The Role of the Supply Chain in Cell Selection

May 4, 2022 by Bob Fay in News Leave a Comment

Supply Chain is a big term that can cover a lot of ground in an organization. Headlines purporting “Supply Chain Issues” in any industry have an immediate attention-grabbing effect on readers and without knowing specifics, the thought of any disruption to a supply chain sends alarm bells ringing. Peeling back the layers, these “issues” are often the result of an accumulation of smaller missteps along the way.

The process of cell selection

In the world of original equipment manufacturing, cell selection is a significant layer that can aid and just as easily hinder a project if chosen poorly. The process of cell selection involves its own micro-supply chain within the larger framework of an OEM operation. Choosing a strategic partner to assist in cell selection allows OEMs to have transparency in the process without bearing the weight of the entire supply chain.

When does an OEM enlist the help of a battery assembly partner? According to Excell Battery’s own Michelle Martucci, Sales Manager, the response is, “as early as we can.” There are multiple advantages to involving your battery assembly vendor at the beginning of the cell selection process. A seasoned vendor will be able to review, not simply an isolated design, but the project scope as a whole. Timelines, equipment, costing, availability, usage, and environment, all impact cell selection. Excell Battery’s team feeds all of these variables into a detailed proposal for clients on which cell supplier and components will best fit the OEMs needs.

Maintaining a stable supply chain

Established relationships with cell suppliers are a significant contributor to maintaining supply chain stability. In recent news, the EV industry was rocked by a dramatic spike in lithium carbonate prices (a key ingredient in lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries) after Tesla’s decision to switch to LFPs in all of their standard range cars. Tesla’s move is just one example of a single change causing immediate supply chain disruption. Disruptions are an unavoidable part of the business. The response to disruptions and their impact on an operation is what separates a strategic partner from the perils of the open market. 

Part of Excell Battery’s strategy is to take a proactive approach with our clients. This plays out in a variety of ways, including the recommendation to have a minimum of one cell backup in place for each project. Another strategic procedure is the ability to perform in-house qualification and testing of all cells. Once the primary and secondary cell selections are made, the testing phases can all be completed within our in-house North American laboratory facilities. Any opportunity to eliminate layers and avoid reliance on third parties contributes directly to supply chain stability.

Success and the ability to adapt

A piece that can take up so little physical space can have seismic consequences on the greater supply chain. One of the great learnings of the global pandemic was the direct correlation between an operator’s success and the ability to adapt. Electrification adoption continues to grow and the technology advances alongside it. The best-in-class battery assemblers should be able to keep pace with both the industry growth and strides in innovation. It is in an OEMs best interest to select a partner who knows the business of selecting cells.