Canvassing its truck owners in 2007, Ford asked what useful features might be added to its 2009 F Series trucks and E-Series vans. One common request was to help contractors find and keep track of their tools, in order to be best equipped and more productive when traveling to and from job sites.
Ford contacted Maryland-based DeWALT, a leading manufacturer of industrial power tools, to share insights into how contractors address this challenge of maintaining their tool inventories.
Ford began assessing technology to resolve this “unmet” need of its core truck customers. The company researched a number of auto-ID methods, including barcode systems, which they realized were too labor-intensive as they required users to manually scan each tool’s barcode.
Ford then turned its attention to RFID and found passive EPC Generation 2 UHF RFID tags attractive due to their ease-of-use and low cost. This led Ford to ThingMagic (Jadak), a leading developer of RFID technology, including embedded RFID reader modules that offered high performance and tag reading accuracy.