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automotive supply chain
27 May

AutoVentive & Ford: Transforming Automotive Supply Chain Management

“Time is money” holds true in automotive supply chain management, especially when dealing with the aftermath of automotive shipping damages. Each damage incident results in costly repairs and delivery delays, directly impacting the bottom line. 

How do disruptions in the automotive supply chain affect car manufacturers and consumers?

Disruptions in the automotive supply chain can lead to delays in production, shortages of parts, increased costs, and ultimately, higher prices for consumers. Car manufacturers may face challenges in meeting demand, affecting their revenue and reputation in the market.

Addressing these pervasive issues, AutoVentive’s partnership with Ford Motor Company uses the power of emerging technology as an innovative solution. The AV Shadow, our advanced telematics tracking system, transforms automotive logistics by providing visibility into the transport process. This enables the early identification and prevention of potential damage, thereby minimizing resolution times and costs. Through this strategic alliance, AutoVentive and Ford are setting new benchmarks for efficiency and vehicle safety in the auto industry, demonstrating how advanced technology can turn the tide against longstanding automotive supply chain issues.

Automotive Supply Chain Management Needs Innovation

Inefficiencies and high costs from damage during vehicle transit are persistent problems in supply chain management, specifically in the automotive logistics sector. When damage or loss occurs, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) pay for the waste in ways that aren’t necessarily tangible to the responsible party. 

According to a Deloitte Insights survey report, shipment delays had the most significant impact on the manufacturer’s supply chain, often resulting in lost customers, additional compensation to keep the customer, damage to brand image and reputation, compounded delays and more. This waste can amount to millions due to a failure of human-controlled processes. Additionally, control over shipping procedures can improve customer service and satisfaction by avoiding costly shortages or periods of inventory oversupply — ultimately improving profit margins.

Given these challenges,  our partnership with Ford Motor Company addresses critical industry problems related to damage cost and shipping inefficiencies. AutoVentive and Ford Motor Company completed a successful beta test showcasing the effectiveness of their real-time tracking solutions with AV Shadow.

Our collaboration aims to streamline supply chains and enhance vehicle safety, tackling the root causes of logistical inefficiencies head-on. It’s poised to deliver substantial improvements in vehicle transportation, promising a future where logistics are not only more efficient but also significantly more cost-effective.

At AutoVentive, we recognized the need for proactive inventory monitoring to address issues before damage occurs. Our AV Shadow captures real-time data, enabling manufacturers to track vehicles not only during transit but also within the yard. By monitoring speed, cornering and braking, we empower businesses to mitigate risks and optimize their supply chain operations, gaining end-to-end supply chain visibility with artificial intelligence and data analytics. This level of transparency allows for improved performance and increased customer satisfaction.

Evolution of the AV Shadow 

Raw Data Processing

The AV Shadow has significantly evolved, particularly in how it processes and leverages data for logistics. The journey began with the challenge of converting raw data from an extensive array of devices into actionable insights. AutoVentive tackled this by developing scalable data pipelines, designed to handle information from one device or a million and transform it into reportable and actionable information.

Event Detection

A critical upgrade was made to transition to event detection, especially notable in collaboration with Ford Motor Company. The system now employs g-force measurements within the railcar to identify specific events. This includes monitoring for excessive speed to see if a vehicle has been speeding and checking for prolonged stationary periods to highlight dwell time events. This advancement has significantly improved the ability to monitor vehicles’ conditions and movements more accurately.


AV Shadow has enhanced the user experience by allowing customers to dive into their data independently. This capability empowers them to uncover events and patterns, equipping them with solid evidence to identify potential damage hotspots. Such empowerment is invaluable for backing up theories and implementing preventive measures.

Additional Information

Additionally, AV Shadow has expanded its information offering to include more contextual details. Features such as 3D model representations of incidents, detailed satellite views and broader context map views greatly assist in issue diagnosis. Heatmaps across the country, indicating dwell times and event occurrences, offer a panoramic view of operations, enabling more strategic decision-making.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review emphasized the role of data-driven solutions just like AV Shadow, “Gathering and analyzing this data can help enable manufacturers to reduce business risk and become more agile by identifying potential supply issues, increasing efficiencies, and giving customers more accurate timelines.”

The AV Shadow has continually adapted and improved, reflecting AutoVentive’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology in automotive logistics. This development ensures clients like Ford Motor Company benefit from smarter, more efficient and safer automotive supply chain operations.

AV Shadow for Automotive SUpply Chain Logistics

A Case Study with Ford Motor Company

Beta Test Highlights

The beta testing phase was a critical step in validating the effectiveness of AV Shadow technology. Through a series of real-world applications, the technology demonstrated its potential in identifying and tracking instances of damage in real time, offering unprecedented visibility into the automotive supply chain. By leveraging the AV Shadow’s advanced telematics capabilities, AutoVentive and Ford were able to proactively address potential issues, significantly reducing the financial burden associated with damaged shipments.

The Trials

Every trial we ran gave us new challenges but also a better understanding of the device, the environments the commodities have to endure and the data that we were collecting.

Michigan to California

One of the most challenging aspects of vehicle transportation by rail is the risk of damage due to sudden stops and starts. During the trials, specifically from Michigan to California, AV Shadow tracked dwell times and stop-start journeys, alongside monitoring small spikes of activity around hump yards and crossroads. In one trial, damage was initially spotted at the vehicle’s location. 

When that vehicle was being shaken around, we reported the forces being enacted on it in real time. And because AV Shadow was plugged directly into the vehicle, we counted this device as part of the vehicle, so g-forces applied to the device were applied to the vehicle.

The AV Shadow dashboard indicated the vehicle’s ignition was off, verifying it was stationary in the railcar, not being driven, at the time of the incident. Additionally, the dashboard displayed a map pinpointing the damage location and provided a 3D model of the actual event, offering a comprehensive view of the circumstances surrounding the damage.

US to Canada

Due to the need for global connectivity, battery life and management challenges arose. The question was how to transmit sufficient data points without negatively impacting the vehicle’s battery life.

These challenges prompted us to create a dashboard that summarizes the total number of active and inactive devices, normal handling events and events that happen without GPS. 

Hermosillo, Mexico to Multiple Destinations

We wanted to monitor vehicles not only once loaded onto the railcar but also while in the yard when people were moving vehicles and understand how they moved them in the yard. We added alerting for speeding inside the yard, harsh cornering and braking. Because the device was plugged into the vehicle, we could gather real-time speed inside the railcar.

Amidst the prevalent discussion against theft, we added AutoVentive yard management system (YMS) tracking modules, which can tell you whether the door was opened or closed in real time. We generated real-time alerts to notify users when a door was open en route or at the intended endpoint. As a result, the suggestion to dispatch assistance is prompted, indicating that the vehicle may have been broken into. 

According to Overhaul’s annual cargo theft report, real-time alert features are critical as a staggering 1,090 cargo theft incidents were recorded in the U.S. alone in 2022, with automobiles and auto parts among the top five stolen products.

Michigan to Multiple Destinations

We encountered real-world damage during this trial, and seeing genuine damage underscored the critical role of data in our project. We truly understood that the product would work when we witnessed this event. It was a moment of real validation.

We needed a way to visualize the data effectively to understand the significance of what we’ve witnessed. That’s when we developed a powerful dashboard that helped us investigate potential damage using data visualization.

autoventive and ford beta test

Impacts of the Beta Test

With Ford, we were able to foster a strong working relationship as their partner and supplier to help them achieve best-in-world status, drive better quality and share useful information on damage prevention for all OEMs. 

Here are some ways AutoVentive’s AV Shadow helped improve Ford’s outcomes:

  • We obtained tangible evidence of damage occurring and where and quickly got to the cause of why. Ford conducted an origin loading inspection and implemented no-knock and frequent audits.
  • We collected data on real-time tracking and visibility of consignments wherever they are. Ford used real-time inspection data to identify problematic Origin-Destination (O-D) pairings.
  • We improved the safety of loading crews by managing excessive speeding, cornering and braking events. Ford deployed tracking sensors, such as the AV Shadow onto random samples of units to identify where the handling events occur.
  • We continued to work with Ford and other partners to improve the product.

Insights for Automotive Supply Chain Management

AV Shadow revolutionizes the automotive supply chain, keeping businesses ahead of the competition. Consider it your digital blueprint, tracking each vehicle’s journey in real time. It connects directly to the vehicle’s on-board diagnostics port, capturing crucial data: GPS, vehicle identification number, g-force readings, idling time, faults and more.

automotive supply chain

Key Findings and Future Directions for Automotive Supply Chain Management

Key Findings

1. Emerging Tech for Damage Reduction: The AV Shadow demonstrates how emerging technologies can help prevent damage by providing visibility into potential risks and enabling proactive intervention.

2. Cost Implications of Damage: Damage or loss incurred during transit can result in significant financial implications for OEMs, including customer loss, brand damage and delays. The AV Shadow helps mitigate these risks by offering real-time tracking and actionable insights.

3. Quality Assurance and Supplier Performance: AutoVentive’s partnership with Ford exemplifies how AV Shadow enhances supplier performance and fosters collaboration. AutoVentive supports Ford’s pursuit of best-in-class quality standards by identifying and addressing issues in advance.

Future Directions

Looking toward the future and reflecting on the advancements AV Shadow made, the significance of data in enhancing automotive logistics is clear. 

“Data is key. The more data we collect the better we can identify problem areas and work out how the events are occurring,” said Benjamin Pohl, Ford Team Lead for Vehicle Shipping Quality, Claims and Damage Prevention. 

This data-driven perspective underlines the collaborative effort between AutoVentive and Ford, emphasizing the critical role of comprehensive data collection and analysis in pinpointing and addressing logistical challenges.

The partnership, empowered by the detailed insights provided by AV Shadow, lays a strong foundation for continuous improvement and innovation. Both parties aim to tackle emerging challenges and elevate the logistics industry’s standards by committing to meticulous data gathering and data analytics. This shared dedication to leveraging data marks a promising path toward smarter, safer and more efficient automotive supply chain, showcasing the potential for future advancements in the field.

Discover AV Shadow: Elevate Your Automotive SUpply Chain Logistics with Real-Time Insights

This innovative auto logistics solution is not just about knowing where your assets are; it’s about redefining automotive supply chain efficiency. Real-time location data enables informed decision-making, route optimization and delay minimization. By leveraging these insights, businesses can enhance logistics strategies and drive success.

Discover the future of efficient, safe and data-driven vehicle transportation with AutoVentive’s AV Shadow technology

Request a demo today to see how our innovative solutions can transform your automotive logistics operations, offering unparalleled insights and optimization. Join us in advancing toward a more streamlined, secure and strategic logistics landscape.

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