May 16, 2020

How iconic manufacturer Kellogg achieved global efficiency using lean

Continuous Improvement
Global Manufacturing
Glen White
3 min
How Kellogg went lean.
Kellogg, the maker of such iconic brands as Special K, Rice Krispies, Pop Tarts and Pringles, has 33,000 employees in over 60 plants across 20 countries...

Kellogg, the maker of such iconic brands as Special K, Rice Krispies, Pop Tarts and Pringles, has 33,000 employees in over 60 plants across 20 countries, making its vision of achieving an efficient and innovative global manufacturing strategy a difficult task.

Each of the company’s brands has its own operating model using different technology and go-to-market strategies, and that translates into a complex supply chain that requires high performance and efficiency.

That’s an engineering challenge, says Bob Reed, Kellogg’s vice president of global engineering. For example, a high performance manufacturing line developed in the U.S. won’t perform the same way in an emerging market, as there will be different metrics and scale related to brand equity in different places. With that in mind, the company set out to create a repeatable process that can be used in any plant and that ensures continuous improvement in operations while engaging cross-functional partners.

Now, Kellogg is in the midst of developing a methodology the company calls Integrated Project Delivery (IPD).IPD is divided into four areas: People, alignment, technology, and process.

First, all stakeholders need to understand what is to be delivered for the business, and specifically, the definition of the project deliverables.

It’s also always important to keep money in mind. “You won’t achieve the business objective if you don’t have a cost-effective line,” he says, so scope management is essential. To that end, instead of adjusting the previous year’s spending, start each department’s budget from scratch – a method known as zero-based budgeting which forces cost justification is being implemented. “This allows us to take on a lot of new projects that we might not have taken forward in the past due to cost,” Reed says.

Part of the cost comes in the form of technology and defining technology requirements for each project because you can have the best technology in the world, but if it doesn’t fit the application, it doesn’t matter.

Knowledge management also becomes critical to the advancement of technology. Every line we build has to be better than the last one, says Reed, and that means building flexibility into the process. “The word ‘flexibility’ pops up in everything we do, from packing innovation to product innovation, and the ability to develop technology in a master program allows us to deliver on that.”

Finally, the process - work has to be done in an organized fashion to make it repeatable and able to be improved upon based on a wide range of project criteria across the globe. The key elements of that process include capital management, workflow, and governance. But the area of start-up management, which is about keeping the team engaged from the early stages of conceptual engineering throughout the project journey, is essential to success.

“For us it has become a more formal way for how we approach a project from the start, and the way we define equipment capabilities and people capabilities at every stage along the way. Start early and often on planning in order to keep people on track,” Reed says.

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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.

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5

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