Continental Automotive is replacing a barcoding system at its 75,000m2 manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama with a new RFID system from Xterprise Technology to track inbound inventory.
The US facility receives more than 5,000 types of electronic automotive parts for assembly, including transmission controllers, air bag controllers, GPS units and car stereo parts. The parts are made by 158 suppliers, 80 per cent of which are located outside the US.
Once fully operational the new RFID system will track up to 80,000 reusable containers that carry the parts between the main plant and the three 3PLs serving it: J.I.T Services, Mulitronics VMI and Span. Full system implementation is expected by the middle of 2009.
Radio frequency identification remains a big investment for the industry but the high value of the parts used by Continental means the added security the technology offers, in terms of preventing parts going missing, makes it a worthwhile investment. Continental reports that the new system has already reduced such losses as well as solving the issue of inefficient stockpiling.
The system is built on a Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 platform and SQL server and employs Xterprise's Clarity Automated Goods Receipts (AGR), which manages data regarding inbound raw materials. It also uses Clarity Reusable Transport Items (RTI) software for tracking reusable totes.
Under the old barcoding system LSPs sent advance shipping notices that were processed manually by Continental's staff, a process that sometimes resulted in advance shipping notices being recorded late.
The new system has reduced inventory inaccuracies and decreased the long processing time created by scanning each container's bar-coded label, said Continental. Truck turnaround times have also been reduced at the Huntsville plant, added the company.