All posts by Daniel Krentz

Advanced RFID Technology to Improve Post-Election Results

The complexities in the execution of a successful election cycle are significant. With hundreds or thousands of assets being deployed to hundreds of polling site locations and precincts, the stakes are extremely high. High stakes mean relying on election systems and software that are accurate and secure.  RFID Technology Can be a difference-maker for a successful election outcome.

Election assets need to be accounted for during the deployment, and most importantly, during the post-election recovery. Critical assets like voted ballots and thumb drives or media drives that contain votes need to be tracked with a complete chain of custody at every handoff during election night returns. As such, it is imperative that an election system provides accuracy, a chain of custody, and accountability in the deployment and recovery of these assets.

The challenge lies in finding a method in which a large-scale election operation can handle critical and non-critical assets, and Wireless Data Systems, Inc. (WDS) has proven advanced RFID technology to be a sound solution.

Arming Asset Security with RFID

The sheer volume and velocity of the recovery cycle can be chaotic. Vehicles are pulling up to offload equipment that has been retrieved from the polling sites. These assets typically have barcode labels with a unique identifier (Asset ID). Election personnel and staff are responsible for scanning the barcodes on all of these assets as they are returned to the warehouse. Due to the sheer volume of some large-scale election operations, it is not uncommon for many of them to slip by the scanning team without being accounted for. This results in numbers not adding up in the system’s post-election reconciliation utility.

A well-designed system with the latest RFID technology can improve this area significantly. At WDS, we understand this accuracy issue and, as a result, we are starting to deploy RFID scanning or reading stations to capture these assets automatically. First, the assets have Passive RFID Tags assigned and related in the system’s asset profile module. Then, as they pass through our system’s RFID Antenna fields, the RFID tags are being read at a high velocity. In real-time, the system is checking the status of the Asset read and flagging it as “Returned”.

Utilizing a hybrid of RFID and Barcode technologies enables large-scale election operations to add a new level of automated data capture and detail to the assets travels from deployment to recovery.

Understanding and Respect for Limitations with RFID Technology

The RFID technology is subject to the physical environment where the RF part of the RFID equation can fail. Due to these environmental factors, there are a certain number of tags that will not activate or read as they pass through the antenna field. It is imperative to have an understanding of these limitations and work with the client environment to overcome them.

In some cases, the best design is to put multiple tags on the assets, while in other cases multiple antennas will increase the read probability. And ultimately, a final process allows staff to physically locate and scan the asset’s barcode to complete the post-election reconciliation. The bottom line is our TSX™ RFID system supports several approaches, processes, and configurations to deliver the final result of capturing 100% of the assets expected…as all properly designed and implemented systems should.

Complete Control with Customizable Election Software

While barcode scanning is sufficient in many respects, the reality is that election night chaos requires a more universal solution. The TSX™ RFID System is an efficient and effective way to provide accuracy, a chain of custody, and accountability in the deployment and recovery of these assets.

Contact Us today to learn more about our RFID Technology.

WMS for Furniture Logistics

The demand for furniture is enormous in the United States, and continually growing. But a major dichotomy exists in this more than $60 billion market – wholesale furniture distributors are still using old systems and outdated technology. While nearly every aspect of life has been ingratiated with automation, furniture companies seem to be lagging behind in their furniture logistics software.

Wireless Data Systems, Inc. (WDS) has had the pleasure of working with a number of furniture companies in our pursuit to transform the industry. Our Warehouse Management System (WMS) has become the centerpiece of that transformation, creating successful operations from the top down. A hybrid of barcode technology, RFID, and IoT automation are examples of the current technologies we are deploying to provide fast and accurate data collection on the warehouse floor and in the delivery operations. This is something that we have been preaching for over 20 years.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of potential challenges inherent in dealing with furniture, most notably damage to the products. These challenges are not only disruptive but extremely costly. The unfortunate situation usually plays out like this:

  1. In a warehouse environment, these large, heavy objects are often dropped or bumped against edges of beams
  2. Damage occurs, but it is internal damage that is not visible from the outside
  3. The product is delivered to a person’s home and damage is discovered once the installers open the product
  4. The customer is angry and disappointed
  5. The damaged product must be returned or repaired
  6. The customer has to wait for the repairman or a replacement to be picked and shipped (assuming the product is in stock)
  7. The customer has to reschedule the delivery and plan to be home an additional day
  8. Additional scenarios that are costly and damage customer relations include items missing from the delivery and wrong items delivered

The above scenarios are commonplace, a simple mistake that ends up costing furniture companies an exorbitant amount of money. A lack of a furniture logistics system, organization and relevant technology lays the foundation for these all too common scenarios to occur.

WDS has built a WMS from the ground up that serves as a robust solution to the challenges above and beyond. Below, we outline the features of our customizable system that would benefit every furniture supply chain operation.

Intelligent, Serialized Barcode Labeling/Tracking

At the heart of any successful warehouse management system must be an advanced labeling structure. First and foremost, a labeling system establishes accountability for the workers that are handling items. The WDS WMS assigns serialized barcode labels to all of the products being received from their manufacturing plants and suppliers. As the products are being received on the dock, the system verifies them against the PO from the vendor as the labels are attached to the items. Then, the items are added to a cart or pallet, which is also serialized. Once the product is placed on the cart or pallet, the system minimizes the frequency of the product being picked up and dropped down to reduce opportunities for damage. In many cases, the next time the product is picked up or dropped down gain is when it is moved from outbound order staging to placement on the delivery truck. Plus, with serialized tracking the system will show every movement of the item, and who executed the movement.

This level of tracking is imperative to monitor damage and a wide range of forensics relevant to minimizing loss and maximizing productivity. Consolidation and validation of like SKUs is paramount in preventing damage as well as assuring multi-box SKUs will ship with all necessary boxes (i.e. kit or assembly items). Chain of custody and history data is readily available and accessible with WDS WMS.

Split ICN & Parent-Child Relationships

Another unique feature of WDS WMS is that it allows for half quantities. For example, if two chairs are packaged inside a box it is processed as part of the same dynamic ICN. Many times, our clients are sending replacements to customers or additional items to the customers that do not meet package size configuration (i.e., two chairs in a single box). To work around this, our system allows a quantity of .5. As a result, 1 of the chairs will be removed from the box, repackaged, and relabeled.

Known as Split ICN, this process means that the original ICN is kept but the quantity is changed from 1 to .5. Then, the new label generated for the single chair going to the customer is applied to the new box and the ICN. Now, the items have a parent-child relationship to the original ICN. And of course, the quantity in the second box is .5 as well.

The system manages parent-child relationships across a single part number or SKU, and multiple boxes needed. For example, SKU number BED12345 may consist of 3 boxes. The frame, headboard, and footboard. If an order is being picked for that bed, the user cannot pick boxes 1 and 2 and forget 3. The system requires all three boxes to be picked for the single line on the order for that bed.

Directed Put Away & Mixed Item Sorting

The pickup and place down refers to the exact movements of the products, and this is where most of the damage occurs. In our model, however, the objects are placed on the cart or pallet and the cart or pallet is directed to the end of the storage aisles. Once the cart is full, our system instructs the user to the correct aisle for the product storage. So, as all of the items are placed on the cart or pallet, the system is building a “manifest” for that cart or pallet.

The user is then ready to move the cart or pallet to the end of the aisle where the storage bins are located. The user scans that license plate label or manifest label on the cart or pallet and, due to the product loaded, the system knows where to instruct the user to place it. Like items are sorted to the cart or pallet – a critical component so items like mattresses and headboards are not on the same cart or pallet.

Organization is further perfected with the introduction of mixed item sorting. If the purchase order is received from the vendor’s truck includes a mixture of items, those items are segregated and grouped on the carts or pallets. Once the cart or pallet is placed at the end of the aisle, the worker in that aisle working from a Cherry Picker forklift lifts the platform and drives up and down the aisle placing the items into storage.

The driver lines up the platform even with the floor of the bin and then slides the product from the platform to the bin location. As a result, the placement of the product is simply sliding it from the platform to the floor of the bin. This means no lifting and setting down by the user, which vastly reduces the likelihood of product damage.

Advanced Picking Technology

Our advanced picking technology applies many of the same principles as our directed put-away system. The user on the forklift has a computer mounted on the forklift which instructs him to pick orders for items that are in his aisle. The user logs on to the terminal. selects picking, and our system displays a list of orders that are assigned to that user.

NOTE: In the scenario below, the order picking is split between assigned aisles that workers are assigned to. The system may also be configured to direct picking of one order to one worker, and the worker is directed by the system to each aisle that has items for the order.

The WDS WMS sorts the orders so that the user knows which aisle has items required for that order and the system distributes the picklist to the user’s computer screen based on the aisle selection. The system displays the first location that contains an item to be picked and the driver positions the forklift at the mouth of that bin location and scans the serialized label that was applied during the receiving process. Then the system verifies that that serial number is assigned to an item that matches the item for the order, and the user slides the item from the bin location to the platform on the forklift. This process continues for all items in that aisle that are needed for the order.

As the platforms become full of product, the driver goes to the floor level with the forklift and then drives to the end of the aisle for cart or pallet drop off. Again, no lifting or placing of the items is involved here, greatly reducing the threat of product damage.

Next, runners with tugs drive up and down the ends of the aisles and grab the trailer platform or pallet with the picked products and tow them to shipping lanes where orders are being staged for delivery. The product is left on a cart or pallet until the last possible minute when the items are removed from the cart or pallet and placed in the bed of the delivery truck. At that point, the driver of the truck is equipped with a manifest of all of the items needed for his route that day and the orders that are being delivered along that route.

The driver confirms and takes responsibility for the items on the truck. The WDS system assists with this confirmation as it will not allow any items on the truck that do not have an order for the item on the route that the truck has been assigned. In doing so, there is a very high level of verification as the items are picked and placed on those shipping lanes, consolidated into a complete order for the route on the truck, and loaded on the truck.

FIFO Management & Rules

First-in first-out (FIFO) is critical when it comes to furniture. Logic is placed in the system to confirm if the item is in the bin already. If so, the system directs the worker to an empty bin nearby to place the item there. The FIFO management and rules make sure that customers are not receiving items with aged/faded packaging covered in dust. The system is also structured to flag workers who perpetually pull newer items. With this structure in place, management is able to ensure that the warehouse workers are pulling correct items.

In addition, items are grouped/consolidated in order so that the truck is loaded based on the sequencing of stops along with the delivery reroute.

Hot Pick Optimization

When a customer chooses to pick up an item at the warehouse, the WDS WMS may utilize graphic displays for hot picks. With graphic displays in a grid, the workers in the warehouse can quickly retrieve the item from the aisle when the needed box flashes in red. Our system’s hot pick optimization allows for added efficiency based on data.

Geofencing & Proof of Delivery

Recently developed by our IoT Division, our GPS and geofence feature adds unmatched reliability, accuracy, and real-time tracking. When routes are established for the day based on scheduled deliveries, the WDS system uses that route and delivery schedule to create the routes for the physical trucks that the system will be loading material on. Each of the stops on the route is identified with a geofence around the location on the route. Meaning, each address for each stop has a geofence created with the perimeter around the location for all the longitude and latitude GPS coordinates.

The driver is equipped with a proof of delivery module running on a smartphone application that uses these GPS coordinates to verify the delivery. As the driver drives to the first location, the GPS validation confirms that the smartphone is within the geofence for the first stop. As the product is being scanned from the truck to the customer’s home or business, the system is validating that the longitude and latitude location of that device during the scanning is within the geofence coordinates. The WDS system alerts the user to any anomalies and the system may send email alerts to management notifying them that there was an anomaly in the delivery from that route.

As a note, the newest enhancement being added to the POD module is the ability for the installer to take a picture of the items post-delivery or installation. This also reduces the opportunity for post-delivery and installation damage claims.

Real-time validation of SKUs ensures a perfected proof of delivery process. The geofence mapping feature is critical and truly sets WDS WMS apart from any competition in the furniture industry.

The WDS WMS verifies that the items being delivered are not for another stop on the route. When the user indicates that they are done scanning all the items for that order at that location, our system verifies that nothing was left behind. The same course of action is applied in the warehouse when the truck is loaded. The system will not allow users to forget items on the dock that need to go on that truck for delivery.

Route & Reroute Utility

In addition, the system allows for non-deliverable conditions. This means that if the driver stops at the customer site and nobody is home, there is a trackable structure in place. Those items are left on the truck and returned to the warehouse to be rescheduled for the next time the customers are available.

Wave Picking

While not always applicable in the furniture space, wave picking allows for the system to look at all orders for the day and find like items in the orders. When the WDS WMS operates wave picking, a person is sent to a bin location once as opposed to multiple times to pick up additional items. This is a critical component to not only reducing deadhead travel but also minimizing the wear and tear on equipment and products.

Customizable Software

Building a furniture warehouse management system from the ground up meant diving deep into the wants and needs of large furniture companies. As a result of creating the WDS WMS, we have found that each customer has unique needs to improve their furniture logistics operation. A one-size-fits-all software solution would fail to meet these specific, dynamic needs. With this in mind, our robust software can be modified and customized to fit the exact mold of our customers’ particular requirements.

For more information on the WDS furniture WMS, contact our office at your earliest convenience to speak to a software specialist.

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!

Supply Chain Tracking of High Value Items

Supply chain tracking has 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 have 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 and furniture supply chain tracking.

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 cost 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 the 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 supply chain 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 the 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 in 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™ 3PL Systems

Employee Productivity with WDS TSX™ 3PL 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. 3PL systems are proven to increase employee 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 works 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 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.