Setting up for Alerts

Setting up Alerts requires defining data and options in two places:

  1. In the Alert Options dialog (Exceptions: Alerts | Options…)
  2. In the individual Jobs

Each of these is described below.

In addition, the Alerts require that the APS.net Extra Services Windows Service is running.  This can be started from the Services window in Control Panel | Administrative Services of Windows.

Alert Options

General Tab

  • SMTP Server:  This is usually something like “mail.myservername.com”.  The name of the e-mail relay server. If SMTP Server is not blank[AT1] , the name of the local SMTP server is used.  If your local SMTP server (included with Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003) is behind a firewall that blocks any direct SMTP traffic (through port 25), you will need to find out if there is a smart host available on your network that is allowed to relay SMTP messages to the Internet.   A smart host is an SMTP server with the permissions to relay outgoing e-mail messages directly to the Internet from internal SMTP servers. A smart host should be able to simultaneously connect to both the internal network and the Internet in order to work as the e-mail gateway.   For information about configuring your local SMTP server, see the articles “Manage Your Company’s E-mail with the Windows 2000 SMTP Service” and “Using SMTP for Outgoing Messages” in the MSDN library at http://msdn.microsoft.com.
  • Send Automatic Alerts from these Scenarios:  This controls which Scenarios the Alerts are sent from when sent automatically.  This does not affect manual sends of Alerts.  Automatic Alerts can be sent from the Published Scenario or the Published and Live Scenarios.  They are never sent from What-If Scenarios.
  • Send Alerts for Tentative Jobs:  This controls whether Alerts can be sent for Jobs whose Commitment is Tentative.  The values are:
    • Never: Even if the Job says to send Alerts, they are not sent if the Job is Tentative.
    • For Agent Alerts Only:  Alerts can only be sent to Agents (not Customers) for Tentative Jobs.
    • For Customer and Agent Alerts:  Alerts can be sent to Customers and Agents for Tentative Jobs.
  • E-Mail Address to send Alerts From:  This appears as the “From” address in all e-mails sent to Agent addresses.  By making this the e-mail of the planner, the Agents can easily reply to ask further questions for follow-up on an Alert.  This address is also used as the From field in Alerts sent to Customers if the Job has no Agent e-mail address specified.  If a particular Job has both a Customer and Agent email specified then the From address on the Customer e-mails will be the Agent address.  This is so Customer replies will go to the Agent rather than to the planner.
  • Maximum number of Alerts to store for each Job:  As Alerts are created they are stored in the Job that they are for.  It is necessary to keep at least the last Alert sent so that APS knows whether an update needs to be sent when the Job changes.  (Comparisons are made to the previous Alert to see whether certain change thresholds have been passed thus warranting the sending of another Alert.)  In addition to keeping this one mandatory Alert history, you may choose to keep more Alerts so that the history can be seen to review how many Alerts have been sent and the nature of the changes between Alerts.  Keep in mind, however, that these Alerts do take up system memory (approximately 25 bytes each).

Customer Alerts Tab

  • Enable Automatic Customer Alerts:  If checked, then Alerts are sent to Customer emails as specified in Jobs.  If unchecked, then the manual command to send Alerts would need to be used to send Alerts to Customers.
  • E-Mail Subject Text:  Text to be placed in the “Subject” of all e-mails sent to Customers.
  • E-Mail Message Text:  Text to be placed in the body area of all e-mails sent to Customers (above the grid of Job changes).
  • Include Jobs with Need Dates within this horizon only: Alerts are only sent for Jobs whose Need Date is within this amount of time from the current PC clock time.  This is to avoid sending Alerts for Jobs that are due far out in the future and are therefore likely to move around a lot in the schedule.
  • Minimum Delivery Changes for Notification:  If the Job specifies that an Alert should be sent for Delivery changes then the Scheduled End Date must change by at least this much for the Alert to be sent.  Delivery Alerts are only sent if this change threshold has passed and: (1) the Job is Late, or (2) the Job is On Time and an Alert was already sent for the Job, or (3) the Job is On Time and its Max Early Delivery value is greater than zero (so the customer is aware that the Job may be delivered early).
  • Attach XML Document to E-Mails:  If checked, then an XML formatted text file is attached to all e-mails sent.  This can be used by the recipient to import the new Job data into another computer system.

Agent Alerts Tab

These values are the same as above, but they apply to Alerts sent to Agents instead of Customers.

Job Values

Each Job has these fields that control if, when, and to whom e-mail Alerts are sent for the Job.  These fields are available on the Alerts tab in the Job dialog.

  • Customer E-mail:  One or more semi-colon separated e-mail addresses for the Customer(s) for whom the Job is destined.  These addresses will receive the Alerts for changes to the Job based upon the Customer Alert Options above.
  • Send Customer Alerts:  Indicates when, if ever, to send Alerts to the Customers for the Job.  The values are:
    • Never:  Alerts are never sent to Customer e-mail addresses.
    • When Status Changes:  Send an Alert if the Job changes between these statuses:  Unstarted, Started, Finished, Cancelled, and On Hold.
    • When Delivery Changes: Send an Alert when the Scheduled End Date changes by more than the Minimum Delivery Change for Notification option.  Delivery Alerts are only sent if this change threshold has passed and: (1) the Job is Late, or (2) the Job is On Time and an Alert was already sent for the Job, or (3) the Job is On Time and its Max Early Delivery value is greater than zero (so the customer is aware that the Job may be delivered early).
    • When Status or Delivery Changes:  Send an Alert when either of the above two conditions is met.
  • Agent E-Mail: (same as above, but these e-mail are usually for internal personnel such as sales or customers service agents)
  • Send Agent Alerts: (same as above)

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