Home: Issue 8 2010 › Active solution

Active solution

30/11/2010 | Channel: Automotive

Dear Editor,
The automotive finished vehicle supply chain is fraught with problems: delivery dates quoted are often inaccurate by many weeks, vehicles ‘go missing’ without explanation due to the lack of end-to-end visibility, and damage through frequent, unnecessary movement is common.

Underpinning the problem is the extraordinary fact that, throughout the distribution process, neither manufacturer nor dealer has complete visibility of a car’s location. Dependent upon the carrier used, a car could be on a boat, barge, train or transporter; or it could be delayed in a compound in Europe or the UK.

To prevent such a ‘spanner-in-the-works’, the application of RFID technologies, and therefore track-and-trace elements, is essential. But how does a logistics company or manufacturer go about applying such a solution? The decision about how to track vehicles through the finished vehicle supply chain must boil down to one simple thing: a high return on investment with easily measurable benefits. An intelligent and common sense approach to track-and-trace systems must therefore be applied if visibility of the outbound supply chain activity is ever to be improved.

One such approach to track-and-trace systems is passive RFID tagging, which is already widely used in other sectors. Passive tags are a small investment when compared with active tags or GPS, delivering 90 per cent of the benefits of active tags at just ten per cent of the cost. Of course, volume is an important factor here, and economies of scale make passive tags an even more viable investment for many OEMs.

It is crucial that IT solutions be applied in a way which solves a problem – here; lack of visibility of the finished vehicle supply chain is the problem, and if invested in wisely, RFID technologies can provide a viable solution.

Richard Barker - CEO, Sovereign Business Integration www.sovereign-plc.co.uk