Ford Motor Company of Canada will deploy the standards-based WhereNet® active RFID real-time locating system (RTLS) technology at Ford’s Oakville Assembly Complex (OAC) in Ontario, Canada.
This means, in essence, parts delivered on steroids: just-in-time parts coming in 24/7, via the WhereNet automated “Fast Gate” check in/out system. The anticipated result: dramatic improvmeints the efficiency of OAC’s freight and inventory management system.
The WhereNet deployment is part of a transformation of the Oakville complex to flexible manufacturing – so Ford warehouses using the system can avoid an expensive retooling process required of traditional model changeovers, says a news release.
RFID will help the plant expand operations: right now OAC builds the Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans; this fall, the plant will begin production of the 2007 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossover utility vehicles, according to the release.
WhereNet Active RFID System Automates Inbound Supply Chain and Improves Logistics for Ford of Canada
Wednesday May 31, 6:00 am ET
WhereNet ‘Fast Gate’ Yard Management System Accelerates Sequenced Parts Deliveries in Support of Flexible Manufacturing at 125-Acre Oakville, Ontario, Assembly Complex
SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 31 /PRNewswire/ – WhereNet Corp., the leader of wireless solutions for tracking and managing enterprise assets, announced today that Ford Motor Company of Canada is deploying the standards-based WhereNet® active radio frequency identification (RFID), real-time locating system (RTLS) technology at Ford’s Oakville Assembly Complex (OAC) in Ontario, Canada. By expediting delivery of just-in-time parts 24×7, the WhereNet automated “Fast Gate” check in/out solution will dramatically improve the efficiency of OAC’s freight and inventory management system.
Since 2000, Ford has deployed WhereNet wireless location systems at more than 50 facilities around the world. Covering the entire 5.4 million square foot OAC facility, the WhereNet implementation will be the largest RTLS- powered yard management system for an automotive manufacturer in the world.
Ford Be Nimble, Ford Be Quick
The WhereNet deployment is part of a transformation of the Oakville complex to flexible manufacturing, allowing for quick responses to market demand without the lengthy and expensive retooling process required of traditional model changeovers. Currently, OAC builds the Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans; this fall, the plant will begin production of the 2007 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossover utility vehicles.
With flexible manufacturing, inbound parts shipments from suppliers are smaller and more frequent – in OAC’s case, involving hundreds of daily truckloads of thousands of components in sequence. By automating the check-in/out procedures, the WhereNet system saves Ford several hours a day processing deliveries and increases efficiency in the supply chain.
Wireless “Cloud” Provides Real-Time Visibility and Status Information
The WhereNet Fast Gate system puts a “wireless cloud” over the entire Oakville complex, with active RFID WhereTag(TM) transmitters permanently fixed to trailers belonging to Ford’s dedicated suppliers (and temporarily fixed to others); 14 WherePort(TM) magnetic “exciters” positioned at each gate; and a local infrastructure of 68 wireless WhereLAN(TM) locating access points spread throughout the complex. When a truck approaches a gate, the WhereNet Fast Gate system senses the WhereTag, cross-references detailed information about the truck in a database, and automatically opens the gate to grant entry if the truck and its load are authorized.
The driver then drops the trailer load at any one of 177 receiving dock doors and departs via a similar automated checkout procedure, without ever having to leave the cab. Meanwhile, the WhereNet system captures the location of each trailer and precise information about its cargo and wirelessly transmits that information to a database, allowing Ford personnel instant access to this critical information. For example, forklift drivers can learn where to pick up requested parts by accessing information on mobile devices supported by the WhereNet Wi-Fi infrastructure and then deliver sequenced components to the final assembly area at the precise moment they are needed.
“The WhereNet system gives Ford the agility to manage its inbound supply chain on a minute-by-minute basis to support flexible manufacturing processes and rapidly adjust to shifting market demands,” explained Tom Bacon, vice president of WhereNet’s automotive division. “Our active RFID rules-based yard management system allows Ford to efficiently track the movement of about 1,000 trucks a day, ensuring that each of the 2,000 parts needed to build every vehicle is delivered to the assembly line at the precise moment it’s needed.”
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 active RFID, real-time locating system solutions enable companies such as APL, 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. WhereNet is headquartered in Santa Clara, California, and has offices throughout the United States and Europe. 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).
NOTE: WhereNet is a registered trademark, and WhereLAN, WherePort, and WhereTag are trademarks of WhereNet Corp. All other brands, products, or service names are or may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.