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Adient Automates Asset Management with RFID

Using RFID technology, Adient initiated a program to tag 875,000 containers of varying types, thus allowing improved visibility into the whereabouts of each container.

Adient Rain RFID Case Study

Tracking reusable assets with RFID dock door solution

Adient supplies automotive seating, interiors, and electronics to automakers. Adient turned to a RFID solution to ensure their returnable shipping containers being used by the company’s automotive experience division were being sent back in a timely manner. The solution delivered:

• 99% read accuracy rate of tagged items
• Increased visibility of their shipping container inventory
• Reduced operating costs due to increased shipment returns

Adient automates asset management to reduce costs

Adient had a mystery to solve: thousands of shipping containers had gone missing. With values of up to $1,500, the missing containers were more than just an inconvenience—they were expensive too. Containers filled with parts were sent to distribution centers or plants across the nation, with the expectation that they would be returned empty for future use by the company. However, due to the vast number of containers being sent out, and their relative homogeneity in appearance, it became increasingly difficult to track them, and find them once they had gone missing.

Using the SLS and RFID dock door solution, Adient was able to gain full visibility into their fleet of shipping containers:

• Reusable containers are tagged with RFID tag chips which correspond to vital information like identity, destination and more
• SLS D-Series™ devices with are placed on either side of the approximately eight-foot wide dock doors
• As containers move in and out of Adient’s dock doors, the Speedway readers collect the item's identity, direction of travel, and location
• Solution software monitors container availability and location, providing opportunity to address problems if containers are not promptly returned

Reducing costs with automated asset management

With values of shipping containers ranging from $3 to $1,500, losing thousands of items had added up. Through their investment in a RFID dock door solution, Adient can now see when their containers move through dock doors and easily identify which customers are mis-using or failing to return empty crates and racks. Missing units can be recovered, and returned back into the network, removing costs associated with replacement pieces.

Easy Inventory Counts

With over 875,000 containers of varying types, keeping track of those available was difficult, especially when relying on manual or semi automated processes. With fully automated inventory visibility, Adient could know at any time exactly what was available to carry shipments out to customers. A labor-intensive count process has been reduced from days to mere minutes. With the mystery of the missing containers successfully solved, Adient is now exploring ways they can further implement RFID technology to improve their operations and provide better service.

  • Industry


  • Capability

    Supply Chain Visibility with RFID

  • Application

    RFID tracking of Containers used for shipping and receiving of automotive seating suppliers.

  • Challenge

    Containers, which were being shipped throughout the world were being lost or misplaced during the return process.

  • Featured Solution

    Using RFID technology, Adient initiated a program to tag 875,000 containers of varying types, thus allowing improved visibility into the whereabouts of each container.

  • Key Benefits

    The solution allowed Adient to save substantial costs on unreturned containers as well as develop improved contingency planning for containers which were not returned on scheduled.

If I have a distribution center sitting on containers for two days, I can see that. We’re changing the paradigm. What we’re saying is, ‘This is an asset of Adient, and we want it back. We know where it is, and if you have it, we're going to come looking for it.
Brian Kelly, Director of Supply Chain Management at Adient