Spokesman, Logistics Service Provider Work Group
These days, few manufacturers actually deliver their own goods to retailers. Instead they enlist third-party companies that specialize in transport — logistics service providers (LSPs) — to deliver their products and manage all related order processing and transportation responsibilities. Tools like SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) and SAP Transportation Management (SAP TM) can support the unique functions of these service providers, giving them greater visibility into complex warehouse and transportation processes.
In 2008, as the number of logistics service providers — and those companies that employ them — continued to grow, the German-speaking SAP User Group (DSAG) formed a work group to focus specifically on LSPs’ needs. This Logistics Service Provider Work Group, part of DSAG’s Supply Chain Management Special Interest Group (SIG), is currently working with SAP to assess and improve SAP’s logistics tools, solutions, and add-ons.
How DSAG’s Feedback Has Shaped SAP’s New Logistics Functionality
DSAG has always provided its members with a forum to communicate feedback directly to SAP; the Logistics Service Provider Work Group is already taking advantage of that connection. The group is currently evaluating SAP’s logistics solutions and helping SAP determine which enhancements require the most focus in the future.
The work group has enjoyed great response from SAP regarding its functionality requests. For its SAP TM 7.0 release, for example, SAP took into account several of the work group’s requests, including one for functionality that allows managers to trace shipment of goods based on their mode of transportation — road, rail, air, and sea. This tracing ability gives users full visibility into their actual planning and execution status and enables them to better control and optimize their transportation costs. Based on a company’s given strategies and cost profiles, the system calculates the most efficient routes through the transportation network and optimizes the timing of related transportion legs.
Future Functionality DSAG and SAP Are Exploring
For future solution releases, the Logistics Service Provider Work Group has also requested functionality that would enable:
- An improved user interface for those involved in the planning process
- A connection between SAP EWM and SAP TM; this would enable SAP EWM to notify SAP TM when planned transports are executed, which in turn would allow SAP TM to trigger follow-up actions like freight cost calculations or follow-up transport planning for complex, multistep transports
DSAG’s Continuing SAP Influence
Already more than 100 DSAG members strong, the Logistics Service Provider Work Group continues to work closely with SAP to submit feedback and offer development and improvement ideas around SAP’s logistics solution portfolio — primarily focusing on SAP EWM, SAP TM, and the SAP Business All-in-One for Logistics Service Providers solutions.
The work group is still accepting feedback and improvement ideas. Those who are interested in joining the work group or who want to submit ideas or requests for improvement should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested members can also visit www.dsag.de or www.dsag.de/en/dsaghome/work-groups/uebersicht/details/arbeitskreis/ag-logistik-dienstleister.html for more information on this work group.