Jacksonville, FL-based TNT Logistics North America is developing an RFID-based logistics program for automotive manufacturers to help improve delivering time accuracy for the supply chain feeding their factories.
“There are no industry-based RFID [radio frequency identification] automotive mandates today like in retail with Wal-mart,” said Terry McIntyre, corporate technology services manager for TNT Logistics. “While the auto industry has been using RFID successfully in production processes for some time, the use of it elsewhere in the supply chain has been slow in coming – until now.”
McIntyre said the RFID initiative is beginning at the its Material Sequencing Center (MSC) operated by TNT Logistics for Ford Motor Co.’s Dearborn truck assembly plant in Dearborn, MI.
Prior to this RFID project, the operation was experiencing a series of disconnected electronic and manual processes. This led to disruptions such as late deliveries, part shortages, and misplaced or lost parts.
As part of the Ford/TNT initiative, RFID tags and a network of wireless locating sensors, supplied by WhereNet Corp., now provide real-time location and status information for thousands of mobile racks shared between the plant and TNT’s facility, said McIntyre. Devices located at dock doors at the MSC trigger the RFID tag to emit a signal when a rack full of parts is loaded onto a truck bound for the plant, he noted.
Through this automatic data-collection process, utilizing Tibco software solutions, the system confirms the load has been built, and validates that it is in ready-to-ship status, said McIntyre.