Paragon Automotive improves vehicle handling efficiency with RFID
Paragon Automotive provides new, in-life, used and remarketing services to the automotive industry and handles more than one million new and used vehicles a year. One site in Immingham has been purpose built to handle vehicle imports into the UK, including processing at the docks, preparation for the UK market and storage before transport to customers.
With a site capacity of over 24,000 vehicles, knowing the precise location of every vehicle is critical to processing efficiency. However manual tracking methods used at other sites showed significant numbers of manhours were being lost simply locating vehicles and keys.
Chris Higgins, group IT director at Paragon, said: "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.”
RFID tracking enables each vehicle to be geo-located as it moves through the process, making significant time savings in vehicle management and increasing transparency. Tracking is done with a combination of fixed and mobile passive RFID reader systems.
The tracking process begins by RFID tagging every vehicle arriving at the site. As the tag is applied, it associated with the vehicle record in Paragon’s Evolution system. Fixed RFID read points were installed by Codegate at strategic points around the site, including valeting and repair shops. 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. A mobile RFID reading system was also installed on a site vehicle. As it was used for normal daily activities, in the background it could also identify and geo-locate vehicles on either side of the road, allowing the stored vehicle inventory data to be continually updated. Elsewhere on site, RFID technology allows for entire transporters to be scanned in order to confirm load contents and despatches, creating a further 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."
July 2016 Update:
BCA acquires Paragon Automotive in £135M deal.
Avril Palmer-Baunack, executive chairman of BCA, said: “The acquisition of Paragon gives us a key component in our transformation of BCA to the pre-eminent managed vehicle services provider to the UK and ultimately European automotive industry.
“Following this transaction BCA will manage over 1.5 million cars a year in the UK and the company sees significant potential to grow this new division organically as well as delivering operating synergies.”
Since the acquisition, BCA has continued to operate the RFID tracking solution at Immingham, and has used Codegate to expand the use of RFID technology to other sites, including a new application to track keys as well as vehicles.