Why Parking Space Numbers Don’t Guarantee Vehicle Location Accuracy

Visit any vehicle yard in the post-assembly finished vehicle supply chain, and you’ll spot something so ordinary and ubiquitous that no one ever gives it a thought, or asks ‘why?’.

Which is this: every vehicle parking space is numbered—EV0122, or EV0123, or something along those lines—thousands and thousands and thousands of parking spaces, each with their own number.

Of course, they’re numbered, you say. How else can we keep track of which vehicle is where? How else can we attain the industry’s Holy Grail—a high level of space-level accuracy?

We’ll answer that second question shortly. But a little reflection will tell anyone who’s worked in the post-assembly finished vehicle supply chain industry that numbered parking spaces only go so far in helping to keep track of vehicle locations. Because often, vehicles aren’t in the numbered parking space that they’re supposed to be in. They’re somewhere else.

Exploring the Shortcomings of Numbered Parking Spaces

It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s wet. Your tired driver was supposed to put the vehicle in parking space EV0122. Mistakenly, he puts it in parking space FV0122 instead. What is the difference between these two parking spaces? About 10,000 vehicles.

Here’s another example: it’s been snowing, and although the snow is melting, pockets of frozen slush cover the ground, making it difficult to read the painted numbers marking each parking space. Now, the vehicle destined for parking space E0129 has been placed in E0137 instead.

A final thought experiment: on arriving at parking space E0122, the driver sees it’s occupied. Another vehicle is already there. It shouldn’t be, of course—but mistakes happen. The driver then puts his vehicle in an empty space five spaces away. He’s supposed to tell someone, but he’s behind schedule and forgets.

The result of all these examples? Vehicles inevitably get lost. They get found—eventually. That’s what yard audits are for: teams expensively fan out all over the yard, noting down which vehicle is in which space. But the point here is that parking space numbers are not a reliable way of establishing a vehicle’s location.

Off-Space Parking Also Impacts Vehicle Location Accuracy

Consider another scenario: Automotive vehicle yards often face the challenge of running out of available numbered parking spaces due to overcrowding. When yard management is under pressure to find storage space for these vehicles, they resort to parking them wherever they can.

You’ll find vehicles sprawled across a large grassy area, occupying internal roadways and even taking up space on the test track. In reality, they are parked just about anywhere you can think of. This situation is not uncommon, and those with experience in the post-assembly finished vehicle supply chain have likely encountered such scenarios.

Now, let’s think about the implications: If keeping track of vehicles in designated parking spaces is already a complex task, it becomes exponentially more challenging when vehicles are parked haphazardly in unmarked spaces. Vehicles are guaranteed to get lost.

This situation is a recipe for severely compromised vehicle location accuracy.


Why You Need Real-Time Vehicle Visibility

But if designated parking spaces for vehicles aren’t the solution, what is?

The answer is quite simple: We need to sever the connection between a vehicle and a location represented by physical signage. As we’ve discussed, physical signage comes with multiple points of potential failure.

In essence, we require a method to determine a vehicle’s location directly based on the vehicle itself, rather than relying on physical signs. This is precisely what Cognosos offers. Our advanced real-time vehicle visibility solution ensures precise vehicle location accuracy, tracking the vehicle itself under all weather conditions, 24/7, with unwavering reliability.

How do we achieve this? We use cost-effective wireless GPS-enabled tracker tags that hang from a vehicle’s rear-view mirror. These tags transmit the vehicle’s location over a patented radio frequency network with a range of up to two miles for each antenna. When a vehicle is moved, an onboard accelerometer inside the tag automatically triggers the tag to update the vehicle’s new location when it comes to rest in a new spot, even if it isn’t in a parking space.

As driver teams use our mobile app to find a specific vehicle or batch of vehicles on the lot, the optional Spotlight upgrade will lead them to exactly what they are looking for even more efficiently. The vehicle tags are equipped with an ultra-bright LED light that, with one click in the Cognosos app, flashes on a single vehicle or a batch of vehicles allowing the drivers to easily identify the vehicle without having to visually verify the VIN.

And the best part? No need for any physical signage. Whether you park your vehicle in a designated space, by the test track, or on that patch of grass, we always know the exact location of your vehicle.


Embracing Perfect Control and Visibility in Vehicle Yard Management

So, what’s the payback from all this? Where does the ROI come from?

There’s an obvious list of tactical, operational benefits. Vehicles are located quicker, and so can be moved sooner. Yards find that they don’t need so many costly yard audits—or, more truthfully, they don’t actually need any at all. Freed of the job’s frustrations and discomfort, the job of being a yard driver becomes more enjoyable, and labor turnover is reduced.

But there’s another—huge—strategic benefit. At a stroke, a yard’s vehicle capacity sees a significant increase. You don’t need numbered parking spaces—you don’t need any delineated parking spaces at all. Anywhere becomes a parking space.

All with perfect control and perfect visibility.


If you want to learn more about how real-time vehicle visibility can support advanced tracking for finished vehicle logistics, download our guide, “The Alignment Advantage: How to Improve FVL Efficiency and Profitability“.


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