"Over time, the system builds up an interactive database within your own resources, containing detailed information about how previous exceptions were solved, and suggestions as to how the current situation could be handled," he explains.
"Going forward, you can then track patterns and trends, and not only analyze whether specific areas or resources are having recurring problems, but also investigate what the root causes were of those previous events. You can also use the data to evaluate how well various prior attempts at resolving a problem succeeded. This enables companies to continually refine their performance."
Logility's Bursa adds that because its embedded event management system creates a full audit trail any time an alert is issued, the Voyager system also lets users track who made any adjustments in response to the notification, whether they reallocated inventory, or changed a forecast.
"Then they can also rerun that event, to see if the response created any kind of ripple effect. For example, by fixing one problem, were others created? Users can also use the system to model various possible responses, to identify the impact of a decision on various factors, to help decide on reasonable trade-offs."
Like Logility, Infor stresses the ability event management confers on companies to speed up their response to situations, enabling them to deal proactively with occurrences before they actually become problems.
"In the past, people would set up reports on stock-outs. That's a very passive way to monitor in-stock performance. Stock-outs can occur, and nobody knows until they see the report," comments Nilsson.
"Now, you can have a system that monitors levels constantly, and at the minute a certain safety threshold is met, it will send out notifications to the appropriate individuals. The system can then also start an escalating process, so that if no action is taken within the first hour after a notification is sent, for example, the case is automatically escalated to a second designated person, and then on up to his boss if necessary.
"You can also set up the system to notify parties outside the company of pertinent events. In a low stock situation or stock-out, for example, you could have a web form automatically transmitted to the supplier of the item, where that vendor could key in a response such as the date the next shipment is scheduled to be sent out. Then the vendor's response as well would be monitored and work-flowed through system."
There are two ways clients can handle responses with Infor's event management solution, adds Vyas, depending how their systems are configured.
"One is they can look at the exception, then go to the originating transaction system and fix it there, and afterward record notes within forms and save those within the event management system. That's one of the more common ways people do it.
"If, however, their back end system is equipped for web services or APIs—in other words, has its transactions exposed—then it's possible to take action directly from within the event management software."
Infor, like Logility, also builds a number of predefined event notifications into its operational applications, such as its warehouse management system.
"We have common alerts like advance ship notifications, receiving appointments, various vendor performance measures, or if an order is not shipped by a scheduled date. We see our customers using these capabilities most frequently to monitor stock-out situations," Vyas comments.
A number of warehouse operations also use the notification system to help in handling refrigerated items.
"If something is pulled from the refrigerated area, and set down on the dock but not loaded immediately, the appropriate warehouse resource can get a notification warning them the item is sitting too long and needs to be moved," Vyas notes.
"Just as we include predefined alerts in our WMS, customers can also buy predefined monitors for the event management system," he adds. "If they want to customize, extend these or add new ones, we provide a very rich set of user interfaces to help them create new monitors against any back-end system."
At A Glance