Case study at-a-glance
Panasonic Energy of North America (PENA) is the largest battery manufacturer in the United States and one of the largest battery factories in the world, producing 5.5 million lithium-ion batteries a day. With a workforce of over 4,500 employees, PENA has delivered more than six billion cells to date. As a recognized innovator in lithiumion battery technology and production, PENA works with the world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturers and is committed to driving greater efficiency and performance in electric vehicles to support a sustainable future.
David Young leads PENA’s Business Continuity program, overseeing risk management and resilience efforts for the company’s gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, a site known as Gigafactory 1. In this role David is responsible for all business continuity and resilience, and so conducts all risk assessments, categorizes and rates risks, plans mitigation strategies, and keeps PENA management informed about business continuity and operational resilience strategies and tactics.
David emphasizes the crucial nature of being prepared to recover from risk events. “We need to be aware of and ready to recover from every type of risk event.” With a philosophy of creating best-in-class business continuity programs, David draws from his previous role in business continuity and emergency management at Dallas Fort Worth International, one of the world’s busiest airports.
He shares, “My philosophy is based on creating best-in-class business continuity programs.” At Dallas Fort Worth International, which spans an area larger than Manhattan and served 73.5 million passengers in 2022, David’s expertise in handling business continuity and resilience at scale attracted global inquiries from business continuity experts from other airports around the world.
David’s role at PENA encompasses a wide range of risk events, from managing day-to-day business disruptions to addressing forecasted business-critical disruptions and promoting threat detection. “We use SAI360 to understand all of our critical business processes, their potential risk, and potential impact,” he explained. “The spectrum is broad—it’s not only about analyzing possible risks but having the processes and tools to recover from “ We use SAI360 to understand all of our critical business processes, their potential risk, and potential impact…” disruptions. My role is to holistically make the company more resilient and to ensure we are leading our industry.”
When David began his search for a partner for business continuity and resilience software, he knew exactly what he wanted in order to meet PENA’s business needs and future plans. “I identified a small handful of vendors that could meet our needs. I went through the evaluation process, and SAI360 was the clear winner due to their advanced capabilities that allow one person to manage an entire business continuity program.”
APPLYING SAI360 TO A COMPLEX MANUFACTURING ORGANIZATION
David explains that in the context of a complex manufacturing organization, the application of SAI360 plays a crucial role. “When managing an 8-million-square foot factory with tens of millions of lithium-ion batteries, you need a world-class resilience program. SAI360 allows us to drive business continuity activities with data and brings efficiency to reporting and insights that resonate with key leaders.”
One area where reporting becomes essential is conducting business impact assessments (BIAs). David explains, “As a business continuity professional, I’m all for rolling up my sleeves to gather and manipulate data. Being able to simply click a button to update a plan or create a BIA is very powerful. Our business is incredibly dynamic, with constantly changing data, so all related assessments must be current, and SAI360 allows us to achieve that.”
In the realm of business continuity, speed is paramount. David emphasizes the role software has in driving expedient results. “Software enables speed of awareness and response,” says David. “How quickly can you assess what may be wrong or go wrong? What are the impacts, and how quickly must you marshal resources to prioritize the recovery? You can’t respond in the timeframe the business needs without the right software.”
MANAGING A GIGAFACTORY OF DATA
When it comes to managing a gigafactory, data plays a vital role. SAI360 enables David and his team to effectively identify and analyze a wide range of risks, correlate them with processes, and gain valuable insights. David continues, “As a risk professional, it’s my job to think about all the potential risks, add everything to a risk matrix, and not leave anything off because it seems unlikely or a long shot. I need to have information across all business units, environment, processes, and the team to identify threats, vulnerabilities, and gaps and gain immediate insights into any vulnerable processes.”
When it comes to specific risk factors, David highlights the incorporation of various elements into their risk management processes. “We factor in solar flares and any electrostatic impact of solar activity. Then consider earthquakes. Nevada is one of the most seismically active states in the United States and the earthquake risk in Northern Nevada is complex. Each area must be backed by information, including historical and empirical assessments. For every type of risk event, I am collecting data, understanding, and context.”
Considering the nature of their manufacturing operations, fire risk is also a significant concern. “We produce 5.5 million lithium-ion batteries a day, and at any one time we have tens of millions of batteries on site,” says David. “As well as prevention and oversight with thermal cameras, robotic systems, redundant systems, and site-wide foam and carbon dioxide systems, we incorporate fire-related risk and resilience into our business continuity analysis and processes.”
David emphasizes the importance of factoring in the full spectrum of risk elements. “We’re a highly automated factory, so factoring in risks that could potentially disrupt power is paramount.”
The scale of the gigafactory also presents unique challenges that require data tracking and analysis. “You have to be thinking of all areas –when it snows or rains, we’re managing water in an area of 52 Olympic-sized swimming pools on our roof. All this data is tracked and analyzed with SAI360.”
MANAGEMENT ALIGNMENT IS KEY
To ensure alignment between the business continuity team and overall business priorities, David emphasizes the use of assessments and interviews with subject matter experts and management. He explains, “I run detailed quantitative and qualitative assessments and interviews with subject matter experts and management. SAI360 allows me to effortlessly incorporate this groundwork and input, have business impact assessments that correspond with senior leaders priorities, and have quantification in alignment with production and finance.”
Elaborating further, David highlights the importance of breaking down risks in a granular way and leveraging software like SAI360. “Then, as a business continuity team, you need to go deep—beyond the simple question of what’s the risk, you need to quantify it, define it, then break it down in a granular way. And that’s where software like SAI360 comes into play. SAI360 allows us to take hundreds of pieces of data and get them on to a single pane of glass.”
By utilizing SAI360, David and PENA’s business continuity program can capture and analyze data and work to reduce recovery time objectives (RTOs), and the software analyzes scenarios and plans, with detailed reporting.
Highlighting the data-driven aspect of his role, David emphasizes the value of SAI360’s PowerBI integration in providing key insights. “At the core, I am a business continuity data scientist—working with enormous volumes of data related to processes, risks, impacts, probabilities, outcomes, and responses. Multiply each of those things with the others and throw in timescales and multiple impact levels– it’s an overwhelming complex web of data. That is why SAI360 is key. It helps me process data, and mitigate risks, plus I can report efficiently to management with visualizations instead of a 300-page document.”
When reflecting on their experience working with SAI360, David acknowledges the responsive nature of the SAI360 team and the collaborative partnership they have established. “SAI360 is a responsive team; we’ve got a solid schedule of how we communicate,” says David. “If I need anything, the SAI360 team is there, but I can also say this is where I plan to be in six months; I need these things to happen to support this initiative; let’s plan together. There’s collaboration and a team that has my back.”
David concludes, “Business continuity and resilience software should be a force multiplier that allows a focused, dedicated team to scale and manage organizations. That’s what SAI360 is to PENA. it allows a core team to scale and manage a large, complex organization.”