As RFID becomes more and more common in highly regulated environments, those who do business with the military and other government agencies are seeing the value that RFID provides. Indeed, Radio Frequency Identification technology allows defense contractors to gain real-time visibility into their operations and track assets with more precision and efficiency than they would with solutions like barcoding and visual inspections. But RFID doesn’t just work well in highly regulated environments; it’s also being adapted in creative ways by other industries as well.
The RFID Journal published an insightful article this month about how RFID tracking is now being used to track vehicles for an automotive seller in Texas, and the results are remarkable. Let’s explore what Texas Direct Auto has learned from rolling out an RFID system, and how this newest development for RFID asset tracking can teach us some important lessons about the value of RFID.
- Vehicles can be tagged as soon as they are acquired: Texas Direct Auto buys about 3,000 used vehicles every month and they are distributed to one of its 10 sites around the Houston area. To keep track of such a high volume, fast-moving inventory across multiple sites, the company applies an RFID tag to the windshield of every vehicle.
- Vehicles can be tracked through the company’s reconditioning facility: Because the company acquires used vehicles, each vehicle needs a particular combination of repairs and refinishes. At the company’s central reconditioning facility, an RFID reader is installed at each repair station (i.e. painting, dent removal, parts repair) to record when the vehicle has passed through the station and what services need to be performed. Repair technicians can access this information in real time, on handheld tablets, from anywhere in the reconditioning facility.
- RFID can grant access to vehicles: To ensure the right vehicles go to the right place, vehicles’ RFID tags are interrogated by RFID readers at the entrances and exits to the company’s facilities. If a vehicle has not passed through all of its repair stations, the exit gate at the reconditioning facility will not open.
- Vehicles can be located with RFID: Whether vehicles are parked in a storage facility or have left a company showroom for a test drive, RFID readers are able to capture real-time information on where cars are located. In fact, the system is even programmed to text a salesperson as soon as his or her customer has returned from a test drive.
- Missing vehicles can be quickly linked to security footage: When a vehicle is lost or stolen, RFID can be used to quickly link to corresponding video footage, which can then be turned over to law enforcement.
Since implementing this asset tracking technology, Texas Direct Auto has boosted its vehicle throughput time by 30%, leading to significant efficiencies. Thanks to RFID, the company has been able to tag and track vehicles as soon as they are acquired. This gives Texas Direct Auto the ability to give vehicles customized access permissions, easily locate them, and even to link lost or stolen vehicles to security footage.