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Iveco to Expand RFID System for Managing Replacement Parts

The truck and bus manufacturer is using EPC Gen 2 tags to process the receipt, picking and shipping of replacement parts, and to guarantee their authenticity.
By Rhea Wessel
Jan 27, 2010Iveco, a commercial truck and bus manufacturer owned by the Fiat Group, plans to expand the RFID system it uses to process the receipt, picking and shipping of replacement parts, as well as guarantee their authenticity. The application, which has been in operation at Iveco's distribution center in Turin, Italy, for approximately one year, will be installed at a DC in Madrid during the few next weeks.

Iveco works closely with logistics company Kuehne+Nagel, which runs the 190,000-square-meter (2-million-square-foot) Turin facility on Iveco's behalf. The two partners, cooperating with supply chain consulting firm Alfaproject, developed the RFID-based system as part of the so-called PARTS.iD project.

Stefano Fantini, Iveco's customer service supply chain director
Paolo Guidi, Kuehne+Nagel's sales and marketing director, says the project was the first in Europe to employ radio frequency identification to manage spare parts in the automotive industry.

Iveco, which reported sales of 192,000 trucks in 2008, supplies spare parts for its trucks and buses through its network of nearly 3,500 authorized repair shops in 100 countries. When vehicles need to be fixed, the company's repair shops place orders for the necessary parts, if they are not already available on site. Many orders must be filled overnight and arrive the next morning. Iveco could experience errors with its shipping process, however, due to the time pressure placed on workers and the number of parts it supplies. That's why the company launched the PARTS.iD project, which is focused on seeking ways in which to improve its picking and shipping processes.

Parts availability is a key factor to guaranteeing profitability for transport operators, says Stefano Fantini, Iveco's customer service supply chain director. His company's goal, he indicates, is to offer customers a complete catalog of original parts via fast and reliable distribution.

In January 2008, during the project's first phase, Alfaproject conducted a feasibility study and proposed the use of RFID to improve the incoming goods, picking and shipping processes. Iveco agreed to the idea, but saw an additional use for the technology—to further assure customers that the Iveco parts used to repair their vehicles are authentic, and not counterfeit.

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