Nike Gears Up for a 'Manufacturing Revolution'
In the midst of rising labour and logistical costs and the speed of innovation across all manufacturing fields, sporting goods behemoth Nike has set out a raft of measures in what it terms a ‘manufacturing revolution’.
The supply, or value chain has already witnessed streamlining of around 15 percent over the last two years by cutting factories used from 910 to 785, though despite this production and sales is improving.
But rather than continue this promising trend at the same pace, the company is ramping up its efforts to reduce waste and use what it has more effectively, generating yet more profitable growth at the same time.
Nike’s Sustainable Business Performance Summer for the 2013 financial year outlines this refreshed mantra, and indicates that workers are a key source of innovation and improvement. The report states Nike’s intention to become a catalyst for positive change across the whole industry.
Three major pillars underline the new revolutionary approach. First is ‘manufacturing excellence’, which involves waste reduction and more efficient use of water. ‘Manufacturing innovation’ focuses on entirely new ways of making products and ‘manufacturing modernisation’ looks at the value added process, making it more effective through things like automated cutting.
What this means for workers is a shift to those with higher skills and able to adopt newer techniques with more complex tools.
The sportswear giant is now demanding a commitment to lean principles from all of its source factories, with an eventual goal of using companies achieving bronze or higher in its own Sourcing and Manufacturing Sustainability Index (SMSI).
Two pilot studies in Indonesia have already shown positive results, with Nike looking to roll this out.
See the infographic below to find out more about Nike's SMSI.
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery 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.