Tracking Reusable Assets with RAIN RFID Dock Door Solution
Adient turned to a RAIN RFID solution to ensure their returnable shipping containers being used by the company’s Automotive Experience division were being sent back in a timely manner. They saw:
- 99% read accuracy rate of tagged items
- Increased visibility of their shipping container inventory
- Reduced operating costs due to increased shipment returns
Adient supplies automotive seating, interiors, and electronics to automakers. A major global manufacturer, Adient employs over 85,000 workers throughout in 234 manufacturing and assembly plants in 34 countries worldwide. The parts they make end up in 25 million vehicles annually.
Impinj Solution Partner
Adient automates asset management to reduce costs
Adient had a mystery to solve: thousands of shipping containers had gone missing. With values of up to $1,500, the missing containers were more than just an inconvenience—they were expensive too.
Containers filled with parts were sent to distribution centers or plants across the nation, with the expectation that they would be returned empty for future use by the company. However, due to the vast number of containers being sent out, and their relative homogeneity in appearance, it became increasingly difficult to track them, and find them once they had gone missing.
Using the SLS and Impinj RAIN RFID dock door solution, Adient was able to gain full visibility into their fleet of shipping containers:
- Reusable containers are tagged with RAIN RFID tag chips which correspond to vital information like identity, destination and more
- SLS smartPORTALs with Impinj Speedway readers inside are placed on either side of the approximately eight-foot wide dock doors
- As containers move in and out of Adient's dock doors, the Speedway readers collect the item's identity, direction of travel and location
- Solution software monitors container availability and location, providing opportunity to address problems if containers are not promptly returned
"If I have a distribution center sitting on containers for two days, I can see that. We're changing the paradigm. What we're saying is, 'This is an asset of Adient, and we want it back. We know where it is, and if you have it, we're going to come looking for it."
- Brian Kelly, Director of Supply Chain Management at Adient
Asset management is easy with RAIN RFID
- Reducing Costs with Automated Asset Management
With values of shipping containers ranging from $3 to $1,500, losing thousands of items had added up. Through their investment in a RAIN RFID dock door solution, Adient can now see when their containers move through dock doors and easily identify which customers are mis-using or failing to return empty crates and racks. Missing units can be recovered, and returned back into the network, removing costs associated with replacement pieces.
- Easy Inventory Counts
With over 875,000 containers of varying types, keeping track of those available was difficult, especially when relying on manual or semi-automated processes. With fully automated inventory visibility, Adient could know at any time exactly what was available to carry shipments out to customers. A labor-intensive count process has been reduced from days to mere minutes.
With the mystery of the missing containers successfully solved, Adient is now exploring ways they can further implement RAIN RFID technology to improve their operations and provide better service.