and techniques such as 5S, Kaizen, Standard Work, and Muda hunting to identify and eliminate waste in processes. They work with cross-functional teams to implement Lean projects and initiatives that improve productivity, quality, and overall performance.
  • Develop the Lean competences of the process/operation & self through training, coaching implementation of lean tools & methodologies.
  • Participant regional/global kaizen week, share good practice kaizen workshop.
  • Participant lean tool improvement working group, contribute the lean standard/tool improvement.

Lean Strategies

  • Help to define the Lean strategy of the operation in accordance with Plant / Site priorities and ensure deployment of Kennametal Operation/Production System within the operation area.
  • Organize annual Value Stream Mapping (VSM) going through the production and propose the yearly workshops list.
  • Help to define the lean strategy of the production and prepare the operation budget concerning lean targets & budget.
  • Manage the deployment of KPS within the production: manage production self-assessment with production team members and improvement action plan.
  • Deploy lean standards & best practices within the production team.


Lean Genba Activities

  • Process analysis and optimization: by analyzing existing processes at the site to identify areas of improvement. Able to conduct time studies, collect data, and use Lean tools to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and opportunities for improvement. He/she works with site personnel to streamline workflows, reduce cycle times, and enhance process efficiency.
  • Kaizen workshop management: The Continuous Improvement Engineer leads and manages Lean projects at the site. He/she collaborates with cross-functional teams to define project goals, develop project plans, allocate resources, and ensure timely implementation. He/she monitors project progress, track key performance indicators (KPIs), and communicate results to site management.
  • Support workshop pilots, lead kaizen workshops on methodology and results achievement on implemented improvement proposals.
  • Manage the maintenance of lean tools through appropriate audits (like KPS, 5S, Kanban audits, leader standard work) : audit organization, performance & follow up.
  • Prepare & organize the weekly production lean committee (incl. agenda proposal) lead by the Production Manager, review kaizen workshop progress on genba and write the minute.

Lean Results

  • Data analysis and reporting: The Continuous Improvement Engineer collects and analyzes data related to site performance, process metrics, and key performance indicators. To prepare reports, charts, and visualizations to communicate performance trends and improvement opportunities. Providing regular updates to site management and share insights to drive decision-making.
  • Promote a culture of continuous improvement at the site and engage site personnel at all levels, encouraging them to contribute ideas, provide feedback, and participate in improvement initiatives. He/she facilitates improvement events, foster a mindset of innovation, and champion Lean practices within the site.
  • Deploy lean standards & best practices within the operation and regional/global OpEX team.
  • Quarterly lean mission report, share with site management team kaizen workshop status and saving achievements. (last quarter completed workshop, next quarter planned workshop, year till date saving summary, etc.)


  • Bachelor’s in industrial or mechanical engineering or equivalent technical education
  • At least 1 year Production or Logistic Supervisor, Process Engineering Related Experience. 
  • 6Sigma Green Belt is a plus.
  • Knowledge and practice experience of the following tools:
    • Strong communication, teaching and coaching skills.
    • 5S & Zoning.
    • Standard work and cycle time measurement.
    • Muda Hunting
    • SMED
    • TPM
    • OEE



 Kennametal Inc. is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. As such, it is the policy of Kennametal Inc. to afford equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship status, veteran status, or other protected status, group, or characteristic under federal, state, and/or local law or regulation. It is Kennametal Inc.'s policy to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.


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