Sundargarh Truck Owners’ Association (STOA) is the largest association of truck owners in the Indian state of Orissa, comprising of over 2000 truck owners and managing a fleet of over 4500 trucks. STOA provides coal transportation from the coal mines to the mines’ client industries located in eastern Orissa. The association’s purpose is to provide an equal number of trips to each truck without any bias or favour to any association member.
The association was using a manual numbering system, wherein each truck arrived at a numbering point a short distance before the coal mine and was allotted a serial number. Trucks were then called for loading at the mine as per their serial number, after which they transported their load to the destination provided by the mining company. On returning after dispatching its load, the truck enrolled for a new serial number.
However in this manual process, often truck drivers enrolled for a fresh serial number before dispatching their load, due to which they got their next trip assignment within a few hours instead of a few days. Preventing this misuse and out-of-turn trips among thousands of trucks was difficult to manage in a system that was dependent only on an excel sheet for retrieving trip details. The company required an automated system for accurate vehicle tracking, prevention of double numbering and efficient allocation of equal number of trips to each truck.
Main challenges in implementation:
- Prevention of misuse caused by double numbering and out-of-turn trips.
- Allocation of equal number of trips for each truck.
- Verification and authentication of trucks undertaking trips and checking for fraud number plates.
Essen’s Xtenna™ RFID Antenna-Readers are installed at source and destination points along with one Xtenna™ antenna-reader at the numbering point. A RFID tag “PARKA™” is issued to each truck and affixed to its windshield. The RFID tags are registered into the database using an Xtenna Proximity™ Reader. The RFID enabled Vehicle Tracking System uses MS SQL Server for storing data, while the application software has been developed using .NET.
This deployment of RFID based Vehicle Tracking System by Essen RFID has resulted in numerous benefits for the organization listed below as follows:
- Automated system that is transparent and neutral, promotes both efficiency as well as harmony amongst association members.
- Prevents unregistered trucks from undertaking trips.
- Built-in pre-calculation features enable improvements in dispatch planning.
- Accurate vehicle tracking at source and destination.
- Prevents misuse caused by double numbering and out-of-turn trips.
- Automatic trip validation and order completion alert features.
- Equal trip allocation for each truck by a streamlined and hassle-free process.
- Reduction in manual entries through automated system processes.
- Automated report generation for orders, dispatches, trips and vehicles.
Similarly, Sesa Goa, India’s largest producer & exporter of iron ore in the private sector uses approx. 10,000 trucks to transport ore. Tracking the iron ore and corresponding vehicle over multiple trips is an enormous task. The current system used was a manual entry log system that kept a daily record of trips and transactions.
Key challenges facing this archaic system included
1) Tedious time consuming exercise to retrieve past record data,
2) Potential Theft of Iron Ore,
3) Tracking of Truck fleet from source to its final destination i.e. from loading to the unloading point,
4) Process inefficiencies resulting in over payments & delays.
An Automated Supply Chain System based on RFID technology was proposed by Mumbai based Essen RFID to tackle the prevailing challenges plaguing Sesa Goa. Essen RFID’s solutions architects & software engineers proposed a RFID-based system that tracks the trucks and iron ore that they carry, helps update transactions, saves this information onto the RFID server and sends it to SAP v 6.0, the existing ERP system used by Sesa Goa. This integrated solution offering enables automation and data updation in near real-time.
Essen RFID’s Integrated RFID Readers-Antennae referred to as Xtenna™ were installed & mounted at key load/ unload sites such as IN Gate, OUT Gate, Weighbridge, etc.
RFID tags labeled as PARKA™ tags were registered and affixed to all the trucks responsible for carrying the Iron Ore. To support this front end hardware system, an enabling software system coupled with a back end support system was being made available by Essen Engineers. This included Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) software that is installed on each client-side machine and all client data stored at a centralized server. When connectivity was made available, data was posted on the server via IBM WebSphere MQ and completed trip transactions were sent to SAP.
Commenting on the benefits delivered by the system, Essen RFID’s Managing Director, Mr.Apurva Parekh commented “Key benefits delivered by Sesa Goa project include a six fold increase in throughput per weighbridge on existing transactions. We have enabled building an end to end automated system resulting in building transparency, lesser waiting time, elimination of any errors, savings of operator time, prevention of theft besides enabling management to analyse MIS data in real time.”