The Cox Automotive 2022 Car Buyer Journey Study found that nearly one in five new car buyers pre-ordered their vehicle, and most indicated they would do so again. The most satisfied customers were those who ordered directly from the car manufacturer instead of a dealer.
Those who ordered from the automaker had shorter wait times with better vehicle tracking, the study found.
Now, a startup has developed real-time logistics technology that allows dealers to give customers an accurate delivery date for their new car, improving their dealership experience.
“The consumer is (the) direct benefit (of our technology) as they get (the) car faster,” Adrian Jennings, Chief Product Officer at Cognosos, told Wards. “The retailer is next, as the customer is happier than the manufacturer.”
Cognosos has a real-time vehicle tracking system for finished vehicle logistics. Its cloud-based software enables easy placement of a vehicle in a manufacturer’s processing center and measures the efficiency and productivity of the staff pulling the vehicles from the lot.
“The problem is visibility,” says Jennings. “Logistics is a complex operation (and) your management of the process is only as good as your knowledge of the process. We are focused on the (car storage) yard between the building and the fence.”
It starts with a GPS tag that hangs on a vehicle’s rearview mirror. Cloud-based software makes it possible to track a vehicle’s location in a processing facility to within a few feet, Jennings explains. A driver searching for the vehicle wears an ID tag which alerts the GPS tag that the vehicle is close. Then a “very bright” light is turned on on the vehicle’s tag.
“The people who work in the dark (to find a car) love that light,” Jennings says. “It’s insanely bright.”
The driver also wears a badge that allows an automaker to see who moved the vehicle and how long the move took.
The information allows car manufacturers to assess how efficient the entire logistics process is.
“The first thing you get is the shock of your life to find out that nothing works the way you thought it did,” says Jennings. “(The technology) exposes all the inefficiencies and problems.”
Using GPS to locate cars is not new, but “the technologies have been out of reach from a cost standpoint,” he says. Cognosos has low-cost sensors and proprietary technology that offer “all the value at a lower price,” says Jennings.
It is billed as a Software-as-a-Service with a monthly fee per roof. It is not necessary to spend large amounts of information technology, he says.
Checking all boxes
Robert Carmichael, senior manager of vehicle processing center operations for GLOVIS USA, uses Cognosos technology. GLOVIS is the logistics arm of the Hyundai and Kia brands, which have several factories in the southern United States
“Cognosos checked all the boxes for us,” he tells Wards. “It was not intrusive, the infrastructure was minimal and we had already gone through the process of mapping the whole farm with GPS, so it was easy to integrate Cognosos into our management system.”
Hyundai Group’s West Point, GA, plant churns out up to 1,500 vehicles a day, Carmichael says. A vehicle is moved up to 10 times before it is sent to a dealer.
Before shipping, the finished vehicle is stored on a 100-hectare lot with around 7,000 vehicles on it. Previously, keeping track of the vehicle required a person to scan an RFID tag by hand.
“The last known location (of the vehicle) was only as good as the last time someone scanned it,” says Carmichael, who says he sometimes walked up to eight miles daily. “I’ve been getting a lot of exercise.”
Using Cognos technology moves the vehicles more efficiently and gets them to the dealer faster, says Carmichael.
“I now know every time that vehicle moved,” he says. “I can pick it up and put it through my process and out the door faster.”
The ability to track a driver’s movements has also improved his drivers’ productivity and the overall efficiency of the delivery process, says Carmichael, who asked Cognosos to develop a way to measure driver efficiency.
“It was a big missing piece for me,” he says. “They have given me a solution to something I have needed for a while.”