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RFID Cuts Queue Waits, Boosts Truck Turnaround Times at Indian Plants

Ashok Leyland has deployed a UHF system from Vicinity RFID to automate the arrivals and departures of trucks delivering and picking up materials at three plants, and has thereby cut average turnaround times by more than two hours.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 30, 2018

Ashok Leyland is the second largest medium, heavy and light commercial truck and bus manufacturer in India. The company is employing a radio frequency identification-based solution to automate its inbound and outbound processes as materials and manufactured parts flow through its facility.

Since the system was taken live at the end of last year, the company says it has reduced the amount of time that drivers of inbound trucks spend checking in and receiving instructions by approximately 60 percent. It also reduces man-hours related to recording each arriving vehicle by about 50 percent. In addition, the company reports, the average queue time for drivers has been decreased from 15 minutes to less than two minutes.

The solution, known as Autonomous Gate-in to Good Receipt Note (GRN) and Gate-out, is provided by Vicinity RFID Pvt. Ltd. The system is implemented for inbound vehicles carrying raw materials and components, as well as for outbound vehicles carrying components or parts to other manufacturing facilities.

Veeramani K M
Ashok Leyland, headquartered in the city of Chennai, reports annual sales of about $2.5 billion. The company sold around 175,000 vehicles for the fiscal year ending in 2018. It had been seeking a way to increase its efficiency, and subsequently its productivity, by reducing the incidence of bottlenecks at the inbound and outbound gates where materials used in vehicle manufacturing flow. Those gates were traditionally manned by employees who visually identified and authorized the movements of goods and materials.

Because the process was manual, validation of what was received or shipped, as well as when, required many man-hours for the tracking and collection of data. What's more, since data had to be input manually, when time allowed, the company's management had little real-time visibility into when vehicles carrying particular loads actually traveled through the gates. "The company was facing hurdles to streamline the closed-loop movement between suppliers, vendors on one side and their own factories at the other side," says Veeramani K M, Ashok Leyland's deputy general manager.

To create an automated solution that could both provide visibility and boost efficiency, the company established a team of employees from its supply chain, logistics, warehousing, security and IT departments. The team then worked together to identify their requirements and select a solution provider. Although they considered both high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) technologies, Veeramani says, "UHF Gen 2 was a natural choice because of the flexibility of both short- and long-range configuration, and being a standards-based technology." Vicinity RFID was selected as the solution provider.

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