In an industry first, Paragon Automotive has deployed (RFID) technology at its newly redeveloped site in Immingham to make smarter use of both its people and land. The company believes it will see significant cost savings and service-enhancing benefits at all touch-points through the vehicle’s lifecycle.
As the UK’s leading provider of new, in-life, used and remarketing services to the automotive industry Paragon Automotive handles over one million new and used vehicles a year.
The automotive sector is booming in the UK with a record 2.63 million new cars sold in 2015, after a fourth consecutive year of growth. Many of these new cars are imported into the UK and managed by Paragon at the docks, where they are prepared for the UK market and stored before transport to retailers.
With continued growth in the automotive sector, manufacturers and their partners are seeking innovative ways to drive efficiency to accommodate increased volumes.
Chris Higgins, Group IT Director at Paragon said: “Paragon is leading thinking in the application of technology in the automotive sector. We are always looking for ways to work smarter. RFID was one such technology that has been developing for a number of years and it was a case of waiting for the performance to meet our requirements.
“We have integrated RFID deep into our system and business processes and we are already seeing some benefits that are beyond our expectations.”
The company says it has seen improvements in stock control, compound management and wider merit in a data-rich environment.
“The power is not really in the RFID technology itself but rather in the real-time data it generates and the unique ways we are making use of that within our central Evolution IT platform, along with new-generation and mobile devices to make us smarter and more efficient.”
With up to 20,000 vehicles managed by a single site, RFID enables each vehicle to be geo-located as it moves through the process, making significant time savings in vehicle management and increasing transparency.
Every vehicle is tagged the moment it enters Paragon’s care. In the case of the first RFID deployment, this is at the point the new units are taken off car transporter vessels at the quayside. As the tag is applied, it is matched to the factory barcode and linked to the vehicle record in Paragon’s Evolution system.
On site, when a vehicle is recognised by its RFID tag, the system determines the location, status and workflow required to ensure total control and process adherence. Elsewhere on site, RFID technology allows for entire transporters to be scanned in order to confirm load contents and despatches, which creates a large saving in terms of man hours.
Higgins said: “Where a stock check of 20,000 vehicles would have taken a team of 20 people an entire weekend, we can now complete the task at the push of a button.”
Automotive manufacturers expect accuracy and speed across the supply chain, which are two of RFID’s strengths. Paragon expects the technology to improve product visibility across the entire supply chain, leading to reduced operational costs, increased margins and a more efficient logistics process.
Higgins said: “Ultimately, RFID opens the door for manufacturers and supply chain partners to transform outdated processes and deliver a seamless data-rich experience. We aim to work with customers and partners up and down the supply chain to build this out and drive further efficiency.”
Paragon argues that RFID on its own provides the data but it needs smart process engineering and software solutions to realise efficiencies.
Higgins said: “Paragon has invested both time and money to ensure the data is integrated into our systems and processes. How we use the data in our proprietary software systems and then integrate this into workflow is really how we unlock efficiencies.”
Paragon argues that ultimately, RFID opens the door for manufacturers and supply chain partners to transform outdated processes and deliver a seamless data-rich experience.