May 16, 2020

DHL: risk is everywhere, but so too is mitigation

engineering and manufacturing
World Economic Forum
DHL supply chain
3 min
DHL: risk is everywhere, but so too is mitigation
Natural disasters such as hurricanes and extreme winter weather can wipe out engineering and manufacturing (E&M) operations, decimating production s...

Natural disasters such as hurricanes and extreme winter weather can wipe out engineering and manufacturing (E&M) operations, decimating production schedules and customer delivery dates.


The financial impact can be substantial. Taking into account the predicted increase in natural disasters due to climate change, it is estimated that by 2030 the annual global economic cost of natural disasters could be as much as €328 billion (DHL Engineering and Manufacturing 2025+).

Socio-political threats such as conflict, terrorism, migration, and political instability can also severely disrupt E&M operations. Research by Maplecroft indicates that these types of threat are a growing phenomenon; it currently categorizes 36 percent of countries as geopolitically 'high risk', which is a 4 percent increase on figures released in 2012.

Research from the World Economic Forum reveals that large disruption to the supply chain is likely to impact a company’s share price by 7% on average. However, with today’s E&M tendency for longer and more complex supply chains, and with profitable opportunities to be found in developing markets and in increasingly remote locations, it is strategically impossible to entirely avoid risks in the supply chain. They are everywhere; therefore the best solution to this is preparation.

Fortunately, E&M organizations have many ways in which to mitigate increasing global risk. Companies can now identify, monitor, and plan for events capable of damaging productivity, disrupting the supply chain, and destroying profit. In addition to well-informed high-speed risk assessment, E&M companies can monitor incidents to identify the scale and likely duration of impact, and enable informed decision-making and proactive response.

What’s needed of course is transparency in the global supply chain. This allows E&M companies to continuously track, collate, and analyze the world’s most disruptive events, drawing on the leading risk intelligence data and issuing alerts throughout the organization in near-real time along with detailed, regularly updated reports.

With an efficient supply chain risk management process in place, E&M companies can turn disruption into competitive advantage. For instance, an organization can seize the opportunity to be a first-mover in profitable yet risky new markets.

An example of this is early market entry into Iran, a country that promises substantial infrastructure and exploration projects within the next few years. Earlier this year, Iran was subject to an easing of international sanctions and, while some restrictions remain, particularly for US organizations, continued compliance with internationally agreed nuclear obligations will result in the ending of sanctions in 2025.

The embargo on buying crude oil from Iran has now been lifted, and trade and shipping restrictions have relaxed. Iran is beginning to look not merely viable but in fact strategically attractive for many E&M companies.

The decision to enter and operate in high-risk markets and locations will always be complex.

However, risk is everywhere in today’s business landscape. Risk mitigation enables E&M companies to prepare for diverse challenges and to steadily navigate the way towards business expansion and profit.

Reg Kenney is President of Engineering and Manufacturing at DHL


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May 12, 2021

Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing

2 min
Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing

Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing


What is Ultium Cells LLC?

Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”

Who is Li-Cycle?

Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.

As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”

Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?

By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.

“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).

"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.

"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.

Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.

"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.

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