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Supply chain efficiency: Car production

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 vehicles. We will outline why locating vehicles during the production process can be beneficial for your supply chain. Subsequently, we will elaborate on the different steps to consider for a pilot project to track your vehicles.

Before we dive into this, we would like to point out some key takeaways:

  • Industrial IoT can help you locate a specific vehicle in the production process within 5 minutes
  • Tracking vehicles ensures you have data about possible delays or other struggles in the supply chain
  • An industrial IoT pilot project is easy to scale across your company for other applications

Locate a specific vehicle within five minutes

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

This is exactly what you achieve with an industrial IoT solution, applied to vehicle 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.

“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?”

Firstly, when launching a new model or model year change, vehicles do not always follow the normal flow. This makes it difficult to trace back a specific vehicle during production. Furthermore, it can be hard to keep track of where the vehicles are parked after the production process. Implementing industrial IoT solves these challenges. Let’s look at the different steps Volvo Cars Ghent went through to launch a pilot project to track their vehicles.

How to successfully launch an industrial IoT pilot project

At the end of 2018, car manufacturer Volvo launches 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 vehicles. To do this their vehicles need to be connected to the internet in a simple way. This is exactly what an industrial IoT solution is capable of doing. It connects your assets with minimal hassle, regardless of whether your assets are vehicles, manufacturing parts, trailers or containers.

To connect their vehicles to the internet, the Volvo vehicles 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, Volvo Cars Ghent partners up with Simac ICT Belgium, an ICT integrator in the Benelux and partner from Sensolus.

Starting with a project like this can happen quickly.  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 is the 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 vehicles, the tracking itself can be extended by not only tracking vehicles but also vehicle parts both outdoors and indoors.

Due to the cooperation with Sensolus and Simac ICT Belgium, Volvo Cars Ghent is always aware of the location of a vehicle in the production process and possible delays or other struggles. In short, 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 more information or a tailored demo.

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