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Ross Perich :

WhereNet System Will Track and Manage Assets Across Four-Million Square Foot Assembly Plant, Helping one of the Most Efficient Vehicle Manufacturers in North America Improve Production Throughput, Labor Productivity, and Vehicle Quality


Ross Perich :
WhereNet Corp., the leader of wireless solutions for tracking and managing enterprise assets, announced today that Nissan North America, Inc. is deploying the standards-based WhereNet® active RFID, real-time locating system (RTLS) technology to help automate its inbound supply chain and outbound delivery chain. As part of a continuous improvement initiative at its four-million square foot assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, Nissan will leverage a single wireless architecture to run multiple WhereNet applications, including the WhereSoft™ Yard Management System (YMS) and Vehicle Tracking and Management System (VTMS), to improve production velocity and throughput, labor productivity, and vehicle quality.

Nissan’s Canton assembly plant has the capacity to produce 400,000 vehicles per year, including the Altima sedan, Armada full-size sport utility vehicle, Infiniti QX56 full-size sport utility vehicle, Quest minivan, and Titan full-size pickup truck.

“Amidst soaring demand and several new model introductions each year, the WhereNet system gives Nissan the agility to manage its inbound supply chain on a just-in-time basis to support flexible manufacturing processes. In addition, WhereNet assists on the outbound side by automating predelivery processes to bring more new vehicles to the marketplace faster,” said Chantal Polsonetti, vice president of manufacturing advisory services for ARC Advisory Group.

Locatable Active RFID Drives New Efficiency for Nissan
Deploying the WhereNet single wireless infrastructure over the entire Canton complex will take less than 90 days. The hardware consists of 1500 active RFID WhereTag™ transmitters, which are temporarily attached to new vehicles as they roll off the assembly line as part of the WhereNet VTMS system; 700 WhereTag transmitters that are permanently fixed to trailers belonging to Nissan’s dedicated suppliers or temporarily attached to others as part of the WhereSoft YMS application; 120 WherePort™ magnetic “exciters” positioned between gates and at key choke points across the complex; and a local infrastructure of 80 wireless WhereLAN™ locating access points.

Orchestrating Yard Moves Without a Maestro
Nissan also plans to deploy the WhereNet automated gate check-in/out solution known as Fast Gate that supports 24x7 sequenced parts deliveries from Nissan suppliers. Fast Gate senses when a truck is approaching the gate; cross-references detailed information about the truck in a database; and, if authorized, automatically opens the gate to grant entry. Then, based on business rules loaded into the WhereSoft yard management application, the system instructs drivers and yard personnel to deliver the inbound load to the appropriate dock door for just-in-time sequencing of parts based on the assembly line build plan for that work shift.

By automating the check-in/out procedures for the hundreds of daily truckloads and thousands of components arriving at the assembly facility every day, the WhereNet system saves Nissan several hours a day processing deliveries; provides higher velocity and throughput in the yard; and increases flexibility in manufacturing through better utilization of equipment, facilities and labor.

Accelerating Delivery from Factory to Dealer
When new vehicles roll off the Nissan assembly line, each vehicle is assigned an active RFID WhereTag transmitter that is “married” to the vehicle identification number (VIN). The WhereTag remains on the vehicle until it has been processed and is ready to ship to its final destination. Nissan uses the WhereNet VTMS in off-line areas to manage post-assembly verification and test processes, as well as quality repair, containment and shipping zones. The system includes a logical hierarchy of rules that manages the processing of every vehicle in accordance with its assigned status so that critical orders are processed before lower-priority units.

Nissan expects to reap numerous benefits from the WhereNet VTMS system through:
· Reduced labor cost for vehicle processing
· Reduced on-site dwell time for parts and vehicles, enabling better yard throughput and increased responsiveness to dealer and customer demands
· Higher-quality vehicles as the system ensures that no vehicles with known quality defects get shipped. The system also enhances quality by ensuring that no process steps are missed and that every vehicle departs in accordance with dealer/customer specifications. The system immediately detects vehicles that may have quality issues, preventing them from inadvertently slipping into the delivery chain where rework costs at dealerships average more than five times the cost of a factory repair.

Nissan’s partner, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, which is responsible for the distribution of Nissan vehicles from the Canton assembly plant, will also benefit from the WhereNet system as it enables their movement teams to more quickly identify individual vehicles for movement or hold.

“As one of the most efficient vehicle manufacturers in North America — according to the 2006 Harbour Report — Nissan is setting the standard for manufacturing by embracing new technologies like WhereNet to continuously improve processes,” said Tom Bacon, vice president of the automotive division for WhereNet. “WhereNet’s locatable active RFID system provides a critical foundation for flexible manufacturing as it enables automakers to manage multiple models with meticulous precision, ensuring that the right part is delivered to the assembly line just in time. In addition to helping manufacturers maintain a lean inbound supply chain, WhereNet also drives efficiency on the outbound side, accelerating delivery of new vehicles to dealers through our industry-first, automated VTMS solution.”

About WhereNet Corp.
WhereNet is the first company to deliver a single wireless location and communication infrastructure that reliably and cost-effectively manages valuable mobile resources and delivers a complete return on investment within 6-12 months. Based on patented, standards-compliant technology resulting from a collective 100+ years of development, the WhereNet active RFID, real-time locating system solutions enable companies such as APL, BMW, Ford Motor Company, and NYK Logistics and facilities like Tobyhanna Army Depot to reduce inventory, lower operating costs, and improve operations. The company has received the Henry Ford Technology Award; was recognized for strong ROI by Computerworld; was ranked among the top 10 in the InfoWorld 100; and has been recognized as a wireless innovator by Forrester Research, Global Logistics & Supply Chain Strategies, Plant Engineering, and Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazines. WhereNet is headquartered in Santa Clara, California, and has offices throughout the United States and Europe. For more information, visit the WhereNet Web site at, or call 408-845-8500 (in the U.S.) or +32 3 286 84 50 (in Europe).

WhereNet is a registered trademark, and WhereLAN, WherePort, WhereSoft, and WhereTag are trademarks of WhereNet Corp. All other brands, products, or service names are or may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

Ross Perich
(925) 556-5463

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