Case study – Groupe Renault migrates to a digital vehicle testing process in its Technical Testing Center in Titu

Renault Technologie Roumanie is the engineering center of Groupe Renault in Romania. 2,300 engineers design here smart, affordable, reliable, and modern solutions with customers’ expectations in mind. Duster and the all-new models unveiled at the end of 2020 (third generation Logan, Sandero and Sandero Stepway) are designed, tested and manufactured in Romania.

COMPANY PROFILE – GROUPE RENAULT OPERATIONS IN ROMANIA

Complete automotive chain: customer surveys, design, engineering, manufacturing, sales, business services, after-sales and financial services

  • 6 billion (euro) turnover across all Groupe Renault operations in Romania (2019)
  • 3% share in GDP
  • 7% share in exports
  • 3 billion (euro) total investments
  • 17,000 employees across all sectors
  • 1,500 automotive suppliers in Romania
  • 108 Dacia & Renault sales outlets
  • Dacia has the highest market share in Romania
  • 85% of the production of Mioveni plant is exported

Titu Technical Testing Center

With over 32 km of testing track and 52,000 structures on 350 hectares, Titu Technical Center, part of RTR, is home to Renault Technologie Roumanie engineering center.

Over 800 employees use every day leading edge technologies and tools to test vehicles at various design stages and in various weather and road conditions.

At Titu Technical Testing Center, Renault Technologie Roumanie teams perform complex tests and thoroughly assess vehicle behavior in particular usage conditions in accordance with a validation procedure prior to manufacturing.

Some Dacia models have been altered based on the feedback from the international markets, in some cases over 100 versions being available, such as those manufactured for tropical climates and heavy monsoon rainfalls, or those designed for extremely cold climates where temperature goes much below zero.

Vehicles or certain vehicle parts are subjected to hours of tests in sun simulators, cold and rain chambers at various intensities or on roller benches where the clutch, the gearbox, and the accelerator are activated in settings similar to real-life driving conditions.

Vehicles are also tested in a “quiet room” – a soundproof acoustic enclosure – in order to assess the impact of the various outside noises on the occupants, and in a special shop, where a robot opens and closes the vehicle doors and the trunk lid.

These durability tests last no less than 10 weeks during which orange robots open and close the driver’s door 100,000 times, the front passenger door 75,000 times and the trunk lid 30,000 times; the hood is opened 3,000 times.

Extensive software tests are also performed. The durability of the vehicle parts is tested at extreme temperatures ranging from -20ºC to +80ºC.

Titu Technical Center is the only RTR center of this type in Romania; it ranks second in the world in terms of size.

Challenges faced by Renault Testing Center in the vehicle validation process

Each year, the tests carried out at the center in Titu cover eight million kilometers, a distance equal to 200 times around the world, and 450,000 hours of test bench trials, which is equivalent to 52 years of vehicle life.

On a regular day, over 80 vehicles can be tested. In accordance with the standard testing procedures, a vehicle is subjected to tests covering up to 50,000 km, for seven hours, across three shifts. Tests can last up to three months for a single vehicle. These tests simulate intensive usage and are equivalent to several years of real use by a customer.

“Imagine ten types of tracks, including a fast track, a city track, a sloping track, a cobblestone track, and a wet handling circuit, which simulate various road conditions a driver may face, from countryside roads to big city traffic or highways. The driver must record whatever they notice – for example, any abnormal noise, or if the seat or the armrest feels uncomfortable. In addition, for validation purposes, the driver must drive at a particular speed”, says Roxana Furduescu, Chef de Projet Performance WP et Roulage.

Until last year, the data collected during these tests were recorded by hand on paper forms. The process was quite difficult to manage, as several sheets of paper used to be printed every day for each vehicle. Consequently, the data volume resulting from the processing of these records was difficult to manage, process and analyze.

The Project: Setting up of a digital vehicle validation process for Dacia range

The deployment of a digital validation process for Dacia range aimed not only to eliminate paper forms, and to reduce the related costs, but also to achieve seamless coordination of all resources involved in vehicle validation, to eliminate human errors associated with manual data entry, and to centralize data in a mobile and web-based application allowing for a detailed analysis of all historical data collected in the validation process.

However, the crucial factors in favor of this decision were quality assurance and compliance with the relevant international regulations, and an easier management of the validation process for each vehicle.

The Solution for the digital transformation of the vehicle validation process: Driving Test Management

In order to make the job easier for the drivers and to achieve a better coordination of the project teams, Renault Testing Center needed a rugged, vehicle-mountable tablet that could be used in specific testing conditions. On a regular workday, a driver would pick up the tablet at the start of the shift and take it everywhere with them during the testing time.

Tablete Zebra ET51

Tablete Zebra ET51

“At the end of a very thorough selection process, RTR chose Zebra ET51 tablets for the testing operations conducted at Titu Testing Center and Smart ID provision and maintenance services. The project was implemented from October 2020 to November 2020. Zebra Technologies tablets met all the requirements of the project, particularly due to the high resolution display which delivered sharp text and clear graphics and was easy to read, including in bright sunlight or rain, and proved to be a valuable tool in relation to the testing environment and conditions.”  Roxana Furduescu, Chef de Projet Performance WP et Roulage.

Following the deployment of Zebra tablets, for each vehicle model entering testing, sequential data is uploaded into the DTM (Driving Test Management) application as part of a specific process. All paper records have been replaced by digital forms in which the driver enters the required information. All the driver has to do is take over the car, enter the mileage, and fill in the information in the assessment form. Zebra tablets offer drivers enhanced operational flexibility. Data can be entered more quickly and easily following a predefined sequence, and can be transferred to the web-based application at the end of each shift.

Besides the driver, a technician, a mechanic (in case repairs are needed) and the team lead who validates the information at the end of each workday are also involved in the process.

Designed for intensive environments, Zebra ET51 is built to handle repeated drops to concrete and plywood and to continue to operate. IP65 sealing makes ET51 your best workmate in all environments – in rain, snow, dust, vibrations, and extreme temperatures (from -20°C to 50°C).

In vehicle testing, where every second counts, and any noise or any abnormal operation has to be recorded in real time, it is important that drivers have a reliable tablet that allows them to focus on their job, not on issues relating to connectivity, operation, readability, battery drain, etc. Zebra tablets are built to handle everything and to continue to operate without causing any disruption in the workflow.

The 4,950 mAh battery powers a full eight-hour shift, but, in exceptional circumstances, a second 3,400 mAh hot-swappable battery may be added. The 2MP camera enables video calling over the Wi-Fi or cellular network, allowing workers to get instant help from a remote expert, co-worker or supervisor. The product also integrates an 8MP rear-facing camera.

“We worked very well with the Smart ID team since the start of the project. We were assisted by a skilled consulting team, ready to tackle any challenge posed by the project; they brought into this project their know-how and expertise gained across complex projects, but also their experience as a Zebra Technologies partner for more than 20 years”, says Roxana Furduescu, Chef de Projet Performance WP et Roulage.

 

Project Benefits

Lower project costs

Digital processes and elimination of paper-based recordings

Coordination of the main processes and resources required for the validation of driving tests

Less data entry errors

Time savings due to digital data collection

Implementation of DTM auditing procedures allowing to view drivers’ reports and to resume the process where nonconformities are found

Increased brand awareness – vehicle testing and validation processes help to avoid huge costs caused by vehicle recalls

DEMO – SOTIONE Platform – an end-to-end mobile device management solution

SOTIONE Platform is an end-to-end mobile device management solution that allows for the remote management of thousands of mobile devices and field teams (Police, EMS, power and gas lines maintenance, etc.), as well as coordination of mobile workforce across large facilities in manufacturing, logistics or retail sectors.

SOTIONE Platform provides you with remote upgrade functionalities for mobile devices from various international manufacturers (one of the many advantages of this solution), remote content management tools (you can remotely update any procedures, rules and compliance lists), as well as help desk support for your field staff.

SOTIONE Platform allows you to scale your operations as needed during busy periods, to automatically transfer mobile devices across locations, to manage users and roles, to identify and/or remotely lock a lost or stolen device.

Moreover, as nowadays staff are increasingly working from home and remote locations, you can securely manage BYOD (virtually any device, such as employees’ phones, laptops, and tablets) by providing or restricting access to certain corporate applications.

Why is mobile security a must for your business?

  • Loss or theft of rugged mobile equipment is very costly. This will also trigger additional costs, such as replacement, downtime, and data recovery costs.
  • A user may alter a device (such as a mobile phone or any other mobile device) in an attempt to circumvent the manufacturer’s/company’s security mechanisms – for example, in order to install unauthorized software. As a result, the device will become more vulnerable to malware, data leaks or other security issues.
  • Communications via public WiFi networks are not secured and therefore your company is prone to cyberattacks and theft of corporate data and credentials.
  • Mobile malware may open backdoors to your network and attack your mobile devices. Attackers may even demand a ransom to unlock your stolen data.
  • No matter whether data is accidentally lost or stolen, such occurrences may be extremely detrimental to your image and brand, and will most certainly show in your balance sheet.
  • Because of their scale and remoteness, unsecured IoT endpoints are extremely attractive to cybercriminals.

Register for The Hidden Side of Mobility, a Smart ID webinar to be held on March 24, 2021 at 2 PM and get a free DEMO to learn how you can save time, reduce the complexity of your IT operations, and increase the productivity of your mobile teams.

Infographic – DPD case study

With over 1,200 drivers and over 400 warehouse employees, DPD needed a solid mobility strategy. Once the 1,200 mobile devices bought reached the DPD premises, the IT Department had the task to configure them and to ensure that they reached the 59 warehouses and the drivers in the shortest time possible.

Find out how DPD succeeded to accelerate deployment using an enterprise mobility management solution.

The territorial distribution of the devices across more than 59 warehouses, a small IT team of only 10 employees, significantly more orders and onsite demands made it necessary not only to migrate to a modern enterprise mobility management solution, but also to put in place a mobility strategy capable of ensuring long-term business scalability, continuity, and consistency.

We use SOTI to manage over 1,200 devices. This means state-of-the-art processes and a perfect synergy between the customer service and the intensive environment support teams. Without remote access to each device, our work would be tremendously difficult. SOTI has allowed us to reduce complexity and to focus on productivity and performance as main targets that we monitor on a daily basis.”

Valentina Ionescu – IT, DPD Business Development & Project Manager

 

How to scale up fast the courier operation with mobility strategy implemented in time

ABOUT DPD Romania

DPD Romania is part of DPD Group, a leading parcel delivery network in Europe. It started to operate in the Romanian market in 2008, after the successful takeover of Pegasus Courier. Now it has over 1,800 employees (including franchises) and delivers over 15 mil parcels every year.

DPD is a leading-edge and innovative company which makes targeted investments in operations to stay in tune with the newest market trends and demands.

No less than 1,200 drivers work on a single shift to deliver smiles and great customer experience securely and on time, day in and day out (warehouse employees work on three shifts to ensure parcel processing and distribution nationwide and internationally).

Over 1,200 delivery vehicles are on the road in pouring rain, blizzard or nice weather, avoiding crowded areas especially on long routes so as to deliver more parcels in the shortest time to customers from all market segments.

THE 2020 CONTEXT: Unforeseeable dramatic changes in customer behavior

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the number of online orders had significantly increased, and this uptrend remained constant throughout the year with unprecedented peak periods in the history of the company.

As expected, this year on Black Friday, orders exploded: they at least doubled as compared to a regular day, and were 10% higher than the peak period during lockdown (April to May), and 30% higher than Black Friday last year.

In order to meet these challenges, DPD invested in new distribution centers located in major cities across Romania. This meant more jobs and investments in all touchpoints for increased flexibility and scalability of operations. A mobility strategy deployed as early as 2017 made it possible to accelerate business, to scale operations for seasonal peaks without limitations and without impacting deliveries and driver support throughout this challenging year.

 

BACK TO 2017 – If you can’t see the future, you can create it

 

DPD is a leading-edge, innovative and customer-oriented company. In 2017, it made a strategic change which included comprehensive end-to-end software migration from ERP (scanning) to invoicing. This made it necessary to replace the servers in the first place, but also the bar code scanners used by warehouse employees and drivers. This decision posed new challenges to the management.

Among the trends which marked a dramatic turn in the industry – e-commerce acceleration, next generation technology, card payment, parcel lockers, remote resource management, and parcel delivery – mobility was the most important.

DPD drivers are the most important point of contact with our customers. To ensure delivery in the shortest time and in the most efficient way, the company needed the latest technology, equipment and applications, and dedicated processes.

As a result, the employees were provided with leading-edge equipment – barcode scanners, mobile printers, smart mobile computers equipped with POS applications. These developments put additional pressure on the IT Department as tasks became increasingly complex and the equipment pool became harder to manage as a result of the large number of devices.

Territorial distribution of the equipment across more than 54 warehouses, a small IT team (only 10 employees), significantly more orders and onsite demands made it necessary not only to migrate to a modern solution for the management of mobile devices, but also to put in place a mobility strategy intended to ensure long-term business scalability, continuity, and consistency.

 

A few months later, in 2018, the DPD team began to assess various integrated management solutions

With over 1,200 drivers and over 400 warehouse employees, DPD needed a solid strategy. As soon as the new ERP-supported devices reached the company, they had to be configured and shipped to the 59 warehouses and delivered to the employees. However, the level of performance DPD sought could not be attained in the absence of a device management solution allowing for the automation of a number of critical tasks.

Modern solutions required modern device management applications integrating deployment, maintenance, updating, and technical support.

Therefore, DPD specialists attempted to find a management solution for the entire equipment pool, irrespective of manufacturer or brand, which should also allow for remote task automation directly from the headquarters.

Why the SOTI platform?

DPD assessed several solutions available on the market. The company sought a solution that could ensure device and application security, be used on a BYOD basis, support new applications, and provide more visibility into real-time operations, and support the mobile teams.

The SOTI solution made quite an impact from the start. Among the factors that weighed in its favor was that it had already been in use with DPD Group and it could be tested using DEMO accounts to assess the features and functionalities of the platform. Due to the integrated application suite, SOTI made it possible for DPD to reduce costs, complexity, and downtime, and offered it the flexibility required to develop new applications, and advanced security features at a faster pace and in a secure manner.

SOTI provided the IT Team with an IoT-based solution for the management of all equipment and devices and for the generation of reports concerning the mobile teams and assets for more reliable business decisions.

Unlike dedicated solutions which supported a single brand, SOTI was more versatile and supported over 1,000 IoT equipment and devices. In the past, before replacing the equipment pool, the company had used a dedicated Honeywell solution. However, it was no longer usable as it supported a single equipment brand and the changing market circumstances and the development of the company required a more versatile solution.

“We use SOTI to manage over 1,200 devices. This means state-of-the-art processes and perfect synergy between the customer service and the intensive environment support teams. Without remote access to each device, our work would be tremendously difficult. SOTI has allowed us to reduce complexity and to focus on productivity and performance as main targets that we monitor on a daily basis.”

Valentina Ionescu- IT, Business Development & Project Manager DPD.

Which processes does SOTI cover?

At process level, SOTI ensures automated device configuration directly from the application, based on device location.

The IT Department has developed and customized a script for each equipment model. As a result, to configure the interface, an IT employee only selects the script, enters the IMEI, the equipment model and the SIM series (Vodafone), sets up the APN, and pushes the software to the device. The entire process is automated, and all updates or new equipment settings automatically propagate to all remote devices.

Devices used by drivers are automatically connected to the company network via a SIM card or a wireless connection. In this way, we can easily identify the last warehouse the device connected to. Moreover, the IT team is able to generate reports concerning the use of equipment so as to allow transfer of the available equipment between sites whenever a particular site has to handle larger parcel volumes. In this way, the platform ensures equipment track and trace.

The mobile teams need daily support which is provided remotely for each device. When drivers are faced with various onsite issues, they contact the IT Helpdesk and report the issues encountered. Very often they are unable to complete a delivery either because they do not use the equipment correctly or because they encounter software or hardware issues. If the support team did not have remote access to the equipment, they could not correctly identify and solve the issues so as to allow the driver to deliver orders in a timely manner.

The platforms also allows generation of very accurate business reports including the physical location of the equipment, the last time it connected, the number of devices for each model, the Android version, update history, service reports, to name just a few of the monitored elements.

Another important advantage of the SOTI platform comes from the licensing model. Licenses are granted per number of devices and not individually per device. When a device reaches end of life, DPD replaces it and the license is allocated to the new device.

Other benefits of SOTI relate to precise identification of the date of the EMEI-based enrollment of the device SIMs, GPS tracking of lost equipment, faster and improved support to end users, automated loading and updating of instructions into devices, automated loading of new features which are instantly available to drivers.”

Valentina Ionescu- IT, Business Development & Project Manager DPD.

Why Smart ID as a deployment partner?

The greatest strength and advantage of Smart ID has always been people. I cannot say how much I appreciate the team I worked with on the project. I was not involved in the purchase, but I do believe that Smart ID has one of the most sophisticated and professional intensive environment support teams on the market. This shows best in their development over the past years.

We work with people and teams that are always ready to deliver beyond expectations, are aware of the latest trends in the automation and mobility market, and are always willing to help and find solutions for each and every issue that may arise.”

Valentina Ionescu- IT, Business Development & Project Manager

 

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