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1. Introduction: International Operation Management Assessment

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Characteristics of the operation

The operation sector of the manufacturing unit decides the revenue and workflow of industries. This increase the efficiency of manufacturing units as it provides effective ways to minimise damage, minimise loss and increase productivity. It also uses various methods for performance measurement of workflow. Some of the major performance measurement processes are 4vs, SIPOC, operation performance matrix and IP matrix. These processes are used to improve workflow as well as meet the need of consumers and increase teamwork. In this study, a clear description of basic issues is discussed and processes are provided for successive development. 

2. Operational problems and solutions

European nations are facing issues regarding the rare earth NdFeB permanent magnets, which are needed for automotive renewable and electronic energy. These need to scale up the production of NdFeB permanent magnets to meet the need of consumers. Industries are facing issues with scaling up production as this issue is regarding the supply chain process and operation management of mining industries. The European nation building an effective effort to develop effective technologies and collaborates with various professionals, engineers and other manufacturing units to develop an effective process for the production of NdFeB permanent magnets on a huge scale (Pagano et al. 2019). Industries are building effective maps (pilot plants) as well as various collaborations of PhD professionals for building effective operation management systems. Problems faced by industries are operation issues regarding scaling up production, a pilot plant has been built and it needs to be rectified for improving the operation in industries and regeneration of processes needs to be done for developing process performance. These issues are to be analysed, evaluated and disused in a detailed format.

2.1 Problems 1

2.1.1 Analysis of problems faced in operations

Rare earth permanent magnet is required in various processes such as in automotive as well as renewable energy. These are generally and mostly required in the industrial sector where they need various other materials also for different purposes.  The major requirement is on EVs due to a large demand for maintaining sustainability in the environment. There is a huge demand for home furniture such as IKEA. The main source of demand is in the metallurgy sector. Other materials include terbium neodymium and dysprosium light rare earth material is also an important aspect of mining industries (Chen and Zheng, 2019). The process of separation used for separating light and heavy earth material is one of the old technologies, which is used for the last decades. “Reetec has built and commissioned an industrial-scale demonstration plant in at the Herøya Heavy Industry Park in Porsgrunn, Telemark” that is an effective technology for separating rare earth material. The issue is regarding the location of the rare earth element where china is one of the most effective business handlers as it has developed an effective supply chain management. The European nation is facing issues in the supply chain management and needs to develop an effective supply chain management system. It has the capacity of separate 650,000 tonnes per year, which is better at containing power 0.3- 1pc that is comparatively large to previous separating technology (Yara).  This has built an effective change in the operation process by making a huge change in manufacturing high-quality REE (rare earth elements). Mining and manufacturing-incorporated industries have been facing issues regarding supply chain and operation management processes which need to be maintained and developed (Kuang et al. 2018). Industries like “Midgard Magnets AS, Emil and Astrid” have collaborated or ventured to build an effective solution for increasing the production of rare earth elements

2.1.2 Evaluation of the issue 

Effective operation management must be set for the overall development and increase in the production of rare earth material. Operation management can be evaluated using various tools such as pilot plant, 4vs and SIPOC table. These are the major processes for measuring performance in the operation sector for increasing production. The most effective performance measurement tool of operation is the SIPOC model. It provides an effective way to analyse the fault and provides an effective solution for improving workflow. 

SIPOC model diagram 






“Rare earth element” mining organisation

order for refining the raw material or elements by providing them to the partner organisation

designing of product from the input process

completion of the design and set to deliver products to suppliers, wholesalers or retailers

Delivery of products to nuclear families as well as different needy consumers

Figure 1: SIPOC Diagram

This process is used for the development of an operation management system. These processes help in analysing the business flow and provide a well-mannered process from suppliers to delivery to consumers. It provides a visual representation of an overall process. It is a representation of the whole process in a graphical process. The partner companies of rare earth elements are “Midgard Magnets AS and Emil” who needs to divide their work according to their speciality. They have introduced various technicals consultant for PhD supervisors and “municipal and regional authorities in Vestland, their suppliers and subcontractors, to establish a pilot plant at the Tyssedal site”. These major changes have been made in recent operation management. 

2.1.3 Discussion 

Rare earth elements are one of the basic needs in nuclear houses and industries for various developments as well as in the electronics sector. These are majorly mined in china and it is the largest manufacturing unit in the world. European nations had taken an initiative to manufacture rare earth elements on a large scale and fulfil the needs of consumers. The sale of EV sales in Germany France, the UK, Norway and Sweden is 52,800, 40,000, 33,680, 23,300 and 18,600. This shows that the demand for EVs is much more and needs to be fulfilled by scaling the production of rare earth elements. European nations are failing in supply chain management systems and this is stopping them from becoming one of the best manufacturers in the world.  Industries have implemented effective steps for scaling up the production of rare earth materials. Operation is the main sector that influences the supply chain and it can be improved by developing a graphical representation of the operation sector, which includes a SIPOC diagram (Gueorguiev, 2018). This diagram helps in distributing the workflow between different sectors, which includes suppliers, Inputs, pressing, output and consumers.  Suppliers have the responsibility of producing large-scale rare earth material or elements and dispatching it to partner organisations for further progress. On receiving of product, the partner or contractual organisation has the responsibility of providing a shape to raw and supplying it to the contracted organisation. The next process is output, which is conducted by the last contracted organisation that provides a well-designed product to retailers, nuclear families and wholesalers. 

2.2 Problem 2 

2.2.1 Analysis of pilot plant 

The pilot plant setup has been done but new leaching tanks and the climate-controlled room for dehydration need to be set up for developing better management of the pilot plant. The issue is regarding implementing the newly introduced product to reduce the flow of fluids in different stages. Transportation changes need to be made to reduce the transportation process of strong bases and acids. These need to be managed as transportation of acids and bases are to be reduced so that it takes less space and any accident will make fewer changes. A proper arrangement of the floor needs to be done for increasing production as well as proving the period for the operation process. 

2.2.2 Evaluation of pilot plant

The pilot plant needs to be arranged properly as the newly introduced material must be implemented for better management or refining process. The newly implemented process includes a dehydration plant and this needs to involve climate controlled room and leaching tanks. In addition to these two elements in the pilot plant, the dehortation process will be effectively conducted to maximise the production of “rare earth elements” and leads to the final cooling and annealing process. The tank needs to be placed beside the climate control room and the climate control room must be placed beside the inbound logistic yard. The design of the pilot plant should be implemented in this way so that there is no change in strong acid and base this will develop less transportation in acid and base. 

Pilot diagram

Figure 2: Pilot diagram

2.2.3 Discussion 

The Rare Earth Elements in dissolute mode will be extracted and sent to the scrubbing area, which is loaded with solvents. The scrubbed solvent then placed for stripping purposes and the strip solution then sifted to regeneration where Caustic solution is placed in the regeneration. The regenerating substance then placed in the extraction process. Then the Raffinate is been taken as a product from the whole process.  

2.3 Problem 3 

2.3.1 Analysing the regeneration process 

The new data has been noticed by applying the least pilot plant by implementing an effective dehydration plant in the pilot plant. Implementing the main process for the management of operational aspects includes a change in the pilot plant and reducing the transportation of acids and bases. Output generated at the end of the production month has been noticed and an exciting change can be examined. This shows there is an effective implementation of the pilot plant has made some changes in the operation process but more changes need to be developed for challenging competitors, which include China the largest producer of rare earth elements. The result in October is noticed to be effective in some cases there are some downfalls of Nd regeneration percentage on a few dates which include 13 October, 24th and 25th October. This needs to have an effective balance to develop consistent and gradual development. 

2.3.2 Evaluation of the regeneration process

The report noticed in the regeneration process shows an effective change by applying dehydration plant and Reetec.  These are the major process for the change as well as development in the process. The process of regeneration has been noticed in October and Berg Astrid has noticed a satisfactory change. The supply chain management has shown an effective change in the management process by setting inbound logistic yard staff parking and outbound logistic department. The change in the pilot plant by placing the climate control room just below the inbound logistic yard and placing leaching tanks beside climate controlled room.

Regeneration percentage in October 2022

Figure 3: Regeneration percentage in October 2022

2.3.3 Discussion of the regeneration process

The report provided for October is a rise in the percentage of production in Nd regen percentage.  This has been noticed after October 2022 and represents an acceptable change in output condition. The report provided shows that there is a rise in the percentage of production of Nd in the first 2 days of October and noticed a 1.282% rise on the coming days it was gradually decreasing and on the 8th and 9th day, there was a rise in the percentage of production of Nd generation. This was the highest production day and then there was an inappropriate change in the process on common days which needs to be stable or gradually increasing according to changes in time except during an accidental case or unexpected situation is occurred. 


“Rare Earth Element'' production has to develop a more effective way of supply chain process for improving productivity time and decreasing time in the transportation process. A well optimizes stock control by avoiding inventory stockouts must be set for reducing extra expenses in the supply chain. For developing an effective transportation process implementation of the SIPOC model diagram must be followed and a pilot plant needs to be set effectively by placing the dehydration tank and climate control room side by side to decrease expenses in the transportation of fluids (Gielen and Lyons, 2022). This will have an effective change in the supply chain management system. The model diagrams must be used to improve the input-output and processing of earth elements. The last point for recommendation is to improve demand in forecasting by setting automatic reorder points.

Reference list 


Gueorguiev, T., 2018. Improving the internal auditing procedure by using SIPOC diagrams. Journal of Innovations and Sustainability, 4(2), pp.35-43. Doi: http://www.is-journal.com/is/article/download/51/36

Pagano, G., Thomas, P.J., Di Nunzio, A. and Trifuoggi, M., 2019. Human exposures to rare earth elements: Present knowledge and research prospects. Environmental Research, 171, pp.493-500. Doi: https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/201809.0429/download/final_file

Gielen, D. and Lyons, M., 2022. Critical materials for the energy transition: Rare earth elements. International Renewable Energy Agency: Abu Dhabi, UAE, 48. Doi: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dolf-Gielen-2/publication/361276473_CRITICAL_MATERIALS_FOR_THE_ENERGY_TRANSITION_RARE_EARTH_ELEMENTS/links/62a849e4c660ab61f87c61f9/CRITICAL-MATERIALS-FOR-THE-ENERGY-TRANSITION-RARE-EARTH-ELEMENTS.pdf

Chen, Y. and Zheng, B., 2019. What happens after the rare earth crisis: A systematic literature review. Sustainability, 11(5), p.1288. Doi: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/5/1288/pdf

Kuang, A.Q., Cao, N.M., Creely, A.J., Dennett, C.A., Hecla, J., LaBombard, B., Tinguely, R.A., Tolman, E.A., Hoffman, H., Major, M. and Ruiz, J.R., 2018. Conceptual design study for heat exhaust management in the ARC fusion pilot plant. Fusion Engineering and Design, 137, pp.221-242. Doi: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/am/pii/S0920379618306185

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