Many companies in various industries rely on their equipment to drive their production. Regardless of the equipment and how it is used, there is a common need for a professional and efficient production tool management system.
RFID asset management systems can potentially be used to track any piece of equipment involved in a business process. Because RFID asset tracking solutions require little or no human intervention, they enable greater asset visibility and therefore offer a large potential for improving asset management and cutting operating costs.
In the Transport and Logistics sector, an intelligent haulage and handling vehicle management system is vital to ensure that operations are carried out efficiently and effectively, according to safety and maintenance requirements and cost control specifications. RFID readers and tags, installed in buildings, at checkpoints and in vehicles, allow you to locate vehicles, monitor their use, determine their availability, etc. In short, they enable greater visibility of the vehicle fleet and related operations.
Neopost Shipping has developed the IdTruck solution to meet the visibility requirements of carriers and logisticians.
Tracking Vehicles at Checkpoints
IdTruck uses RFID technology to track vehicles, enabling you to more accurately locate your equipment and therefore more closely manage related operations, monitor the use of your equipment and pinpoint its most recent location in the tracking area.
The IdTruck system allows you to monitor vehicle entry and exit movements, measure the time that a vehicle spends in a given area, and detect the passage of a vehicle along a specific route. IdTruck has many applications in both the goods and passenger transport sectors, for example:
- The management of transport schedules and itineraries, through the monitoring of entry/exit movements at logistics sites.
- The monitoring of regular public transport circuits and distribution circuits, through the automatic detection of vehicles passing through specific ‘checkpoints’ such as bus-stops, stations and sites.
- The recording of vehicle departure/arrival movements in a specific area: parking lot, docks, terminus area, etc.
- The monitoring of entry/exit points at maintenance sites, to determine the number of passages and measure unavailability: repair shop, vehicle wash, etc.
- The monitoring of all types of vehicle leaving a given area, site or parking lot without permission or without an accompanying vehicle (e.g. a trailer leaving a site without a referenced tractor, or a vehicle or object loaded into or onto an unreferenced trailer, etc.).
- The allocation of inbound/outbound doors according to the availability of logistics platforms.
IdTruck is not a substitute for GPS. It is a complementary technology and may, in some cases, be more beneficial depending on project requirements, objectives and budget. GPS is an excellent solution for tracking vehicles and managing their movements; however, RFID tracking is more efficient in the following situations:
- There is a large number of vehicles to track; in this case, the cost aspect must be seriously considered, as GPS tracking units are much more expensive to buy, implement and service than RFID tags.
- Equipping vehicles with an electricity supply would prove very costly; an active RFID tag has an embedded battery and can be installed within seconds, minutes at most.
- The vehicles must be tracked in places without satellite reception, such as buildings, tunnels, hangars, etc.
- A high level of accuracy is required at checkpoints, for example to control access to a site without a security guard or to determine the exact time at which a vehicle passes a stop; although GPS is accurate within 10 meters, RFID will be more accurate where checkpoints are a few dozen meters apart, as it locates objects with respect to a fixed point.
A Solution For Both Indoor And Outdoor Use
IdTruck uses RFID equipment that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The readers installed at checkpoints are designed to withstand outdoor conditions. They contain all the components needed to read and process RFID data. Each reader is fitted with a GPRS communication board, which uploads monitoring data to the Neopost Shipping central server in real time, without drawing on your network resources or your IT teams. In some cases, they can be powered by a photovoltaic panel; this makes them fully autonomous and easier to implement, especially where an electricity supply is difficult or expensive to obtain.
We select the most appropriate RFID tags, depending on the vehicle fleet to be tracked. Various types and levels of resistance to outdoor conditions are available. In most cases, we use active tags that are placed either inside or outside the vehicle.
A Bundled Solution Based on a Service Contract
IdTruck is a bundled ‘Managed Services’ solution including all the project components:
- RFID equipment: readers, tags, etc
- The IdTruck vehicle management software hosted on Neopost Shipping servers
- The flow of vehicle tracking data between the RFID infrastructure and the IdTruck software
- On-site implementation and maintenance services
This service-oriented approach provides an up-to-date solution in a very short timeframe, without investment. It also means that you will not need your own technical resources to implement your solution. Finally, it is the perfect way of keeping costs in line with the size of your fleet.
In order to determine the overall project requirements, define methods of optimization and estimate your return on investment, we will run a complete analysis of your environment. This includes understanding your processes, running site audits to capture the project’s physical environment, studying your entire vehicle fleet to select the most adapted RFID solution - and adjust it when necessary, analyzing the data flows to be managed for a tailored solution, and determining your exact functional requirements so you can fully benefit from the collected RFID data.