Dethleffs Tracks Parking Lots Without Trackers

24.02.2021 by Pauline Batzer
Mobile homes await shipment.

Campervan business is booming – a good reason for caravan and mobile home manufacturer Dethleffs to digitize its fleet management with an app.

It wasn’t quite like looking for a needle in a haystack, but locating one of up to 4,000 vehicles on mobile home specialist Dethleffs’ 280,000 square meter factory site in Isny, Baden-Württemberg, was time-consuming and cost-intensive. Depending on the model, employees move vehicles – from the chassis to the finished RV – 10 to 15 times around a site the size of 40 soccer pitches. Finding one can be especially difficult in the winter months when the fleet is snowed under and a chassis can often no longer be seen by the naked eye.

Until a year ago Dethleffs used outmoded offline handheld scanners to locate and register the right RV on the fleet’s factory site. That only worked because experienced employees knew their fleet and the approximate location of individual vehicles. Using paper lists with information about the vehicle in question they knew where to look for it in rows several hundred meters long. Once they had found it they entered it and its location into the scanner and then transferred the data via a USB cable to a computer. It was an extremely cumbersome procedure that at times led to production stoppages during inventories.

Digital and Inexpensive

Efficient digital fleet tracking was needed, and it had to be as cost-effective as possible, to speed up vehicle location significantly and to facilitate just-in-time production. The solution was an app-based tracking solution from SYFIT, a Telekom joint venture, and a digital scanner from Telekom partner Zebra. They replace paper and offline scanners. In addition to the backend the startup SYFIT programmed jointly with Telekom an app specially designed to meet Dethleffs’ requirements, the most important of which are precise GPS vehicle location and ease of use for drivers – all as inexpensively as possible. Parking lots are now located swiftly, easily and efficiently using the tracking app and the Web-based management portal.

App Takes Place of Trackers

Dethleffs did not need to invest heavily in trackers or beacons. When a driver parks the chassis, the finished caravan or mobile home, he scans the barcode on the consignment note and confirms the vehicle and its position. The SYFIT app relays the mobile scanner’s GPS coordinates to the backend automatically and on the basis of this information the vehicle can then be located precisely by scanner or PC. This solution reduces the cost of fleet management substantially and production continues without interruption during inventories. Thanks to the app and to GPS tracking the system records the entire on-site vehicle fleet at the touch of a button. For Dethleffs it is a low-cost, customized solution. Fleet management and drivers now deliver vehicles so on schedule to the assembly line that just-in-time production is possible. And lists generated for inventories are available for auditing faster.

The solution has triggered interest at other Erwin Hymer Group locations so that rollout is either planned or already under way there. Dethleffs, SYFIT and Telekom are also jointly planning a technical upgrade, switching from QR codes to Bluetooth technology and thereby to further process improvements.


 

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Pauline Batzer
Pauline Batzer

Project Manager IoT

Since 2015, Pauline has been passionate about the variety of the IoT world. She has gained a lot of experience with the Internet of Things from different perspectives by working with customers, partners, and start-up companies. For the Telekom IoT blog she writes about technological trends, products, and innovations in the Internet of Things which are implemented in different industries.