Helping to improve Mercedes-Benz dealership's productivity and customer service

Mercedes-Benz Comercial Valencia uses a unique management system based on vehicle tracking and licence plate recognition to increase productivity and improve customer satisfaction.

"We are the first car dealership in the world to have implemented this type of management solution. Telefónica has been instrumental in the success of such a complex project."

Vicente Mesado
IT Director at Mercedes-Benz Comercial Valencia.

Keeping customers satisfied with cutting-edge innovation

Mercedes-Benz Comercial Valencia, a Mercedes-Benz car dealership in Valencia, Spain, was established in 1955 by Manuel Catalá. The business is one of the largest and oldest Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Spain. With a strong focus on technological innovation, it sells new and used cars, as well as small and large industrial vehicles. They also provide car maintenance services, a spare parts store, and end-to-end customer service.

The challenge: service more cars, more quickly and improve productivity

Integrating a logistics management system from the reception of the vehicle until its return or delivery, including tracking and service status while the vehicle is in the garage. The management of IT and Communications had to optimise the response time, priority based workflow and general productivity.

The dealership carries out a large number of daily activities: up to 125 annual service and repair jobs. In addition to its commercial and administrative offices, it also has specialised garages and a 28,000 square metre car park.

The strategic objectives of the dealership are to optimise productivity and cost savings, as well as improve the brand reputation by providing excellent customer service. This is why its IT department looked to Telefónica for a solution to manage all aspects of its core business (from the reception of the vehicle to invoicing and dispatching), enhancing and prioritising customer service tasks. The dealership's objective was to eradicate long waiting times, monitor real time and operational activity, increase customer satisfaction, and create a scalable database that could be integrated with other company systems in order to support a continuous improvement process.

The solution: a management system based on vehicle tracking and licence plate recognition

Telefónica has developed a system to enable the identification of vehicles and licence plates (based on Tag RFID), using the Telephony over Internet Protocol (ToIP) existing network. The solution enables the location of each vehicle in the garage and car park to be viewed at any time, alerting the Service Director via email when the garages reach full capacity, thus avoiding bottlenecks. It also manages the exit of vehicles allowing them to leave the site only after the invoice has been paid and the tag has been returned.

Telefónica has developed together with the IT organisation of Mercedes-Benz Comercial Valencia a custom-designed solution for the dealership's requirements. It is based on the identification of the vehicle's licence plate using four video cameras placed at the facility's entrance and exit. Once the identification has taken place, the system assigns an RFID tag which is placed on the vehicle's interior mirror so that the MobileView system can pick up its signal and track the vehicle's location anywhere in the garage or the car park. In order to guarantee accuracy at all distances, the system uses two search engines operating simultaneously: Cisco's Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) that operates on the existing Wi-FI network, and AeroScout´s TDOA algorithm.

The system tracks the vehicle and shows its precise location whether in the car parks or in any associated garage across the facility (body shop, electrical, mechanical, or industrial). This allows the assignment and management of all operations in order to optimise the minimum and maximum workload per area. The Service Director receives an email when the capacity levels exceed defined thresholds. This enables the Service Director to reassign priorities in order to ensure transit flow, and to avoid bottlenecks. The computer shows the workflow for each vehicle, including check-in and check-out times, as well as all the operations performed on it and anything pending.

When the customer returns to pick up their vehicle, the systems locate it and it is delivered in minutes. Security is a priority: therefore the vehicle tracking and billing systems are connected to make sure that no vehicle leaves before the invoice has been paid and the tag returned. The system has the intelligence built in to allow exceptions, such as company vehicles, test drives, and new vehicles being delivered.

The results: cutting-edge customer service

The solution created and implemented by Telefónica has enabled Mercedes-Benz Comercial Valencia to increase productivity and speed of decision making across their facilities, whilst simultaneously improving the quality of service provided to customers, positively impacting their brand reputation.