Wherenet expands active RFID automotive ecosystem
Wherenet expands active RFID automotive ecosystem to include optimization of just in time parts deliveries from TNT logistics to vehicle manufacturers
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Nov. 2, 2005—WhereNet Corp., the leader of wireless solutions for tracking and managing enterprise assets, announced today that TNT Logistics, a leading global provider of supply chain services, will deploy the standards-based WhereNet® active RFID, real-time locating system (RTLS) technology to optimize the process of just-in-time parts sequencing to its automobile manufacturing customers. The WhereNet solution will provide TNT Logistics with closed-loop supply chain visibility as it coordinates 24x7 milk run deliveries from its material sequencing centers to assembly lines at automotive manufacturing facilities.
WhereNet has deployed more than 100 RTLS installations at automotive factories around the world. Installations at facilities like TNT Logistics represent an expansion of the WhereNet ecosystem to include material sequencing centers that receive parts from multiple automotive suppliers, and then build and deliver sequenced shipments in accordance with the build schedule of the vehicles being produced. TNT Logistics will go live with the WhereNet system this month at its material sequencing center in Dearborn, Michigan, which serves Ford Motor Company's Dearborn truck plant.
"At TNT Logistics, we expect to gain maximum efficiency in our operations by relying on WhereNet's solution to provide complete visibility of all of our racks — which are constantly moving back and forth between the assembly line at the factory and our material sequencing center," said Terry McIntyre, manager, solutions design technology services for TNT Logistics. "We are excited to partner with WhereNet to 'connect the dots' across the automotive supply chain. We are bullish about the business benefits of RTLS technology for both OEMs and their suppliers, who can reap tremendous value from this end-to-end supply chain solution."
At TNT Logistics material sequencing centers and automotive factories, the WhereNet solution uses active RFID WhereTag™ devices and a local infrastructure of wireless WhereLAN™ locating access points to provide real-time location and status information for thousands of racks (the holding units that contain sequenced parts for building new vehicles), which are constantly moving back and forth between the material sequencing center and the automotive manufacturing facility.
The WhereNet RTLS architecture also includes WherePort™ devices located at dock doors at the material sequencing center; these devices trigger the WhereTag to emit a signal when a forklift loads a rack full of parts on a truck bound for the factory. Through this automatic data collection process, the WhereNet system confirms that the load has been built, and validates its ready-to-ship status; the system can even trigger an advanced shipping notice so that the factory knows what material is en route.
WhereNet Drives Automation Across the Automotive Supply Chain
Amidst record new model introductions and increasingly complex outsourced supply chains, automotive logistics providers like TNT Logistics are turning to WhereNet's locatable, active RFID systems to connect people, processes and parts and automate previously time-intensive, error-prone, manual tasks.
TNT Logistics expects to realize numerous benefits from the WhereNet technology, including:
• Improved asset utilization and rack availability as the WhereNet system provides visibility and status information about every rack in the pool, regardless of the rack's location.
• A drastically reduced risk of business interruption or parts shortages at the assembly line.
• Increased capacity through improved space utilization and throughput at the material sequencing center.
• Labor savings resulting from eliminating the time used to search for racks — the WhereNet system graphically displays the location of every tagged asset.
• Improvements in lean manufacturing capability. The WhereNet system automatically captures data revealing the flow of material throughout the inbound and manufacturing life cycle that can be analyzed to implement more efficient business processes and alleviate bottlenecks.
"The automotive supply chain is arguably the most complex of any industry, and the complexity only increases as the major OEM's of the world embrace more flexible manufacturing processes," said Gary Latham, director of automotive industry solutions for WhereNet. "Through our locatable, active RFID solutions, we enable partners across the entire automotive supply chain to automate manual processes, reduce inventory, and increase throughput in support of more flexible, lean manufacturing initiatives. Collectively, our customers save millions of dollars annually as a direct result of our technology positively impacting their business."
About WhereNet Corp.
WhereNet is the first company to deliver a single wireless location and communication infrastructure that reliably and cost-effectively manages valuable mobile resources and delivers a complete return on investment within 6-12 months. Based on patented, standards-compliant technology resulting from a collective 100+ years of development, the WhereNet real-time solutions enable companies such as BMW, Ford Motor Company, and NYK Logistics to reduce inventory, lower operating costs, and improve operations. The company has received the Henry Ford Technology Award; was recognized for strong ROI by Computerworld; was ranked among the top 10 in the InfoWorld 100; and has been recognized as a wireless innovator by Forrester Research, Computerworld ROI, Frontline Solutions, Plant Engineering, and Supply Chain Systems magazines. Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, with offices throughout the United States and Europe, WhereNet is funded by Crosspoint Venture Partners, Foundation Capital, Bay Partners, Crescendo Ventures, and Sun Microsystems. For more information, visit the WhereNet Web site at www.wherenet.com, or call 408-845-8500 (in the U.S.) or +32 3 286 84 50 (in Europe).