Software helps sort out
tasks and deliveries"> Farlow himself is assigned some tasks. Beyond his role as an IT director, he handles requests that come in for cell phones and other telecommunications resources. "We only send requests to the federal level [for tasks] that we cant fulfill at the state level," according to Farlow. Similarly, municipalities typically try to meet resource needs locally before asking the state for assistance."If theyve run out of sandbags, or sand, at the local level, theyd then request backup help from the state," he said.Meanwhile, a capability in E Teams software for "critical resources" can help agencies find potential sources of emergency supplies such as ice, food and water, the IT director said. On the logistics side, Louisiana has utilized the system to manage requests for trucks, rental cars, and other vehicles needed for delivering these goods to storm victims. The state uses the softwares color coding feature to distinguish between resources that are already en route to their destinations (yellow), versus resources that havent yet left the door (red), he said. Katrina knocks out product pricing and availability. Click here to read more. "If the request is for something like 10 tons of sandbags, we close out the task as soon as delivery is made. If its for something nonexpendable, we leave [the resource] on the screen until it is released [for use in another task]," Farlow said. The E Team system is also able to send out emergency alerts to personnel by e-mail and to mobile devices. Other features include real-time messaging; action templates; duty logs and call logs; GIS mapping, with abilities for map annotation and hand-drawn overlays; a security audit trail, allowing for varying levels of user access; and an XML-based API, for integration with a wide variety of outside applications. Models produced by simulation tools such as CATS (Consequence Assessment Tool Set) can be requested from and displayed in E Team. Even before Katrina struck, Louisiana used E Team to help prepare for the disaster, pre-posting anticipated needs and events in staging areas, Farlow said. The states primary E Team hosting facilities in Louisiana are being supported under an ASP model by mirrored redundant back-up sites in two other states. Louisiana uses a software configuration that combines E Team and IBM Corp.s Lotus Domino. Recently, however, E Team added support for two other databases: Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle. "Were database-agnostic," according to Kant. Click here to read more about the supply chain stranglehold applied by Katrina. The states resource management around Katrina has also involved three types of BI reports, said Business Objects Eklund. "In one category are initial requests for rescue or shelter, for example. Theres [an urgent] need to capture these requests [and] to get them routed right away," according to Eklund. Another type of request revolves around tracking the status of emergency shelters. "Whats the capacity of the shelter, and who is in there? Do we need to assign any more [personnel] to the shelter? Are there any families that have been separated?" he said. The third kind of report used in the Katrina crisis deals with benefits directed to evacuees, including housing, food, and money, according to the Business Objects executive. "Crystal Reports can apply business intelligence even to the chaos that comes out of a disaster like Katrina," Eklund said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news and analysis of enterprise supply chains.