The visibility tool was installed in September 2001, at the beginning of Spencer Gifts' busy season, reports Jeffrey N. Lovelace, manager of distribution center systems for the retailer.
"We put it in place to let the transactions database build up" throughout the busy Halloween and Christmas seasons.
End users will begin using the system later this spring.
Once the system is fully functional, the retailer's logistics staff will be able to create online reports to chart and monitor real-time distribution progress.
In addition, "ViaView will notify users when certain criteria occur," Lovelace
The system might notify users, for example, that a particular product is a hot seller or that another product is backordering.
The solution will be used initially in the distribution center, but the company may also choose to roll out the system to its individual store managers.
This would give stores the ability to check order status or inventory levels in real time.
In addition, Lovelace
says, store managers would be able to subscribe to information so that they could be notified what products are arriving, when a shipment actually left the DC, where it currently is located, and how many cartons are on the shipment, down to the SKU detail level.