Real-time Inventory Accelerator

The Real-Time Inventory Accelerator provides visibility of inventory being tracked in near real time with rich graphical visualizations of inventory levels as they change dynamically.  The open architecture allows easy layering onto any existing transactional system and incorporation of optimization logic to reduce excess inventory and ensure adequate inventory is continuously maintained.  The Real-Time Inventory Accelerator can be accessed and integrated via simple REST API’s.

Compatible Products

TIBCO BusinessWorks™ TIBCO® Live Datamart TIBCO StreamBase® TIBCO BusinessEvents®

Provider

TIBCO Software

Supported Versions

TIBCO ActiveSpaces 2.3.0

TIBCO BusinessWorks 6.4.2

TIBCO BW Plugin for AcitveSpaces 6.3.1

TIBCO BusinessEvents Enterprise 5.4.1

TIBCO StreamBase 7.7.2 (Including TIBCO Live Datamart 2.2.2)

TIBCO LiveView Web 1.3.2

License

TIBCO Component Exchange License

Overview

The Real-Time Inventory Accelerator provides value in a variety of use cases across virtually every Industry vertical:

  • Retailers looking to optimize their store inventory and avoid over-stock / out-of-stock conditions;
  • Cable/Telco/Utility Companies - Any company where field service techs need equipment (inventory) in the field to service installations
  • Healthcare - Hospitals have a wide range of assets (inventory) such as wheelchairs or IV Carts that are shared throughout the hospital.  Tracking these in real-time avoids wasteful over-buying of these assets because clinicians lose, forget or hoard these assets.
  • IT - track IT assets such as laptops, projectors, mobile devices
  • And many more!!!

These industry examples are just the tip of the iceberg.   Every company has some sort of inventory or assets they need to run their business.    These are often tracked in multiple different systems, spreadsheets, paper etc.   This accelerator provides a clean and unified mechanism for integrating all  of the disparate movement events and presenting a rich, real-time visualization.  The accelerator is easily accessed and fed inventory events through a simple REST API.   Streaming analytics is used to provide a user-friendly  Live View Visualization of real-time inventory movement and status.  A provided data model (database) is easily populated through the REST API to store detailed attributes about inventory items such as images, item description, model number, SKU etc.  This accelerator can easily be extended to apply business rules for active inventory optimization in addition to just being a passive observer of inventory movement.   Easily integrated with common location based tracking techniques such as iBeacons or RFID.

Support Details

The DevZone Forums are a traditional threaded discussion service subscribed to by Accelerator Developers, Practitioners, and Customers with a shared interest in the TIBCO Event Processing and Streaming Analytics platforms.  Accelerators are provided as fast start templates and design pattern examples and are supported as delivered.  For all questions concerning Accelerator use and implementation, please open a new discussion in the DevZone forum here: http://devzone.tibco.com/forums/forums/list.page

License Details

Release(s)

Release

Published: February 2018

V1.0.2

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Real-time Inventory Accelerator

Overview

The Real-Time Inventory Accelerator provides value in a variety of use cases across virtually every Industry vertical:

  • Retailers looking to optimize their store inventory and avoid over-stock / out-of-stock conditions;

  • Cable/Telco/Utility Companies - Any company where field service techs need equipment (inventory) in the field to service installations

  • Healthcare - Hospitals have a wide range of assets (inventory) such as wheelchairs or IV Carts that are shared throughout the hospital.  Tracking these in real-time avoids wasteful over-buying of these assets because clinicians lose, forget or hoard these assets.

  • IT - track IT assets such as laptops, projectors, mobile devices

  • And many more!!!

Real-time visibility isn't just for retail!  Every company has some sort of inventory or assets they need to run their business.    These are often tracked in multiple different systems, spreadsheets, paper etc.   This accelerator provides a clean and unified mechanism for integrating all  of the disparate movement events and presents a rich, real-time visualization.  The accelerator is easily accessed and fed inventory events through a simple REST API.   Streaming analytics is used to provide a user-friendly  Live View Visualization of real-time inventory movement and status.  A provided data model (database) is easily populated through the REST API to store detailed attributes about inventory items such as images, item description, model number, SKU etc.  This accelerator can easily be extended to apply business rules for active inventory optimization in addition to just being a passive observer of inventory movement.   Easily integrated with common location based tracking techniques such as iBeacons or RFID.

What's New

Real-time Inventory Accelerator has been upgraded to new versions of TIBCO products. Please see version numbers in the components section.   Download the zip file for complete documentation and also see the power point slide deck attachment below.

Business Scenario

Retail

Consider why having accurate and up-to-date inventory tracking is important to retailers.   Customers come into stores and buy products and this changes inventory counts.    As this inventory is consumed, it needs to be replenished.   Inventory items can be quite expensive so having too many of them on hand can run up costs (overstock).   Additionally, these inventory items many not sell in a reasonable  amount of time and will likely get marked down which damages profit margins.   Another challenge occurs when a retailer doesn't have enough inventory on hand (out-of-stock).   If a customer comes into a store to buy something and it is out of stock, they are frustrated and this negatively impacts customer experience and satisfaction.   Keeping accurate and up-to-date track of inventory is a fundamental need of any retailer yet they often are not able to do this.   The problem is that most retailers don't just keep track of a single store.  They need to keep track of a large numbers of stores and also internet orders.    The typical problem is that multiple systems come into play that impact inventory such as a warehouse system, an internet ecommerce site, a point of sale system etc.    These systems are independent silos of transactions and are often synchronized in batch (nightly, hourly)    The time in between the batch sync's has inconsistent and incorrect information.

What are the impacts of this innacurate information?    Here are a few real-world examples.   A customer can call a store and ask if a product is in stock.  The sales associate looks at the system and it shows the item in stock.   The customer comes into the store to make the purchase only to find it really isn't in stock.   The customer is not happy with this but the sales associate looks in the system at another store across town and tells the customer it's in stock at the other store.  The customer drives across town to find that this store also doesn't have the item in stock.  This is now a very dissatisfied customer that may well go to social media and talk about the bad experience.

Common business objectives such as omni-channel customer experience and optimized order fullfillment face challenges due to disparate systems.  Omni-channel customer access via store, website, mobile phone etc. depend on having consistent and accurate inventory information.  When optimizing order fullfillment, retailers seek to pull inventory from a distribution center that is the closest to the customer and least expensive to ship.   Again, these transactions are often executed on multiple backend systems that need to be synchronized.  

How does RTIA help?  The accelerator is designed to easily integrate to any/all systems that perform transactions that impact inventory.  Each time a transaction occurs, a simple REST API call is made to update the global inventory in real-time so that inventory is continously maintained in the RTIA's data model.  An intuitive UI provides visibility into all of the inventory that is being tracked by RTIA.   RTIA is easily layered onto existing transactional systems and can be implemented quickly.

Applying RTIA to industry verticals aside from retail

How can RTIA be applied to industries other than retail?    It turns out that almost every company has some form of inventory necessary to execute its business.  Let's consider a few such examples.

Healthcare - Hospitals and clinics use all kinds of different inventory to deliver care.   This inventory ranges widely in cost.   Examples are bandages, syringes, surgery kits, wheel chairs.  There is also much more expensive equipment that is used such as heart monitors, IV machines, dialysis machines.    These items are often mobile and are moved from room to room.   They can be lost, moved to another area of the hospital, hoarded by clinicians.  Just as with retail, there are often different backend systems such as an EMR, radiology system, procurement systems that need to be synchronized with inventory events as they occur.   In healthcare, an out-of-stock means that a patient doesn't receive what he/she needs to be treated.   

Utility Companies/Cable/Telco - These types of companies also have the need for a large amount of inventory.   They have field service technicians that install, maintain, repair equipment at customer premises or on distributed field installations.    If a service call to repair an electrical transformer is issued, then a technician with a new transformer may be dispatched by truck to go and install it.   This will likely involve several additional parts that will also be needed to perform the service request.  This equipment can be quite expensive to overstock.  If it can be optimized to only stock enough to meet demand, this can translate into significant savings.   Out-of-stock conditions during a blackout or service interruption can unnecessarily delay repairs and cause significant customer backlash and costly SLA violations.

The need to manage some sort of inventory is pervasive accross industry verticals and should not only be focused on retail.   It is often poorly managed with spreadsheets and paper and represents a quick-win, business transformation that will likely be of interest to C-Level executives such as COO's and CFO's.

Concepts

Business Benefits and Value

By using the Real-time Inventory Accelerator (RTIA), it is possible to easily visualize the movement and status of inventory as it changes.   The RTIA provides an excellent foundation for an inventory optimization solution.   Out of the box, the RTIA is a passive observer of inventory events but it is designed to be extended to incorporate business rules that can optimize inventory movement, re-orders, fulfillment routing etc.   The RTIA is designed to be quickly implemented and layered onto existing systems via a convenient REST API.   

Components

TIBCO ActiveSpaces 2.3.0

TIBCO BusinessWorks 6.4.2

TIBCO BW Plugin for AcitveSpaces 6.3.1

TIBCO BusinessEvents Enterprise 5.4.1

TIBCO StreamBase 7.7.2 (Including TIBCO Live Datamart)

TIBCO LiveView Web 1.3.2

Documentation

Full documentation set including Quick Start Guide, Functional Specification, and Interface Specification are available by downloading the full Accelerator distribution package from here (license file for this component is here: license).

Screenshots

 

 

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