Between steady population growth, increasing urbanization, and rising standards of living, the momentum of change is challenging every aspect of our world. Just looking at today’s consumption levels is enough to make organizations wonder if they can ever keep up. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development estimates the ecological resources of 2.3 planets, on average, are needed to sustain present-day growth by 2050.
Despite the pressures, this moment can become the most significant growth opportunity of our time. Replacing traditional take-make-waste business models with a circular approach can bring industries in line with our planet’s boundaries. But more importantly, it tackles environmental and social injustices that often impact underserved communities and creates more jobs that are better paying.
For Ecobat, the world’s leader in battery recycling and lead production, the circular economy is an inseparable part of its business. By recovering and repurposing more than 99% of the metal of 120 million batteries consumed by companies and consumers annually, the company can minimize its contribution to landfills and satisfy consumer demand for sustainable energy.
Defining Leadership in the Circular Economy
Given the gravity of its sustainability initiative, Ecobat needed to modernize its mission-critical systems without risk. Functional and geographical silos led to little cross-team collaboration and fragmented electronic and paper-based processes, documentation, and legacy record-keeping systems – resulting in unnecessary risk exposure, fractured data, and a bloated overhead structure.
Ecobat’s leadership team knew that digitalization and intelligent technologies are critical to lead in the responsible collection, recycling, production, and distribution of resources essential to modern life. So, the company decided to implement SAP S/4HANA Cloud, a cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for every business need. By taking this path, the company gained the reliability, agility, and predictability necessary to navigate the risks and opportunities of moving into a new business model centered around the circular economy.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud presented an opportunity to consolidate the unique legacy ERP systems and data of its 25 partner locations worldwide. Using the RISE with SAP solution, Ecobat carefully mapped and moved all individual systems into the cloud ERP while navigating differences between the old and new ERP systems and adopting new standardized processes. The company also discontinued its on-premise data center, decreasing its energy consumption footprint across a global reach.
Moving an on-premise landscape of multiple ERP systems to a single instance of SAP S/4HANA Cloud opened the door to a new digital era for Ecobat. Every area of the business and its partners can access extensive and timely information and collaborate and communicate effectively. In return, the entire company can achieve goals key to their long-term survival and expansion, including:
- Drive top-line growth by enabling innovative business models on a global scale
- Achieve bottom-line growth with industry-proven processes
- Deliver green-line growth by building sustainability directly into the business
- Grow with the confidence needed to help the business move to wherever it needs to go
For example, Ecobat is innovating new products, services, and processes with a laser focus on the circular economy – from costs and facilities to the responsible collection, recycling, production, and distribution of resources. Its R&D and engineering teams have the sustainability data and visibility to look holistically across the organization, drill into the finer details of a challenge or opportunity, and streamline and accelerate the processing of used batteries into raw materials. In addition, empowering each partner location to collect and recycle batteries within its region helps decrease reliance on mining new ore, reduce transportation, and streamline the supply chain.
Thinking, Looking, and Acting More Sustainably – Globally
With battery recycling at the heart of its business model, Ecobat takes pride in its leadership in the circular economy. And that sense of accountability and responsibility is clearly reflected in how the company invests in its people and business operations.
This observation certainly applies to Ecobat’s decision to implement SAP S/4HANA Cloud as part of RISE with SAP. While keeping millions of lead-acid batteries from going to local landfills, the company is confidently scaling and growing its operations worldwide to continue contributing to a more sustainable planet for years to come.
Learn more about the competitive edge Ecobat gained from its implementation of SAP S/4HANA Cloud as part of RISE with SAP. Read the IDC case study, “Ecobat Expands into the Digital Era with Cloud ERP.”
Benno Eberle is solution marketing lead for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, at SAP.