Wireless Applications

Tobyhanna Army Depot Expands Use of Real-Time Locating System

September 29, 2006

The WhereNet active RFID–based tracking system enables the depot to reduce inventory, lower operating costs, and improve operations.


SANTA CLARA, CA /PRNewswire/ -- WhereNet Corp., the leader in wireless solutions for tracking and managing enterprise assets, announced that Tobyhanna Army Depot has expanded use of the standards-based WhereNet active RFID, real-time locating system (RTLS) technology to streamline the repair and overhaul of defense electronic systems at the Pennsylvania facility. Tobyhanna Army Depot performs the maintenance, repair, and overhaul of command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems for the Defense Department.

Tobyhanna initially contracted with SYS-TEC to deploy the WhereNet system in late 2004 to optimize the refurbishment of the AN/TRC-170 Microwave Communications System and AN/TPS-75 Air Defense Radar System. After extended deployment in rugged environments while supporting America's armed forces, these communications systems are shipped to Tobyhanna, where each system is disassembled, overhauled, and tested before being shipped out to the field again. With assemblies, subassemblies, components, and spare parts spread across the more than 1.9-million-square-foot refurbishment areas, WhereNet's RTLS technology provides each work center with visibility of the AN/TRC-170 and AN/TPS-75 system's work in process.

WhereNet's Latest Mission: Tracking Firefinder Parts
In January 2006, Tobyhanna expanded its use of the WhereNet system to locate parts and optimize the refurbishment of the Army's Firefinder radar system, which detects and tracks enemy mortar and artillery shells and has seen heavy use in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to tracking work in process, the Firefinder team uses data captured by WhereNet to help "lean out" their processes and improve production.

One Wireless Infrastructure Supports Multiple Systems
Leveraging a single wireless infrastructure that consists of WhereLAN locating sensors and WherePort devices, Tobyhanna has also expanded use of the WhereNet system to track hundreds of additional components associated with several additional communications-electronics systems.

WhereNet Savings Recognized
A Naval Postgraduate School paper titled "RTLS and the Sources of Cost Savings: A Study of How the Implementation of Real Time Location Systems into Key Business Processes Leads to Realized Cost Savings, and What This Means for the Department of Defense," completed in June 2006, stated that the WhereNet RTLS, alongside ongoing lean business processes, will yield annual savings of nearly $8 million for fiscal year 2006.

The report follows on the initial ROI assessment in 2005 that revealed the following benefits:

  • The pilot system for just the AN/TRC-170 and AN/TPS-75 systems will save more than $450,000 annually.
  • Annual savings of over 837 repair cycle days (RCT).
  • The Tobyhanna Army Depot will obtain a complete return on its initial investment in just over 11 months.
  • The system will dramatically expedite the refurbishment process, as each AN/TPS-75 will make it to the field 35 days sooner, and each AN/TRC-170 system will make it to the field 10 days sooner.

"While the DoD has engaged in dozens of limited RFID pilots and efforts with indeterminate ROI, WhereNet's work at Tobyhanna has caught the attention of DoD officials," said Mike Shea, the federal sector director for WhereNet. "Tobyhanna's business focus is similar to that of most of our customers: how to increase supply chain velocity while reducing cost. Because of accelerated military operations since 9/11, Tobyhanna's business has increased during the past few years, and one way it can keep up with such rapid growth is by leveraging systems like WhereNet to automate manual tasks, optimize lean processes, and increase throughput."

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, CA, and has offices throughout the U.S. and Europe. For more information, visit the WhereNet Web site, or call 408-845-8500 (in the U.S.) or 32 3 286 84 50 (in Europe).

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


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