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Tetas Textiles Tracks Deliveries

The Turkish company has installed GPS, GPRS and RFID technologies in its cars, so that it can control costs by knowing, in real time, where its drivers are—and which orders they are delivering.
By Rhea Wessel
Nov 27, 2009Tetas Textiles, a Turkish provider of equipment and supplies for the textiles industry, has expanded its use of radio frequency identification to include an employee-tracking system linked to an information system used to manage its fleet of cars. The data collected by the car information system—such as a vehicle's fuel consumption and whereabouts—can be combined with personnel information culled via RFID, along with data regarding goods collected via bar code. Together, this information enables managers to have a real-time overview of the status of particular products being delivered by individual employees.

Tetas, based in Istanbul, developed its own car information system that employs GPS, GPRS and RFID technologies. Before an employee is assigned a particular delivery in a major Turkish city, the car's ID number and the customer's order information are input into the company's computer system via bar code. Upon entering the car, the worker uses that vehicle's information system's integrated RFID reader to scan the 13.56 MHz NXP Semiconductors Mifare RFID chip in his ID card, which is also used to access buildings owned by Tetas. Employees can utilize the car system during deliveries of products, such as sewing machines, office supplies and spare parts, as well as for visiting customers on sales calls. The GPS system in the car information system helps drivers navigate, and the vehicle's location coordinates are communicated via GPRS so managers can track employees' whereabouts. By combining all of this data, managers can know which workers are driving which cars with which delivery orders, and where those cars are located at any given time.

At its warehouses, Tetas installed RFID interrogator antennas under its forklifts, in order to read location tags embedded in the floors.

"The goods start to become more intelligent, in the sense that we know if goods are in a specific location along the delivery route—that the driver has or has not yet delivered them," says Moris Yaffe, Tetas' general manager, who described his company's RFID deployment at the EPC Europe Conference, held last month in Germany, in conjunction with RFID Journal LIVE! Europe 2009. The company began implementing the car information system six months ago, completing its installation in October. To date, it has outfitted roughly 110 vehicles, including three trucks, with the device.

Tetas rents most of the cars in its fleet, and wants to monitor its costs closely. The firm also wants to use the information to manage employees—that is, to know when, where and why personnel use specific vehicles.

With the data collected via the car information system, Yaffe explains, Tetas can cost out each different process used to carry out the services the company provides. People working in the sales department use most of the cars, he says, and managers may need to know if salespeople are visiting their assigned customers. The car information system, which provides managers with maps and reports, also makes it easy for the company to check which employees use each car, as well as if a vehicle is being driven on weekends and after work hours.

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