Magazine Article | November 19, 2008

Active RFID Provides Real-Time Inventory Visibility

Source: Field Technologies Magazine
Integrated Solutions, December 2008

DAT AUTOHUS is one of Europe's largest used vehicle companies, holding more than 1,500 used vehicles at any given time. Besides customers who decide to look on-site for a vehicle, DAT AUTOHUS also deals with customers who have selected a car through its website and are coming to view, test drive, or purchase the selected vehicle. There are more than 50 test drives scheduled each day, so it is important for DAT AUTOHUS to be able to quickly locate the car when the customer arrives. Furthermore, 40 to 50 vehicles are received each day and have to be accounted for while they pass through an inspection procedure before being added to inventory.

DAT AUTOHUS recently turned to IDENTEC SOLUTIONS to deploy an RFID (radio frequency identification) solution to track its vehicles. In addition to working with IDENTEC on the RFID hardware, the company worked with Silverstroke AG, a subsidiary of Cirquent GmbH, to develop a customized software solution that interfaces with DAT AUTOHUS's ERP (enterprise resource planning) system to process and display the RFID data. DAT AUTOHUS now places IDENTEC's i-Q8 active RFID transponders beneath the headrests of the vehicles as they arrive. The transponder identifies the car and stores information about its life cycle from check-in to test drives and the final sale using 8 i-PORT 3 RFID readers and 26 antennas. The readers and antennas are placed at key points in the business process, such as the vehicle's arrival, car wash, service, parking lot, and exit gate. The readers gather information on all the active i-Q8 transponders as they pass through these points.

The solution enables DAT AUTOHUS to find the location of any vehicle within seconds. This visibility lets DAT AUTOHUS know where the vehicles are in receiving and preparation and how long each is taking, allowing the company to make adjustments as needed. Streamlining these processes gets vehicles to the point of sale faster, which increases car turnaround. The solution also has improved customer service, because customers no longer have to wait for an associate to find a car they'd scheduled to test drive. Further, the RFID transponder records how many times a car has been test driven. With this information, DAT AUTOHUS can determine which makes and models are of highest interest and adjust the inventory and pricing of those vehicles accordingly.