The Cox Automotive 2022 Car Buyer Journey Study found nearly one in five new car buyers preordered their vehicle, and most indicated they would do so again. The most satisfied customers were those who ordered directly from the automaker rather than a dealer.
Those who ordered from the automaker had shorter waiting periods 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, thus improving their dealership experience.
“The consumer is (the) direct beneficiary (of our technology) as they get (the) car sooner,” Adrian Jennings, chief product officer of Cognosos, tells Wards. “The dealer is next as the customer is happier, then the manufacturer.”
Cognosos has a real-time vehicle location system for finished vehicle logistics. Its cloud-based software enables easy location of a vehicle at a manufacturer’s process center and measures the efficiency and productivity of the staff pulling the vehicles off 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 about the process. We are focused on the (vehicle storage) yard between the building and the fence.”
It starts with a GPS tag, which hangs on a vehicle’s rear-view mirror. Cloud-based software allows location of a vehicle in a processing facility to be tracked within a few feet, explains Jennings. A driver seeking the vehicle wears an ID tag, which alerts the GPS tag that the vehicle is close. Then, a “very bright” light on the vehicle’s tag comes on.
“The people working in the dark (to locate a car) love that light,” says Jennings. “It is insanely bright.”
The driver also wears a badge, which allows an automaker to see who moved the vehicle and how long the move took.
The information allows automakers to evaluate how efficient the entire logistics process is.
“The first thing you get is the shock of your life finding out 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 cost,” says Jennings.
It is billed as a Software-as-a-Service with a monthly fee per tag. No large information technology outlay is necessary, he says.
Checking All the boxes
Robert Carmichael, senior manager of vehicle processing center operations for GLOVIS USA, uses Cognosos technology. GLOVIS is the logistics arm of Hyundai and Kia brands, which have several plants in the southern U.S.
“Cognosos checked all the boxes for us,” he tells Wards. “It wasn’t obtrusive, the infrastructure was minimal and we had already gone through the process of mapping the entire yard with GPS, so it was easy to integrate Cognosos into our management system.”
Hyundai Group’s West Point, GA, plant issues up to 1,500 vehicles a day, says Carmichael. A vehicle is moved up to 10 times before it ships to a dealer.
Before shipping, the finished vehicle is stored on a 100-acre (40-ha) lot with some 7,000 vehicles on it. Previously, keeping track of the vehicle required an individual to scan, by hand, an RFID tag.
“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 got a lot of exercise.”
Using Cognosos technology moves the vehicles more efficiently and gets them to the dealer faster, says Carmichael.
“I know now every time that vehicle moved,” he says. “I can go get it and put it through my process and out the door faster.”
The ability to track a driver’s movements has also improved the productivity of his drivers and the overall efficiency of the delivery process, says Carmichael, who asked Cognosos to develop a way for him to measure driver efficiency.
“That was a big missing piece for me,” he says. “They have given me a solution to something I have been needing for a while.”