Following a successful one-year pilot program, Volkswagen Group is preparing to introduce RFID-enabled tracking to its logistics system. IBM is supplying the system.
The RFID system provides visibility throughout the Volkswagen logistics system, beginning at the shipping departments of parts suppliers. From there, RFID-tagged containers of parts can be tracked throughout transportation to Volkswagen facilities, and during storage, collection, and assembly. Emptied shipping containers are also tracked on the way to suppliers, to make sure they all reach their destination.
For the pilot program, around 3000 containers were tagged with passive RFID tags designed to avoid interference from the metal containers. Readers were installed at the entrance to manufacturing lines, along with mobile handheld and forklift-mounted scanners. The pilot program proved to Volkswagen that the RFID solution could be adopted system-wide at a low cost and with positive effects on logistics efficiency.
Volkswagen is now preparing to introduce the system at its central logistics hall, located at its major plant in Germany, and suppliers will phase in use of the tagged containers.
The Volkswagen solution uses IBM Global Technology Services’ RFID container management solution together with the IBM WebSphere Premises Server, an application-neutral RFID middleware product. Intermec RFID tags were used in the pilot program.