Automotive Manufacturing

Automotive Manufacturing

Automate the Automotive Supply Chain – with RFID.

In automotive manufacturing, technology that increases efficiency both in-house and across the supply chain, can provide a competitive advantage in an extremely competitive industry. Using Auto-ID technology, like RFID, can:

• Enhance automotive inventory management of parts, components, & finished vehicles.

• Enable increased traceability and visibility of supply chain shipments.

• Provide more transparency end-to-end for suppliers, manufacturers, and consumers.

Automotive Manufacturing - Automate the Automotive Supply Chain with RFID

In the Supply Chain

Create Transparency End-to-End in the Supply Chain

Traceability and visibility within a supply chain can create a competitive advantage.

HID Global's 2023 study "The Cost of Waiting" states:


83% of global supply chain professionals see traceability as a crucial factor in staying competitive. Additionally –


80% of global supply chain professionals have rated the visibility capabilities of RFID as critical to company success.

HID Global's 2023 study "Unlocking Automotive" discussed how the impact of creating more transparency in the automotive manufacturing supply chain also helps to reduce supply chain confusion and waste. Transparency in the supply chain also has a positive impact on each companies' inventory management, supply chain workflow tracking, asset management, and materials handling. Read HID Global's study and Zebra Techologies' study.

One critical piece in the automotive manufacturing industry is the supply chain. The automotive supply chain is made up of multiple tiers of suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors and there is fierce competition at every level. According to, one vehicle can be comprised of between 15,000 and 25,000 component parts. Those components, parts, and raw materials are sourced from all over the world – meaning not only do supply and demand play a role in deliverability, but logistics as well.

In a complex supply chain, how can technology enable transparency?

By providing accurate, automated data to enable each level of the supply chain the visibility they need to make critical decisions.

Let's consult the data.

According Zebra Technologies' 2023 study "Next Generation Transportation Mobility", future next-generation transportation mobility production will be powered by technology.


74% of industry decisions makers are looking to gain greater visibility across the supply chain.

What does end-to-end supply chain transparency look like?

Supply chain transparency starts with individual parts and components identified with RFID tags when they leave manufacturing, and a digital record in place documenting their journey. Tagged parts speed up inventory management processes and help automate automotive quality control with an RFID scan of each production vehicle. Individual parts can be associated with a finished vehicle, giving consumers complete visibility into the finished vehicle and automating vehicle/part recalls. Complete supply chain transparency enables just-in-time ordering, visibility into order status' and logistics, and less production halts and shortages.

In the supply chain & in-house

Enable Real-Time Visibility into Assets, Inventory, & Production Lines

Inventory & asset visibility.

When most parts or components arrive from suppliers, they are tagged with one RFID tag per box or per pallet. In some companies, this is ideal because the items are managed per box; however, components can be tagged and managed at the item-level leading to even more visibility.

When components and parts are individually tagged and monitored with RFID systems in place, real-time inventory counts can be achieved and lead to a more lean style of inventory management. With this real-time inventory data, inventory planning is easier and the manufacturing company is more flexible to make decisions based on trends and consumer insights.

Finished vehicle visibility.

The premium German automaker Audi has deployed an RFID system with the help of Avery Dennison Smartrac to track finished vehicles and provide increased visibility in the finishing stages of the manufacturing process. A Smartrac DogBone is placed in the front bumper of the assembled vehicle and through RFID systems at different lot gates, is read to track the movement in storage yards.

Read more about how Avery Dennison helped Audi.

Creating real-time visibility into stock levels, production capabilities, and logistics tracking can be accomplished by using RFID tags for item-level tracking and management. RFID tags and RFID readers can be used to create that real-time or near real-time visibility in a few different ways.

Production line visibility.

If every vehicle on the production line is tagged with an RFID tag and read at each manufacturing station, real visibility can be achieved and meaningful data can be collected. For instance, metrics like overall production line time, and cars per hour/day/month along with individual station metrics can be analyzed all from RFID reads and data collection. These aren't new metrics for the automotive manufacturing industry; however, these metrics do not require manual scans or manual data entry – each RFID tag read is automated.

Additionally, for quality control checks, a digital record or log has been created for each production vehicle each time it was scanned at a station, making it easy to see the vehicle's process.

Some automotive manufacturers are also using RFID sensor tags inside production vehicle to measure any moisture or water ingress that could have occurred on the production line. Sensor RFID tags can be used to measure any moisture, high or low temperatures, and other environmental changes – which can also be impactful during quality control checks.

RFID Tags for Parts & Components

Avery Dennison Smartrac Belt

Tag Considerations: On Plastic RFID Tags or Labels

IQ OM Label

Tag Considerations: On Metal RFID Tags or Labels

RFID Tags for Finished Vehicles

HID IronTag

Tag Considerations: Re-use Production Line Tags or Metal-Mount Reusable Tags

Avery Dennison Smartrac Dogbone

Tag Considerations: Single Use Production Line Tags

RFID Tags for Production Vehicles

Avery Dennison Smartrac Tadpole

Tag Considerations: Moisture sensing RFID tags

HID IQ Pro 800P HT

Tag Considerations: On Metal, High Temperature, Possibly High Memory

Talk to a Barcode & RFID Specialist

To learn more about how these tags are being used in the automotive manufacturing industry, contact us.

In the Supply Chain & In-House

Reduce Asset Loss with Digital Records

What is a digital record?

A digital record is a form, information, or data stored in digital form in one specific place.

Each time an RFID tagged asset is read, whether the asset is a single production vehicle or a returnable pallet full of bearings, the tag read is recorded digitally to create a record of movement or record of events.

Here are a few ways that a digital record can be impactful:

Gain visiblity into inventory levels

Provide analytics on production time

Provide quality assurance records

Data for inventory forecasts

Gain visiblity into equipment, machinery & tools

RFID Tags for RTIs

HID Epoxy Tag

Tag Considerations: On Metal or On Plastic Labels/Tags, Extra Strength Adhesion Methods or Screw Mounting

According to the study below, one of the biggest ways that RFID can benefit the automotive manufacturing industry is by helping to digitize records both in-house and across the supply chain.

Zebra Technologies' study showed that industry decision-makers see digitization of operations and the supply chain as a top priority, stating:

81% and 78%

81% say they could better meet business objectives with more investments in technology.

78% believe they need to be more innovative to remain competitive

Example application - Returnable Transit Items (RTIs)

Returnable Transit Items like reusable pallets, KLT containers, EURO pallets, specialty transit items, and other bins and containers are used to ship parts and components throughout the supply chain. Additionally, reusable containers can be used in-house at manufacturing facilities to house work-in-process items or inventory items.

All reusable containers are considered assets to a manufacturing company, and according to HID Global's study – the average large-scale automotive manufacturer loses $14 million dollars in transport containers alone, every year.

According to the same study, if that large-scale manufacturer had an RFID solution in place they would only spend $800,000 on transport containers.


Automate Manual Identification & Processes

The automotive manufacturing industry is a dynamic, non-stop, rugged environment – focused on design, innovation, engineering, automation, standards & regulations, and thousands of other metrics and success factors.

One continuous goal that expands across most departments within a manufacturing company is increased efficiency – and one of the best ways to increase efficiency outside of Lean manufacturing principles, is through automation.

RFID technology allows automotive manufacturing companies to implement automated processes that increase efficiency – along with other success factors like visibility, traceability, optimization, and auto-ID capabilities.

According to HID's study – automation is expected to save workforces globally over $2 trillion dollars. Additionally, an investment in RFID and process automation software can cut manufacturing processing time by roughly 90%.

Auto-ID the following automotive manufacturing inventory & assets to increase efficiency.

Parts & Components

Production Vehicles

Finished Vehicles

Equipment, Machinery, & Tools

Returnable Containers, Shipments, Storage Bins

Manage inventory, effectively.

In order to effectively practice Lean principles for inventory management and be as flexible as possible – a high level of visibility is needed. Just-in-time, Vendor-managed, and ABC analysis inventory management styles are all popular in automotive manufacturing – but they do not eliminate manual inventory counts.

Using RFID technology to keep track of inventory levels can be an automation tool in a just-in-time inventory management process that provides the item-level visibility without manual stock counts.

Read Impinj's article to learn about how RFID and Just-in-Time Manufacturing can be used to create visibility and eliminate manual counting.

Eliminate manual parts scanning.

With new colors, options, electronics, and packages – there's more of a variety in automotive manufacturing then ever before. It's important to put the right materials, colors, and options on the right cars, and previously each production vehicle would have to be manually scanned via a barcode or human readable number. In 2024, each car's RFID tag can be read and information automatically displayed at each station by simply coming within range of an RFID reader.

Avery Dennison & Turck's 2023 whitepaper 'Tracking Every Part' gives a detailed look into how production vehicles and the parts/components on them can be tagged with RFID tags to provide full visibility into each vehicle. This way, quality control can be done with a scan of a vehicle and recalls can be more efficiently identified and managed.

What's next

Learn More About Automotive Manufacturing & RFID

Take a look at some RFID products that are currently used in the automotive manufacturing industry.

RFID Tags for Automotive Manufacturing

RFID Readers for Automotive Manufacturing

For more information on RFID tags and hardware, RFID systems in the automotive manufacturing industry, or other questions – please don't hesitate to contact us via the links below.

Take a look at all the one-pagers from our valued partners featured on this page:

Tracking Every Part

by Avery Dennison and Turck Vilant Systems

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