All posts by Daniel Krentz

Strengthening Election Systems with Ballot Order Tracking

The election systems industry depends on processes that are manual, repetitive, and filled with data entry. The ability to automate and streamline these processes, however, can drastically enhance any election process.

From planning properly before an election to ensuring a smooth process on voting day to securing all ballots once the precincts close, a robust software solution is critical throughout every phase in the election cycle.

Wireless Data Systems, Inc. (WDS) prides itself on building ground-up solutions that not only solve existing problems but foresee and avoid future challenges. Building election systems that wrap technology around election processes took a similar route as all of our software modules: we took a unique need to enhance and upgrade a process by learning the business and then using technology to improve as much as possible.

When we sat down with an election department it became clear that a custom module was necessary to meet their needs. After having looked for years for a solution to their election system woes, WDS designed a robust, customized solution unlike anything available before – TSX™ Elections.

 

Let’s break down our robust and feature-rich election system in detail.

Unmatched Accuracy for Ballot Ordering

WDS built an impressive ballot ordering suite by designing a grid format with columns for various quantities of ballots and accounting for registered and inactive voters. To further enhance accuracy, the system is able to utilize historical data to improve ballot ordering estimates.

Based on previous general, primary, and special election turnout, the system recommends ballot quantities for voters in that precinct. From there, users can increase or decrease the numbers by a percentage that makes sense. Plus, users are able to click on each line on the grid and change the quantity to account for variable factors, such as an anticipated increase in turnout due to a rally at a certain location.

In sum, the system looks at voters per precinct and calculates those numbers. Then, the user can apply things like historical data or percentage bumps based on precinct-specific variances.

The ability to manipulate the grid involves a series of what-if scenarios. By inputting and saving a number of ballot need scenarios, ascertaining exactly what to order becomes easy and accurate. Once a calculation and format is agreed upon, with the click of a button two files are generated:

  1. Excel file with all of the page styles needed per precinct
  2. Excel spreadsheet that has the ballot style sheets collated into finished ballots

Ballot page styles serve as a critical component to ballot ordering to ensure that the order entry module calculated how many pages and which style sheets were needed per precinct. With so many precinct-specific variable factors, TSX™ Elections is built to handle even the most complex scenarios.

Ballot Chain of Custody

The value of proper security in elections goes without saying. As such, TSX™ Elections was designed to incorporate an extensive chain of custody solution. Real-time validation of ballots, supplies, and equipment offers a level of peace of mind that is vital during election season.

Once the collated, sorted ballot packet comes off of the print line and is boxed, the barcode label is applied to the box. This barcode comes equipped with an intelligent number that includes all pertinent information about the ballots inside – event ID, election ID, precinct, party affiliation, and the total number of ballots.

As an option, the barcode may be scanned at the vendor site to be communicated to the TSX™ system to create an advanced shipping notice of the ballots heading to the election warehouse. Then, once they arrive at the warehouse the barcodes are scanned again. While 2-stage scanning is not always possible when performed, it safeguards the ballot tracking and confirms a smooth process from printing to storage.

Tracking the ballots through their entire lifecycle and chain of custody is imperative to the election cycle. TSX™ Elections features:

  • Real-time GPS mapping and visibility of ballots
  • Browser-based and scalable mobile applications
  • On-premise or on cloud
  • Customizable election systems to fit any elections department

In addition to meticulously tracking ballots, the TSX™ Elections system has the capacity to handle the additional ballots needed for the closing of registration for the election. Taking the estimated number of ballots ordered and comparing it to the registered voter counts, the system is able to alert management if more ballots will be needed for Election Day. Using the software, the user can select the style of ballot by precinct and party affiliation and order the quantity to add on to the current stock in the warehouse.

Enriched outbound tracking of the ballots is accomplished via GPS tracking. TSX™ Elections uses GPS coordinates, a smartphone application, geofencing, and breadcrumbs to make sure that the truck routes are verified and secure. Being able to track the delivery of the election ballots in real-time is essential to guaranteeing the polling sites have the right number of ballots needed for the expected voter turnout at that precinct.

Finally, it is important to note that the TSX™ Elections system is fully equipped to handle post-election compliance inquiries and auditing.

Enhanced Election Night Protection

Tracking voted ballots is never more important than it is post-election. When the polling sites close, all ballots (voted, unused, spoiled, and provisional) are handled with unmatched protection. The following retrieval process makes TSX™ Elections unlike anything else of its kind:

  1. Critical assets (ballots…plus thumb drives, signature documents, etc.) are picked up
  2. GPS satellite captures the driver’s cell phone location every 10 seconds to create the virtual breadcrumb trail
  3. Critical assets are delivered to the collection center or designated facility
  4. Critical assets are scanned at the collection center as they are received
  5. Everything is monitored and updated in real-time on the Election Night Dashboard, which can be accessed anywhere via the web

The Election Night Dashboard offers an easy-to-read interface providing management with real-time updates to allow for proactive responses as opposed to reactive emergencies. With fast and accurate tracking, retrieval, and storage of voted ballots, TSX™ Elections is ideal for easy retrieval for audits and/or recounts.

The TSX™ Elections system even offers real-time proof of pickup, retrieval, and storage for non-critical assets like chairs, tables, and laptops. While this is certainly not as critical as the ballots, thumb drives, and signature documents, it is still important to have proof that everything shipped out is returned.

Accountability, chain of custody, accuracy, and security are imperative components throughout each phase of the election cycle. TSX™ Elections provides that and more for elections departments both large and small.

Contact Us Today 

Stay tuned for a future article about the supply chain model for all election assets and materials.

 

Construction Site Inventory Management

Construction Site Tracking Technology That Reduces Costs

Delays, downtime, and material loss are all too familiar to construction site management. Industry veterans can attest to the fact that even the slightest hiccup in the timeline can cost a project thousands upon thousands of dollars. On bigger commercial construction projects, these hiccups cost millions. Construction materials typically account for as much as 70 percent of a construction project’s total cost. As such, mismanagement of materials can be catastrophic.

Material loss creates a chain reaction of financial burden. Downtime increases and delays ensue, thus creating a scenario where the entire team is impacted and time and money is lost. A job site needs to run as close to a well-oiled machine as possible in order to maintain sizable profit margins. The last year has thrown another profit-killer into the mix: COVID-19.

The global pandemic affected virtually every industry, but the construction world got particularly hard hit. A shortage of materials has led to price increases and supply chain challenges that have stifled many construction companies’ ability to perform well. In reaction, the construction industry has been forced to get creative in finding ways to tighten budgets and reassess the process.

The solution? A job site supply chain management system that offers real-time materials tracking for job-site work. With the ability to access real-time data collection of materials being gathered or re-supplied to the job site team, efficiency skyrockets. And more importantly, timelines and budgets are met.

Impact of Missing Materials

From lost revenue to project derailment to financial penalties, the impact of missing materials on a job site is enormous. In addition, delays in a project can lead to loss of trust from the customer or general contractor and thus rushing to get the job done. The result can be disastrous, leading to accidents and even further loss of trust. If materials are delivered on time, however, much of this can be avoided.

Construction Site Downtime Costs

So, when materials are missing or delayed, the lost revenue can really paralyze a project. And the impact goes beyond just dollars and cents, even though all roads lead back to budget. When a project gets derailed and the timeline changes there are a wide range of challenges that follow. Accounting for things like interest carrying cost increases and a delay in revenue generation means that projects who fail to meet timelines will be costly beyond measure.

Missing or delayed construction materials and equipment create massive challenges that threaten to permanently damage a project. When operations are well-organized with the support of technology, headaches are circumvented and the overall flow of the project is streamlined.

The Value of the TSX Warehouse Management System

The number of people still using spreadsheets to organize and track materials is astounding. Many multiple-system operators (MSOs) are hampered with numerous spreadsheets or disconnected systems used to order customer premises equipment (CPE), installation materials, construction supplies, etc. From job site confusion to a general lack of coordination, spreadsheets are an antiquated and costly way to manage a warehouse and a job site.

The TSX Warehouse Management System (WMS) serves to alleviate tracking, coordination, and delivery issues by validating every aspect of the process:

  • Validated picking of materials from stock
  • Cross dock merging of special order supplemental items
  • Staging for the job site
  • Loading of the materials to the delivery or job site trucks
  • Validation on arrival at the destination
  • Off-loading of the correct items needed for that site/job
  • Automated alerts for missing or incorrect items being off-loaded
  • Communicates and integrates with the accounting system

TSX Job Site and WMS Solutions automate the warehouse processes for the manufacturing and/or purchasing and receiving of goods needed at a designated job site. Job site issues occur along nearly all phases of the process – from inventory issues to scheduling, from ordering to receiving, and from storage to delivery, the TSX Warehouse Management System is the ultimate solution.

SCORE Order Management Portal

The SCORE System (Supply Chain Order Requisition Express) was created to provide a standard system for ordering that is fully integrated and supports all departments and communities. Designed to replace spreadsheets with a central, common portal, SCORE is accessible via the web with tablets and/or mobile devices, making it easy for delivery drivers and technicians to work within the system.

In addition, SCORE was specifically designed to support user-specific templates or company-boilerplate templates. Utilizing pre-designed templates with commonly ordered goods makes the process extremely smooth. With 2-3 clicks of the mouse, the user can queue up an order with hundreds of items defined in a specific template. With 1 click of the mouse, the supervisor can review and release the order.

As an Enterprise-Class System, SCORE offers features that revolutionize the ordering process:

  • Authorized users replenish standard stock items to their trucks with a few clicks of a mouse
  • Accessibility via field or job site devices (tablets/smartphones)
  • On-demand ordering from the site
  • GPS tracking of all trucks
  • Data points for each truck, including location speed and direction of travel

Plus, with strong encryption and the ability to support over 55,000 users, SCORE and WMS work together seamlessly to offer complete, real-time visibility.

Technology Safeguards Proof of Delivery

Utilizing TSX Job Site and WMS Solutions with SCORE means operating a job site with unmatched precision. Job scheduling is established and required goods are picked and staged for delivery. Items are picked from manufacturing finished goods, stock inventory, or job-specific inventory and then the systems instruct designated workers to pick/pull the items by order and stage them on the shipping docks for loading to trucks. Then, the WMS assigns a route to the trucks, with stops and order numbers assigned as well. As items are loaded onto the truck, the system validates (in real-time) that the items loaded match one of the job sites on that truck’s route.

Construction Site Costs

From geofence features to breadcrumb tracking, the TSX system completely takes overall responsibility on the job site. The WMS has the physical address for each customer associated with the orders. Management will use the WMS Geofence functionality to create a perimeter around each of the designated customer’s address locations.

Arrival at the job site is confirmed via GPS and the customizable Geofence parameters the user creates via the TSX management screens. Geofences may be as large (entire development or job site area), or as small (individual units within the job site), as the user prefers. As items are scanned from the truck to the team, the system validates the transactions within the correct Geofence perimeter and a secondary focused Geofence Unit. These transactions are executed in real-time via our TSX Smart Phone App, and real-time updates are available to management via the system’s dashboards.

Verifying and scanning materials ensures that all expected items for that site have been delivered. This type of Proof of Delivery is paramount to keep job sites functioning at peak capacity.

Revolutionizing the Construction Industry with Complete Visibility for Job Site Activities

 

Managing the supply chain for a job site can seem like an uphill battle, but with the TSX Warehouse Management System and SCORE job site teams can refocus their efforts on getting the job done right. Complete visibility from TSX provides all data related to the warehouse floor processes, loading validation, delivery and vehicle travel activity, and job site activity. All in real-time, and all with 100% validation.

At Wireless Data Systems, we take pride in our role of revolutionizing the construction industry. Contact our team today to learn more!

The Ins and Outs of Tracking High Value Items

Supply chain solutions have gone through quite a transformation over the last few decades. With a continually growing inclusion of technology into each facet of the chain, operations have evolved and given corporations the opportunity to truly improve their bottom lines. As with any evolution, however, there are certainly glitches along the way. One of the major challenges that has come to light in recent years is the inability to properly track high value assets/containers.

Monitoring the use and location of assets/containers is critical in inventory management. There are four core components that make tracking high value items so significant:

  1. Improving supply chain visibility
  2. Automating as much of the process as possible
  3. Keeping partner and customer relationships intact
  4. Increasing the company’s bottom line by focusing on ROI, loss prevention/anti-theft, and avoiding additional operational costs

Properly tracking high value items/containers means dynamically incorporating technology into already existing systems and operations. On top of that, however, it can also mean modifying existing systems and operations to adequately solve this notable issue. Knowing how to incorporate these additions and changes seamlessly is key.

At Wireless Data Systems, Inc. (WDS), we were given a firsthand look into the true magnitude of tracking high value assets.

Problem Solving to Safeguard High Value Assets

One of our clients was shipping a container full of high value IT equipment to a port in Europe. The equipment was unpacked, configured (updated), and repacked. Unfortunately, the container manifest had a serial number for a computer that did not exist on the container. This mismatch ended up having a catastrophic impact. The pro forma invoice did not match the actual contents of the container and the contents claimed on the pro forma. In this scenario, the company then runs the risk of getting the container impounded.

This scenario highlighted the undeniable need for a unique high value item repacking module that was robust, dynamic, and, most importantly, dependable. As such, WDS developed a solution that made it fast and accurate to pull any empty box in the warehouse and use that box for any of the 50-60 PCs that the client was repacking and loading onto the container.

How did this fair? The response was remarkable. Our new module provided a solution to the operational problem in the warehouse. Plus, we were able to give the client great confidence that high value containers would not be held due to mismatching data on the documentation.

The complexities of shipping container tracking cannot be overstated. Any glitches in operations can be devastatingly costly and ruin business relationships. At WDS, we extinguish the glitches with a system that tracks assets of any value flawlessly.

Why Track High Value Assets/Containers?

The failure to properly track high value assets/containers can result in irreparable damage to an organization. Items may be held by customs at the destination, disrupting all supply chain timelines and ruining customer relations. In addition, this may lead to financial penalties. The loss of items has an enormous impact on a company’s bottom line.

In fact, mistakes are impossible to economically reverse (i.e. the costs to return wrong items is too costly and most times considered a loss). This makes accuracy vital. Accuracy in tracking works to reduce disputes upon receipt of final destination. Some of the most critical reasons for tracking high value assets/containers include:

  • The loss of items has a substantial impact (financial, operational, relational, and more)
  • Even small delays can impact deadlines and customer satisfaction
  • Items/containers are of greater value to thieves
  • High value assets are under greater scrutiny for imports and exports

The ROI of a tracking system for high value assets is multifaceted. Avoiding a disruption in the supply and distribution chain has huge financial implications. How much would it cost to leave cargo behind? How much would it cost for cargo to be delayed? How much would it cost for cargo to never reach its final destination? Calculating these numbers showcases the importance of tracking for high value items.

WDS Specializes in High Value Items Tracking

Loss prevention is an imperative aspect of any supply chain operation. For containers, for instance, the system must be able to verify accuracy of the item identification markings (i.e. Item Numbers, Serial Numbers, Pallet, and Country of Origin). When it comes to dealing with high value items, the stakes are high.

The following are some of the best practices that must be employed in high value asset/container tracking:

  • Always serialize high value assets and track them with an inventory management system
  • For containers, verify all items are on the manifest
  • Use a system that gives the greatest visibility into asset management data
  • Implement tracking at each step: Initial receipt, storage, truck loading, unloading, etc.

At WDS, we not only keep up with best practices and standards in our robust tracking system, but our technology goes above and beyond to ensure accuracy, dependability, and speed. In addition, we understand that each organization necessitates a unique set of requirements. Our system can be modified to handle unique situations. Plus, in the near future WDS will be able to assist the tracking of high value assets virtually from anywhere.

When it comes to tracking high value assets, the stakes are too high to rely on anyone but WDS. Our mission is to track everything, everywhere, all the time. Contact us today to learn more about our asset management system.

Employee Productivity with WDS TSX™ Systems

Employee Productivity with WDS TSX™ Systems

Improving employee productivity is a universal goal for business owners across every industry. From comfortable working conditions to state-of-the-art equipment and tools, from incentive-based pay to improving company culture, and from increased training to placing an emphasis on self-care, companies truly try it all to achieve maximum productivity.

According to a recent study from Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, the United States loses $483 to $605 billion per year due to actively disengaged employees. That number is astonishing and underlines the massive value of maximizing employee productivity in the workplace.

3PLs looking to get the most out of their employees have tried all sorts of methods, but the truth of the matter is that knowledge is often the largest hurdle. Who are your most productive employees? Do you know which employees are underperforming?  Is your executive team able to make informed decisions about compensation and bonuses?

The answers to these questions are critical, yet most organizations lack the internal knowledge and data to make strategic choices. Companies once lacked the technology to collect this data, until Wireless Data Systems, Inc. (WDS) broke the mold for 3PLs everywhere.

Enter TSX™ systems, the state-of-the-art, real-time IT solution created to offer unparalleled data forensics for 3PL management. Armed with the power of data visibility, these applications will transform your employee productivity and thus, your bottom line.

Measuring Productivity for Unmatched Success

3PLs deal with a lack of employee visibility all of the time. This leads to a lot of internal issues, many of which are unbeknownst to management. As such, every TSX™ system provides management with unsurpassed visibility into operations. The way the system works reveals inefficiencies in operations as well as high-performance indicators, all of which guide executives to make informed, strategic decisions about personnel.

For instance, let’s look at Employee A and Employee B. Each of these employees work the same shift and thus the same number of hours. However, Employee A is able to process 10 times the number of orders as Employee B. The problem? They are both getting paid the same amount.

As a result, employee resentment towards management and the company grows. This leads to frustration, bitterness, and often a disengagement with their day-to-day responsibilities. The worst part? It’s all avoidable with the right technology in place.

The TSX™ System’s Automation-Assisted Operations include:

  • Receiving
  • Putaway
  • Picking
  • Shipping
  • Packing
  • Inventory Counts

There is an audit trail of all transactions recorded as they occur, including all handheld screens viewed by the user. With real-time data, management is aware of the top performers. All of the data is trackable on the Transaction Dashboard, making the system user-friendly for all.

TSX™ provides the critical data that clearly illustrates high-performing (and low-performing) employees’ productivity. Armed with this newfound data visibility, management can then recognize productive employees, often making them 100% dedicated to the company. Empowered with facts-through-data, management may confidently compensate or recognize their champion employees.

Productivity-based pay has proven instrumental in transforming a 3PL’s ability to outperform their competition and reach new levels of efficiency. The TSX™ system provides the structure that allows for employee productivity to skyrocket.

The 3PL solutions at WDS have been accumulated through 30 years of experience in building and implementing state-of-the-art hardware and software solutions. We are steadfast in our commitment to developing technology that solves our customers’ problems and propels them forward amongst their competition.

Powerful Technology Solutions for 3PLs of Any Size

The key to success for 3PLs both large and small lies in the details. From accuracy to security to timeliness, relying on technology lays the foundation for a smooth operation each step of the way. At Wireless Data Systems, Inc. (WDS), we understand the value of data and we have built our business on the backs of state-of-the-art technology paired with unmatched customer service. In doing so, our customers benefit from customized software that meets their specific needs.

With the onset of COVID-19, 3PLs have seen a massive growth in business due to the rise in online ordering and online fulfillment. As such, it is critical that these companies can rely on dependable software to address said growth, while maintaining a high level of security, accuracy, and accessibility. WDS can and has provided an answer to these problems in the form of the TSX™ 3PL Solution. With inventory visibility to see status of everything received and reports generated monthly showing detailed information, nothing slips through the cracks.

Our TSX™ 3PL Solution is a very powerful system that relies on shared data and seamless integration options for all size companies. With automated integration, a robust built-in billing module, and a customer portal for easy access, WDS technology truly transforms the business practices for our customers, and thus, their customers.

The days of communicating on paper are long gone. Today, 3PLs looking to achieve efficiency and accuracy must rely on a software solution that is customizable, web-based, and offers real-time data acquisition. At the end of the day, our TSX™ 3PL Solution serves one primary purpose: improving your bottom line.

TSX™ 3PL Solution Features

So, why use the TSX™ 3PL Solution? What features and benefits will it provide to you?

Automated Billing

Data errors have been the bane of 3PLs existence for far too long. Transactions must be entered accurately and timely in order to keep the company profitable and efficient. Unfortunately, 3PLs are at risk of losing 30% or more every month in transactions, all of which could have been billed for. In most cases, transactions either were not entered or entered incorrectly. These inefficiencies can kill a company’s bottom line, and they are all avoidable.

The TSX™ 3PL Solution is a transaction-based system, meaning it is equipped to handle all different billing models and meticulously tracks billing for each and every transaction. The transactions are written into the system billing tables in real-time, including details such as the user ID that performed transaction and all pertinent data like item number, quantity, pallet ID, date and time down to the second, and more.

Then, the system takes that information and generates a monthly report outlining the transactions that the 3PL did for all of their customers, containing detailed information about when the transaction was executed and who executed the transaction, and then generates an invoice based on the 3PL’s billing table.

Flexibility and customization put the TSX™ 3PL Solution into a class of its own. Everything is customizable to address specific billing methods. Plus, 3PLs have the ability to edit charges to give customers discounts and make any other custom modifications necessary.

An automated system is imperative for 3PLs. All too often, transactions are lost on the floor when dealing with paper reports, manual inputs, and user error. As a result, lost revenue is inevitable. With the TSX™ 3PL Solution, however, billing is thorough, accurate, and error-free, ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks.

Customer Integration and Order Entry

Our 3PL customers sell their warehousing services to small, medium, and large partners which have goods that need to be picked, packed, and shipped to their consumer customers. If the partner is a small mom and pop shop, the challenge for the 3PL is that those partners do not have IT departments or technology to efficiently communicate those orders to the 3PL.

As such, these partners will either make telephone calls to dictate the order details to 3PL customer services reps (CSRs), who then must manually enter the orders into our 3PL system. The other typical method is to send emails with details about the order that the CSR then needs to swivel chair data enter from the email, or fax the orders to the CSRs, that again must be re-entered into our system.

To accommodate customers, large and small, the TSX™ Integration Manager provides the 3PL with multiple options to offer their partners to automate the import of their orders in a fast, accurate, and efficient manner.

SCORE™ Online Order Entry Portal

Our Online (Web) Order Entry Portal, called SCORE (Supply Chain Online Requisition Express), provides a fast and efficient tool that allows customers to enter orders directly into the 3PL system. The partners can create templates based on marketing campaigns for items where they expect high volume again, and with three clicks of the mouse place those orders in seconds. There are screens for a two phase approval/release process, or the orders may be released for immediate processing.

TSX™ Import Agent – Excel Spreadsheet Templates

We provide the 3PL partners with standard Excel templates with the format and required fields of information the partner must provide with their orders. Sometimes just providing the partner with a quick and simple format to follow the 3PL pseudo automates the inbound order processing. Excel spreadsheets are the least efficient process, but are the at least better than communicating order data via fax, email, or phone call.

TSX™ EDI Integration Suite

This interface is the most widely accepted between trading partners, and is the most widely selected method among medium to large partners. This proven technology imports the data from the 3PLs partners and automatically imports it into our 3PL system. We provide the 3PL partners with standard 3PL EDI templates that include the required and optional fields of information needed to process orders.

TSX™ 3PL Native Order Entry

The final interface is an order entry screen within the 3PL system that our 3PL customers’ staff may use to enter the orders manually. These screens are similar to the SCORE™ system mentioned above, but is not meant for access by the 3PLs partners. It is for internal use and is used specifically for the partners that can only send orders via phone calls, fax, or email.

Additional Features

In addition, the TSX™ 3PL Solution highlights inefficiencies in work production with industry leading data visibility. With the ability to showcase data that underlines employees who are working fast and efficiently, and those who are not, employee productivity skyrockets. Put simply, the system was designed to be brutally honest with data, which allows employers to recognize and reward their best performers.

Some of the most prominent benefits include:

  • Transactions-based system allows for maximum efficiency, as it looks at all transactions and puts them against billing tables to see what to charge customers
  • Billing tables for customizable services and rates that give 3PLs flexibility and control, allowing them to grow regardless of employee count
  • Real-time data collected makes operations efficient, accurate, and fast
  • Multi-level security offers 3PLs comfort and reliability
  • Extensive reporting keeps meticulous track of all transaction and generates invoices, ensuring that operations and billing are precise
  • Scalability with EDI Integration means companies can lean on automation, instead of personnel, to grow exponentially
  • Dashboards allow for transparency and visibility that enables users to see inventory and all transactions

Modern IT Solutions for All 3PL Challenges

The TSX™ 3PL Solution is a system unlike any other. Built from the ground up with state-of-the-art technology, 3PLs benefit from a rich feature set that not only addresses common challenges, but identifies future challenges before they become a problem. From saving time and labor costs to offering scalability and efficiency unlike anything of its kind, this customizable solution makes 3PL operations smooth and reliable. With an abundance of benefits and features, the TSX™ 3PL Solution plays a prominent role in improving your bottom line.

At WDS, our 3PL solutions benefit from our more than 25 years of experience in successfully designing and implementing complete software and hardware solutions for some of America’s most well-known corporations. We are committed to continually pushing the envelope as we utilize technology to exceed our customers’ expectations and identify opportunities for future growth.

WDS Upgrades Its Election Supply Chain & Security Solutions

Nearly 140 million Americans voted in the 2016 election. While much of the attention regarding elections focus on candidates and their platforms, the reality is that the election system itself is a robust and impressive methodology. In both function and form, the election process starts and ends with election equipment and software.

Wireless Data Systems, Inc. (WDS) provides the unmatched, high-quality inventory management and software tracking system to some of the largest elections departments in the state of Florida. Trusting WDS with election supply chain and security means placing massive value in their ability to handle the election assets flawlessly in each stage of the process.

From election preparation to organizing field operations and securing pickup to securing media returns, relying on WDS systems and technology underlines how critical accuracy and security are in the election process. Knowing where election assets and ballots are at all times is imperative.

With this in mind, WDS has made some groundbreaking improvements and additions to our election supply chain and security, most notably:

  • Allocation Module upgrades
  • Quality Assurance Module
  • GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery

Over the last 15 years, the modules within our system are continually updated and upgraded to meet the needs and demands of the changing elections cycles. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of our latest developments.

Allocation Module Upgrades

Built-in 2018, the WDS Allocation Module was developed to allow users to determine how many assets to allocate based upon the number of registered voters at each polling site. The original system put in place utilized mathematical formulas (managed by the user) to calculate how many of each item is needed per polling location based on the registered voter count.

Dynamic Technology Improvements

Beginning last December, the Allocation Module was given a critical upgrade to make the system dynamic – letting users add and remove assets freely. In doing so, it allows the system usability for any elections department, including addressing the early voting needs which happen separately from Election Day. Early voting is a much simpler process but still incorporates dynamic changes.

In addition, modifications to the Allocation Module include inventory validation based on the allocation and enhanced label printing process to accommodate the ever-changing list of items.

As requirements change, new and more secure equipment becomes necessary. The objective for WDS is to provide users with the tools to grow and change without being reliant on us. Our feature-rich system allows for a seamless process before, during, and after Election Day.

Quality Assurance Module

Quality assurance is vital in virtually every industry, but when it comes to elections, this feature is indispensable. With this in mind, WDS has launched the Quality Assurance Module. Providing a list of items in need of quality assurance (QA) prior to being sent to the polling locations, these lists are created based upon the allocation needs mentioned above.

Within the process of QA, many validations occur to ensure that the right items are being scanned, packed, and prepared for the polling site. The checklist portion of the module is a dynamic feature that allows the client to add and remove checklist items as their equipment and requirements change. This feature gives our clients the necessary independence that keeps running efficiently and smoothly on their end.

In addition, the QA Module has a damaged item section, so if an item does not make it through QA, it is rejected and isolated to be addressed before being released. It is important to remember that the Quality Assurance Module works downstream from Allocation Module, meaning the Allocation Module is feeding the QA data to keep systems accurate and secure.

The main goal here is to take numbers from Allocation Module and put them in real-world format (the checklist), which allows users to scan and assign assets in the real world against the allocation. All of the WDS checklist features are customizable. With a dynamic checklist, all QA measures can be modified as the user sees fit.

The Quality Assurance Module has added a deeper and essential level of accuracy, safeguarding critical assets and ensuring a well-organized overall process.

GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery

WDS prides itself on placing a major emphasis on security, accountability, and efficiency. With this mind, we have launched the landmark GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery. A mobile application that can be easily installed on a smartphone, the GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery serves to create unmatched tracking capabilities for all of your assets. The system comes equipped with two essential features:

  1. Geofence Technology
  2. Breadcrumb Tracking

GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery works to verify that the assets being scanned are assigned to the correct precinct.

Geofence Technology

The geofence technology is a Google Maps API where the user types the desired address into the system, saves it, and then that address is bounced against Google Maps to determine the longitude and latitude for the specific location. From there, the user can customize the specific location to an impressive degree of precision, i.e. the back of the building or a particular parking lot. Using the mobile app upon delivery, when the asset serial number scanned is outside of the geofence, an alert is sent out as an extra security measure.

Breadcrumb Tracking

The breadcrumb tracking functionality is essential to the accuracy and security of all assets. Opening the app and hitting start when a user leaves the warehouse with an asset, breadcrumb tracking is enabled. At this moment, it begins taking the GPS location of the phone every few seconds as the user drives through the city. With the intention of ensuring that the user is taking the assets to the polling site, breadcrumb tracking allows for an unmatched chain of custody where it would otherwise be unavailable.

Being able to confirm that the asset is being moved along the right route, without lengthy stops along the way, greatly reduces security concerns.

The Value of GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery

GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery sets geofences that determine the acceptable drop off location. Once in route, breadcrumb tracking is enabled to pinpoint the exact location of critical assets (such as media, ballots, etc.) at all times. Once at the drop off location, the application will validate that the user is within the geofence when scanning items. If outside of the geofence, a photo may be taken to compensate for GPS accuracy. In addition, there is always validation that the item was assigned to the location regardless of GPS location.

As such, geofence technology and breadcrumb tracking work in conjunction to create a uniform, fail-safe operation before, during, and after Election Day.

The Future of Election Supply Chain Solutions and Beyond

It is important to note that our systems do not directly interact with a voter, but they ensure that the polling sites have the right equipment. No voter data or ballot data is stored within our system, yet we are constantly aware of the physical asset security our systems are responsible for.

At WDS, we not only build adaptable applications for our clients, but we also maintain a high standard for adaptability within our company. The various systems mentioned above can easily be tweaked and modified for other industries. For example, the GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery can be utilized for any company that delivers items to their clients. They can ensure that the right item gets dropped off at the right location and we can send a notification when it is dropped off.

In addition, the Allocation Module could potentially be utilized in construction where various sized/types of jobs need varying amounts of inventory allocated to them. The Quality Assurance Module could be utilized in any manufacturing and packing operation. From technology to innovation, we continue to improve upon and develop our dynamic solutions.

Applying technology and innovation to system management means building application solutions that meet evolving needs. At WDS, we have mastered the ability to create solutions for one industry and then fine-tune those solutions to work across another industry. In doing so, we have proven time and time again that our clients benefit greatly from having our hands in developing and perfecting their hardware and software solutions.

2020 Election System Roadmap

Polling Site Reconciliation Module

Expected Completion Date: September 2020

This module is meant to further close the physical security gap within the Election Cycle. All steps occur at the polling site on Election Day, and they are done by the polling site staff. The module will allow additional validation of assets and ballots before polls open and once polls close. Both of these points in the cycle are critical security points to ensure ballots and equipment are all accounted for and have not been tampered with since being delivered.

GPS Assisted Critical Asset Retrieval on Election Night

Expected Completion Date: December 2020

Voted ballots and ballot media (thumb drives from ballot tabulators) are the most critical assets to an election operation. WDS can help ensure their security is by tracking their location while they are being driven back from the polling site. This new mobile application will have loading validation to ensure all expected ballots are loaded, and breadcrumb tracking functionality (like our GPS Assisted POD App) in order to track the user’s cell phone en route back to the collection center. Finally, it will work in conjunction with our Election Night Dashboard to provide a graphical look into where the critical assets are on Election Night.