Days Remaining alert trigger - How it works and best practices.

What is the Days Remaining Alert?

One of the options available for supplies alerting is the Days Remaining trigger.  This trigger will activate when the calculated depletion date for the toner cartridge is within the window of days stipulated in the Days Remaining trigger.  So if it is July 1, and your Days Remaining trigger is set to 14 days, you would receive alerts for all those devices which had depletion dates between July 1 and July 15.  This is the only condition that will trigger this alert.  If a toner is marked by the device as "Low" that will not trigger a days remaining alert, unless the previously calculated depletion date for that cartridge is within the window of the days remaining trigger.

How does this trigger work?

Each time a scan is received, if the toner is reported as a percentage and that percentage differs from the percentage from the first scan after the most recent toner change event (or in the case of a new device, which hasn't yet generated a toner change event, the first scan for the device) we will then calculate the depletion date by comparing those two percentages and the number of elapsed days. As long as the device continues to submit percentages, we will calculate a new depletion date after each scan. This continues until a cartridge change event occurs, at which point the process starts over again with the percentage after the toner change used as the reference for the next set of depletion date calculations.

Some devices, don't report percentages all the way to 0%, instead they switch to reporting an enumerated value of "Low" below some percentage. When this switch to enumerated reporting occurs, we simply retain the last depletion date that we were able to calculate and use that until we detect a toner change on the device, and the cycle begins again. But, while a device is reporting Low it is effectively "hiding" the actual toner usage during this time, this is why we simply have to use the last computed depletion date, we can't compute a new one. If the device is more active over this period of time, we have no way of knowing, and therefore no way to change the depletion date, and the result could be that the device runs out of toner before the depletion date enters the alert trigger window.  This will result in a missed alert and an unhappy customer wondering what happened to automatic toner fulfillment.  Equally the usage could drop off drastically, but this would simply result in replacement toner being sent early, not ideal, but not a show stopper by any means.

What is the Best Practice for this Alert?

The best practice for the Days Remaining toner trigger is to only apply it to devices that report in percentages all the way to 0%.  If a device switches to enumerated reporting at any time during the life of a toner cartridge, than you should consider using the Toner Consolidation trigger instead.  Toner Consolidation includes the Days Remaining trigger, as well as a level trigger. Meeting either condition will raise the alert, but only one alert will be raised for the Toner Consolidation trigger. You could use two separate triggers, but that can result in two alert notifications, and this tends to create as many problems as it solves.  Of course there is nothing to stop you from using Toner Consolidation with machines that report percentages right to 0% either. But if you aren't sure that all the devices to be covered report in percentages all the way to zero, you should use the Toner Consolidation trigger instead.

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