Ford Uses RTLS at Dearborn Truck Plant

WhereNet Corp., manufacturer of wireless solutions for tracking and managing enterprise assets, announced that Ford Motor Company has deployed the standards-based WhereNet real-time locating system (RTLS) technology at its new Dearborn Truck Plant at Rouge Center in Dearborn, Michigan. The WhereNet WhereCall wireless parts replenishment system will help Ford execute new flexible manufacturing processes allowing the automaker to rapidly adjust to shifting market demands for its top-selling F-150 pickup trucks. Manufacturers in Europe, North and South America, and in the Asia Pacific regions are currently using WhereNet’s automotive applications to reduce inventory and increase productivity.

“Ford’s River Rouge facility embodies the 21st century model for lean, flexible manufacturing. By leveraging wireless real-time locating system solutions, Ford is now able to run even leaner and adapt quicker to changing market demands,” said Bruce Hudson, program director of enterprise applications, Meta Group. “Amid record new model introductions and increasingly complex outsourced supply chains, automakers must embrace wireless systems to connect people, processes and parts and automate previously time-intensive, error-prone, manual tasks. Such flexible manufacturing capabilities are projected to save the auto industry billions of dollars over the next decade.”

A recipient of the Henry Ford Technology Award for technological advancement, the parts replenishment system leverages WhereNet’s standards-based wireless real-time locating system technology. Installed at more than 70 automotive plants around the world, automotive OEM’s utilize the system for just-in-time parts replenishment. Collectively, WhereCall processes about 4,000 requests every hour (24/7) for all its automotive customers (or about 35 million parts “calls” per year).

Wireless WhereCall devices provide an alternative to paper-based Kanban (parts replenishment) systems or hardwired electronic call systems and offer the dual advantages of low installation costs and flexibility in industrial manufacturing environments. The system can be installed in less time it took to install previous parts replenishment systems, and line re-balancing operations can be done in much less time with virtually no additional capital expenditures for hardware and equipment.

For more information, visit www.wherenet.com.

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