SANTA CLARA, Calif.–March 9, 2004– WhereNet Corp., the leader of wireless solutions for tracking and managing enterprise assets, announced today that AM General, the world-leader in the design, engineering, and production of military and special purpose vehicles, has adopted WhereNet’s wireless location technology at its Hummer H2 factory in Mishawaka, Indiana.
AM General is currently running one WhereNet-based application to streamline assembly lines and optimize plant-floor operations. WhereNet’s WhereCall™ wireless parts replenishment system and GE Fanuc’s CIMPLICITY Tracker application, which leverages the WhereNet wireless location infrastructure, enable AM General to expedite production and delivery of the H2 all-terrain vehicles to dealerships throughout the world.
“The flexibility and reliability of the WhereNet system has allowed us to operate at peak efficiency and ramp-up production to meet the pent-up demand for the Hummer vehicles,” said Deborah Cafiero, CIO/director, Information Systems, AM General. “Wireless on the plant floor is revolutionizing the automotive industry and we are a perfect case in point. Through lower operating costs, AM General has already realized a return on its WhereNet investment and the applications continue to pay big dividends every day.”
“We are honored to contribute to the efficiency of the manufacturing process of one of the most popular selling vehicles in the world,” said Dan Doles, president and CEO, WhereNet Corp. “Given our customer successes with some of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers, we know that our wireless technology is poised for greatness in the automotive industry. With each additional installation and associated ROI validation, we are reminded of the true breakthrough that we are delivering as automotive factories implement the leanest assembly lines and quickest production cycles ever.”
Calling All Parts – 500 Pendants Make Assembly Line “Humm”
The WhereCall wireless parts replenishment system, a first-of-its-kind invention, is used by several leading automakers and currently deployed in more than 70 factories around the world. The AM General factory uses about 500 WhereCall devices to support “just-in-time” manufacturing processes. With a typical installation period of 90 days and an established return on investment (ROI) of less than one year, WhereCall is widely recognized in the automotive industry for its bottom-line benefits.
WhereCall provides an electronic means for assembly-line operators to request bulk material replenishment. When supplies on the line start to run low, the line side operator presses a button on the WhereCall pendant that sends a request specifying the type of material required and its delivery location. The WhereCall system provides an alternative to paper-based Kanban parts replenishment systems or hardwired electronic call systems, and it offers the twin advantages of low installation costs and unparalleled flexibility in industrial manufacturing environments.
Single System, Multiple Applications, Big Benefits
AM General’s strategic intent is to further enhance the efficiency of its operation by leveraging the WhereNet wireless architecture in conjunction with the GE Fanuc CIMPLICITY Tracker application to monitor work in progress. The Tracker application will be the most robust of its kind in the automotive industry. While standard Tracker applications receive data from bar codes or passive RFID tags, the reliability of this information is often compromised due to missed or improper scans. To support 98% accurate data capture, the AM General Tracker application is integrated with the WhereNet wireless system comprised of 18 antennas, more than 60 active radio frequency WhereTag™ transmitters and 50 WherePort™ devices.