LKQ is Belgium’s largest provider of aftermarket automotive parts, and rents out diagnostic equipment to garages and body shops across the country. To achieve visibility of their inventory and prevent their specialized equipment from getting damaged or lost, the transport cases were fitted with a tracker from Sensolus, Europe’s leader in connected asset management. By virtue of geozone technology, the solution automatically tracks when equipment leaves an LKQ facility or garage. In addition, the energy-efficient technology ensures that the trackers’ batteries last as long as the equipment itself. Sensolus partner, Convium guided LKQ through the process, from start to finish.
As the market leader in Belgium, LKQ Belgium offers a wide range of parts and equipment for the automotive aftermarket, from well-known brands to secondary brands, to its own private labels. LKQ Corporation employs 45,000 people in 25 countries. Aside from selling parts, it also rents out diagnostic equipment which is often too significant an investment for garage owners to take on themselves. The equipment is used by LKQ Belgium to perform diagnostics, and garage owners can also use it themselves for testing on vehicles of different brands.
Lost equipment cases
With 20 Belgian branches and a multitude of customers spread across the country, it was nearly impossible for LKQ Belgium to keep track of the locations of this equipment. The market leader’s specialists would agree among themselves to pass on cases to save a trip to headquarters, or garage owners would lend the devices to colleagues.
“In the past, we would adjust our administration afterward in an Excel sheet. That was quite a labor-intensive and not very watertight procedure. The equipment regularly got lost or stayed with customers longer than agreed. This would cost us a pretty penny, as that type of equipment is worth a couple of thousand euros. That is why we decided to turn to Sensolus, a specialist in IoT and tracking technology for industrial goods,” notes Yayra Osias Apedzeagbo. As technical support at LKQ Belgium, he is responsible for managing the renting of diagnostic equipment.
Hands-on and assertive
The cases in which the equipment is transported were fitted with trackers from Sensolus. Sensolus partner Convium guided LKQ through the project from A to Z. “Convium came over to get a clear picture of what makes managing our assets so complex and labor-intensive. Their experts actively talked us through questions like, ‘How can we reduce the workload in the LKQ branches?’, ‘How do we make it clear where the equipment is located?’ and ‘What is the best way to mount the trackers on the cases?’ They were very hands-on in their support and to the point in their feedback. It was clear that they listened to our needs and were actively looking for the best solution,” says Yayra Osias Apedzeagbo.
The Sensolus trackers remain active for about five to six years, which is in line with the average lifespan of the devices. “The long battery life is made possible in part by the tracker’s support of various geolocation technologies. They are configured to utilize the most energy-efficient technology available,” explains Steven Vermuyten of Convium. “LKQ Belgium is particularly innovative with this case. They are a forerunner in a sector where all too often work is still done in a needlessly traditional way. Manual work costs a lot of time and with this solution, we show that it can be done better.”
Tracking with geo-zones
Geo-zones were set up for various locations such as customer garages and LKQ branches. When an equipment case leaves or enters a geo-zone, the person responsible at LKQ Belgium receives a notification in the Sensolus platform. In this platform, all data from the trackers is stored and the locations of the suitcases are clearly displayed. This simplifies reporting and analysis of the use of the equipment. The trackers are also equipped with anti-theft functionality. If the tracker is removed without permission, LKQ Belgium also receives an alarm notification of this. Via a mobile application, LKQ specialists and account managers can track the location of the equipment very specifically and efficiently at any time.
“The main reason for us to install a tracking system is to be able to locate the equipment,” explains Yayra Osias Apedzeagbo. “This is quite expensive equipment for which we pay a hefty license fee. Therefore, it is important that we always know where each of our equipment cases are. This also allows us, for example, to verify at which locations the equipment was damaged as well as ensure correct invoicing.”
LKQ Belgium, meanwhile, already sees new applications for the Sensolus trackers. “We recently started renting out radar calibration kits that are used to calibrate the satnavs in road vehicles. These too are devices that cost several thousand euros and we will also be equipping them with trackers,” says Yayra Osias Apedzeagbo. “As far as I am concerned, it is a great success and I am not surprised at all that other departments within LKQ are also eager to get started with the technology.”