7 Ways RFID is Revolutionizing Automotive Manufacturing

The world of automotive manufacturing is a competitive place. The choices available to consumers pits major carmakers against one another, driving prices down and squeezing margins to their limit. Because of globalization in the market, competition is becoming fierce. In fact, Chinese car manufacturers are now pushing to become major players in the global automotive market, manufacturing at a fraction of the price and challenging the traditional production model.

In this unrelenting marketplace, wide-area radio frequency identification technology (RFID) is proving to be an essential tool for any automotive manufacturer seeking to remain competitive. These seven factors have led to wide-area RFID solutions revolutionizing efficiency throughout the automotive supply chain:

1) Shipping and Receiving

Even before components are shipped to the automotive manufacturers for assembly, RFID technology comes into play. Source tagging individual items from suppliers enables automated receiving at the next step in the chain. Goods can be compared to data in an ERP system, significantly improving shipping accuracy and cost recovery if shipments are incorrect, creating the perfect supply chain solution. 

2) Staging

Unlike standard RFID systems, wide-area RFID solutions go beyond the dock doors by making the entire staging floor visible. Misplaced items can be identified, located and corrected in real-time, reducing the impact of human error that can cause costly delays.

3) Dock Door Discrimination

Conventional dock door RFID readers have the potential for inconsistent performance, which reduces system accuracy and functionality. Such systems require expensive software to account for these failures. Wide-area RFID systems, such as Mojix STAR and STARflex, read RFID tags in a way that eliminates this problem altogether, resulting in substantial CAPEX and OPEX cost reductions through highly accurate and reliable asset tracking.

4) Non-Conforming Materials Management

Non-conforming materials (NCM) from vendors clog the arteries of automotive OEMs, most of whom still employ laborious, error-prone, manual NCM processes that take from 10 to 30 days to resolve a bad lot. In the meantime, inaccurate inventory distorts materials demand signals and delays cost recovery. RFID tracking systems and NCM process automation software have been shown to cut processing time from 10 days to 1, to error-proof the process and to provide data and analytics to quality, finance, operations and other stakeholders.

5) Work-in-Process

RFID, and especially wide-area RFID, can be used to synchronize production flow so that materials are where they need to be at the right time, keeping lines running smoothly. Companies with global supply chains that integrate parts from multiple sources can minimize inefficiency and waste while optimizing production with an RFID solution.

6) Content Verification

It’s not only standard vehicle manufacturing that can benefit from an RFID solution. High value specialty vehicles, such as armored cars or ambulances, use nonstandard components that can be tagged to verify that the right part is added to right chassis as it moves along the production line.

7) FGI and Re-work Lot Management

In post-production, RFID tracking can be used to locate any vehicle, even within a lot of thousands of identical vehicles. The unique RFID serial number can be associated with the VIN number and the car’s manufacturing history, ensuring that rework is completed correctly and expeditiously and finished cars are shipped to the right destination.

RFID in Automotive Manufacturing – The Bottom Line

Asset tracking and supply chain solutions using RFID technology are creating a new level of efficiency for automotive manufacturers hoping to maintain profit margins in this most competitive of industries.