Active tags go on trial at motor manufacturer

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Land Rover launched a pilot programme in January to deploy an active RFID system that synchronises the delivery of auto parts from suppliers to its assembly plant in Solihull more effectively. The pilot has been made possible through a government grant administered by the University of Warwick, which was also involved in the selection of Savi at the RFID provider.

Savi is supplying RFID hardware and software to enhance visibility, inventory management, and asset utilisation, and to reduce losses, assembly plant disruptions, and time spent locating assembly parts.

Phase 2 of the pilot promises an enhanced system that enables 18 suppliers and Land Rover to locate, track, and deliver stillages that carry bumpers, front grills, suspension parts, moon roofs, and vehicle bodies, among other parts. Real-time information on RFID-tagged assets is shared among the partners and is automatically transmitted to cell phones, PDAs, and web-based tracking software.

Jonty Cook, Land Rover’s head of inbound logistics, says: “On-time, precision delivery of components is integral to our plant’s efficiency because disruptions in the supply chain can slow or even halt vehicle assembly, and we believe Savi’s complete RFID solution can improve these operations.”

The system begins by applying active RFID tags on stillages as they leave supplier facilities, and associating the tag with the car parts carried by the conveyance. Fixed readers are placed at loading and unloading docks, entrances and exits of the suppliers and Land Rover’s assembly plant. Whenever a tagged stillage passes by a reader, the shipment is logged and location information is transmitted to designated users. Exception alerts are sent when stillages do not arrive when and where they are expected.

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