Smart manufacturing and supply chain

How can your solution help us create and adopt smarter manufacturing and supply chain solutions?
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What we’re looking for in your solution

Your solution has proven technical feasibility and is ready to be further developed for this purpose. It’s an innovative solution that impacts one of (but is not limited to) the following areas: 

  • Make a step change in our supply chain and manufacturing process by the adoption of “Industry 4.0”; for example, big data, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud-based solutions
  • Intensification of our manufacturing processes, improvement of quality and control and enhance resource efficiency 
  • Adopt technologies, processes and systems to drive increasingly late differentiation in our manufacturing processes
  • Drive customer intimacy and speed to market through smart integration of ordering systems, planning tools and delivery systems

Our manufacturing assets

Our manufacturing activities mainly take place in our own factories, although we also work with external partners in response to specific challenges. We make a wide variety of products and serve customers in many different segments across the globe. This means complexity for us, but it also allows us to develop different kinds of solutions in many different processes, factories and businesses. In some of our factories, we run highly automated and (semi-) continuous production processes, while at the same time we have operations that deliver highly differentiated, customer-specific solutions to, for example, the automotive, aerospace, marine, food and furniture industries.

Our logistic network

In collaboration with transportation and logistics companies, we manage the shipment of our raw materials to our factories and products to our customers through a global network of distribution and consolidation centers. This network is a critical enabler to fully meet the needs of our customers quickly and cost effectively.

Our planning process

We operate a state-of-the-art global planning process that breaks down and consolidates the latest insights into the needs of our customers across our manufacturing capabilities. In the meantime, we keep working on improving our forecasting accuracy – both in terms of demand and capabilities – by acquiring and using data from a multitude of sources.

Looking for some inspiration?


One of the winners of our Brazil startup challenge, brings us technology to perform an analysis based on automated detection patterns and the duration and frequency of movements, as well as create indexes and indicators on productivity, performance, health and operator safety. Read more on

Augmented reality

Augmented reality gives us a new way to communicate between our manufacturing sites and, for example, jointly run scale-up processes. Read more on

Do you have the solution?

To summarize

Help us to become a leading paints and coatings company in the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, in a sustainable and economical way. Let’s work together to do and deliver more!

If you think your solution will help us answer the question:

How can your solution help us create and adopt smarter manufacturing and supply chain solutions?

We are now closed for submissions

The submission phase of AkzoNobel’s second global startup challenge was live from May 18 to July 20. All the solutions are now being evaluated by our experts, who will give online feedback to the startups. A selection of participants will be invited to a three-day bootcamp in March.

Curious about the submissions we received? They came from startups all over the world – join our ecosystem to see them all.

Join us


We respect ownership of Intellectual Property (IP). IP that you already own prior to the Paint the Future Challenge remains yours; and similarly, our existing IP remains ours. In addition, our starting point is that both parties should have appropriate rights in what we create together during the Paint the Future Challenge. If you get invited to the final of the Challenge, we will communicate clearly what specific IP terms will apply.


Whilst we respect IP rights, we also value the open sharing of non-confidential information, and building on contributors’ ideas. This is what makes the Challenge useful for all participants, and contributes to identifying successful innovations. This means that during the submission phase, your submission, and the information you share with us, will be received by us only on a non-confidential basis.