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Cement Manufacturer Plans RFID Rollout to All 16 Plants

India's ACC Ltd. says its tracking solution improves efficiencies, safety and customer satisfaction, delivering a return on investment.
By Bob Violino
Oct 07, 2013

As one of India's leading manufacturers of cement and ready-mixed concrete, ACC Ltd. faced a number of challenges when managing its nationwide network of factories and sales offices. The key issues included vehicle traffic congestion within its facilities; uncontrolled movement of truck drivers and other workers at the plants, which created safety issues; a rise in the volume of paperwork related to cement loading; and a lack of visibility into truck movement and availability at the plants.

To address these issues, ACC, deployed a radio frequency identification system at its Tikaria plant in spring 2012, to track truck locations and improve the process of transporting cement to customers. The project, known as SPEED@ACC (Safety, Productivity, Efficiency to Ensure customer Delight), focused on improving the safety of truckers and other employees; increasing efficiencies and productivity through the optimal use of cement packers, trucks and other resources; and ensuring customer satisfaction through better order-to-delivery compliance.

ACC Tikaria's main gate has separate entry and exit paths, each monitored via RFID.
"These were the primary objectives around which the entire project conceptualization and implementation were built," says— Mayur Tolia, ACC's project manager responsible for all technology support for logistics operations projects.

To date, Tolia says, the results have exceeded the company's expectations. Following the success at the Tikaria plant, ACC has deployed the RFID system at two additional plants, and the firm's management has approved the rollout of the solution across all the company's cement plants in India. ACC now plans to implement the system at six of its factories during the next six months, with the remaining seven plants expected to have the system installed and running by the end of 2014.

Concrete Planning
Prior to choosing an RFID solution, Tolia says,, ACC's management considered bar-code systems but the cement-production environment is prone to dust, so a bar-code system was deemed unsuitable. In addition, he says, bar codes require close-proximity scanning, which would not work for tracking vehicles in motion.

In late 2010, ACC set up a cross-functional team to plan the implementation and evaluate technology components. The team included representatives from operations, IT, human resources, finance, logistics, procurement and transportation, Tolia says, with each team member playing a key role in conceptualizing and implementing the solution. The operations people involved in cement dispatch and packing, for example, weighed in on how the system should help them improve efficiency, while the human resources representatives provided input regarding change management and training.

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