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Land Rover Finds ROI in Tracking New Cars

At its plant in Solihull, England, the manufacturer says it is cutting costs by using an RFID system from WhereNet to monitor vehicles in its yard after production.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 07, 2008One year after deploying an RFID-based system to newly assembled vehicles at its plant in Solihull, England, Land Rover reports it has seen a return on its initial technology investment. WhereNet's Vehicle Tracking and Management System (VTMS), the company says, is reducing the amount of labor needed to track vehicles in its yard, as well as ensuring vehicles aren't shipped at the wrong times.

Land Rover vehicles are built based on dealership orders and assigned a vehicle identification number (VIN), usually associated with a specific dealership, before they even come off the assembly line. Therefore, tracking each individual vehicle before it is shipped is critical. After Land Rover vehicles come off the assembly line, they undergo a series of procedures and are moved to various locations around the yard, making it difficult to pinpoint them. The RFID system simplifies the process of locating vehicles that need to be tested, serviced, stored or shipped, by tracking each vehicle's location history and status.

Dave O'Reilly
"Our biggest benefits have been in labor productivity, by being able to physically locate vehicles accurately based on varying criteria," says Dave O'Reilly, Land Rover's manufacturing and purchasing IT manager. Such criteria can include searching for vehicles with a specific VIN, or a particular part or model number. Using the RFID system, O'Reilly says, "enables us to ensure we minimize the time between off-track and dispatch, thus maximizing this portion of the order-to-cash process."

Land Rover, which manufactured about 186,000 vehicles at the Sulihull site in 2007, had sought a method for expediting the movement of vehicles from the assembly line to shipping, and for making sure the correct processes were followed. Because the plant was already using a WhereNet solution for parts replenishment, it opted to employ a WhereNet solution for vehicle tracking as well.

In 2002, Land Rover deployed WhereNet's real-time locating system for parts replenishment messaging (PRM). Using the system, assembly line operators have been able to contact the parts replenishment department once they get close to needing more of a specific part, according to Gary Latham, product line manager in the Enterprise Solutions Group for WhereNet/Zebra Technologies.

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