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BAS Trucks Deploys RTLS to Drive Efficiency

The European truck company is installing a system from Zebra Enterprise Solutions to track where each of its vehicles is located, and to monitor how long it takes to go through such services as washing and repair.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 07, 2010Dutch truck retailer BAS Trucks maintains a stock of 1,000 tractor heads, trailers and mixer trucks at three locations. As such, locating a particular vehicle requested by a customer can be time-consuming. Staff members utilize golf carts to travel more quickly around the company's lots in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, but the process of finding a specific vehicle and making it available to a customer still consumed a large portion of employees' daily work hours.

"We tried to make a calculation of how many hours we spend finding trucks," says Theo Van Kempen, BAS Trucks' business operations director, "but we stopped analyzing, because we found out that everybody is looking for trucks all day."

The company believes it has solved that problem with a real-time location system (RTLS) provided by Zebra Enterprise Solutions (ZES). The system, currently being installed, is expected to go live this summer. The RTLS should not only make it easier to locate vehicles, Van Kempen says, but also increase the staff's efficiency in preparing new vehicles to be posted for sale on the company's Web site.

The system will enable BAS Trucks' management to analyze the amount of time spent in the preparation of vehicles for sale, which could help the firm further improve efficiency, says Chris Horne, ZES' regional sales manager of business solutions. If, for instance, the use of the RTLS finds that each vehicle's wash cycle is taking longer than expected, managers can then address the problem. The system can also identify when a large number of vehicles are collecting in a single location, and at what time such bottlenecks occur.

In addition, Van Kempen expects the system will reduce the amount of labor previously spent tracking inventory. "We can automatically check the presence of our stock," he explains, thanks to the real-time locating system. Without the system, the company presently checks its stock every two months, counting each truck to ensure that none are missing. "With the RTLS, we can do this check every five minutes."

By improving efficiency and making it easier to locate cars, the firm hopes to increase its per-annum sales by at least 20 percent over the next three years, from its current level of 5,000 sales. This increase in efficiency, Van Kempen says, should provide the company with a return on its investment within three to four years.

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