Essential steps to increase your supply chain efficiency as a car manufacturer

Reading time: 3 minutes

Producing thousands of vehicles each day and flawlessly launching a new model with endless customizable options. This expectation is not always easy to meet as the production flow needs to be agile and real-time, aligned with the customer’s needs. This is where an industrial IoT solution can make a difference, to locate a specific vehicle quickly and identify bottlenecks in your production process.

This blog post discusses how car manufacturer Volvo Cars Ghent succeeded in implementing industrial IoT to track their cars. We will outline why locating cars during the production process can be beneficial for your supply chain. Subsequently, we will elaborate on the different steps to consider when starting a pilot project to track your cars.

Before we dive into this, I would like to point out the key takeaways of this blog post:

  • Industrial IoT can help you locate a specific car within 5 minutes
  • Tracking cars ensures you have data about inactive ones or delays in the production chain
  • Keep in mind whether your pilot project can easily be scaled across your company

Locate a specific car within five minutes

Imagine your manager asks you to locate a specific car in the production process and you can pinpoint exactly where it is within five minutes. This would save you time and increase efficiency enormously, no?

This is exactly what you can achieve with an industrial IoT solution for car tracking. A thing that Volvo Cars Ghent knows all too well. They produce 200.000 vehicles each year, making the company one of the largest production sites of the famous car brand. Before implementing an industrial IoT solution, they faced several challenges during the production process.

First of all, when launching a new model or model year change, cars do not always follow the normal flow. This makes it difficult to quickly locate a specific finished car. Furthermore, it can be hard to keep track of where the cars are parked after the manufacturing process. Implementing an industrial IoT solution can solve these challenges. Let’s look at the different steps Volvo Cars Ghent went through to launch a pilot project to track their cars.

“Imagine your manager asks you to locate a specific car in the production process and you can pinpoint exactly where it is within five minutes.
This would save you time and increase efficiency enormously, no?”

How to successfully launch an industrial IoT pilot project

At the end of 2018, car manufacturer Volvo launched an IoT project to quickly locate specific vehicles. Overall, the goal is to optimize their supply chain efficiency and have a tool in place to quickly locate cars. To be able to do this, their cars need to be connected in a simple way. This is exactly what an industrial IoT solution is capable of doing, connecting your assets with minimal hassle. Regardless of whether your assets are cars, manufacturing parts, trailers or containers.

To connect their cars to the internet, the Volvo cars are equipped with sensors that use little energy and are remotely configurable. The latter makes it easy for changes to take effect when circumstances or processes change. For the entire delivery and integration with a number of existing IT systems, Sensolus and Volvo Cars Ghent partnered up with Simac ICT Belgium, an ICT integrator in the Benelux.

Starting with a project like this can happen quickly since installing industrial IoT doesn’t require wired infrastructure or extensive technical training. Volvo was able to implement the project in less than a month. During this project, a total of approximately one thousand sensors were used to track the new Volvo V60.

Essential to take into account here is scalability of the IoT solution you choose. When starting this project, Volvo Cars Ghent knew other models can also easily be equipped with a tracking system. Besides tracking more cars, the tracking itself can also be extended by not only tracking cars but also car parts both outdoors and indoors.

Due to the cooperation between Sensolus and Simac ICT Belgium, Volvo Cars Ghent is now able to identify cars that are inactive for too long and at which point in the production chain a car is delayed. An important step in the optimization of their supply chain.

Are you looking for an industrial IoT solution to optimize your supply chain? Our product experts are happy to give you a demo.

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