VW, Ringnes brewery to track items
IBM has announced that car manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) and Ringnes, Norway’s largest brewery and a division of the Carlsberg Group, have both signed deals to use RFID on shipping containers.
The two separate deals will see VW track the flow of materials between supplier and the assembly line and Ringnes keep track of trucks at its warehouse.
VW recently completed a year-long trial and has now decided to rollout the RFID project at its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.
The trial involved fitting 3,000 shipping containers with passive RFID tags – meaning it operates without a battery and has to generate its own power via the reader to enable it to send messages. Readers were stationed at entrances to the manufacturing line to identify containers and their contents, in this case sunroofs for new VW Golfs.
The containers were tracked from the supplier’s shipping department, through the transportation process to their arrival, storage, collection and installation at VW. The tracking process was also in operation when the containers were sent back to the suppliers.
The German car maker estimates that using RFID tags to monitor its supply chain can reduce manual processes at the goods receiving stage by 80%, reducing the need for paper records and barcode labels.
The project is part of a wider scheme at VW to improve efficiencies across the company. Klaus Hardy Mühleck, Group CIO and head of Group IT at VW, said: “Our long-term goal is to implement an integrated, paperless production and logistics chain throughout the whole Group. The pilot project showed that we can reliably integrate RFID technology into our business processes at a low cost.”
Norwegian brewery Ringnes used to operate a manual process to keep track of its trucks delivering half a billion litres of beer, soft drinks and bottled water annually. The exact location of a truck could only be determined visually or by phone, the company said.
Using IBM software the company can now track the arrival, departure, loading and unloading of each container at its Oslo facility, which has 40 loading gates with up to 200 Ringnes trucks on the road at any one time.
The implementation of this software has given Ringnes visibility into whether a trailer or container is on or off site, how long it was parked at the facility, and when it was loaded, unloaded and driven away.
Jan Inge Bakkane, business process manager at Ringnes, said: “Even small changes in our logistics system can have a positive effect on our bottom line. The system we’ve created with IBM will allow our logistics operations to work smarter, which makes for better customer service.”
Both companies are using IBM’s WebSphere Premises Server, an application-neutral RFID middleware product.