Q and A


Making sense of your Transportation Management options: Recent Live Q&A with Chris Moose (transcript)

by Laura Casasanto

Laura Casasanto, SCM Expert.

I recently moderated a web forum with IBM's Chris Moose evaluating your transportation management options with SAP solutions.  Chris took questions on planning for the move to TM 8.0,  SAP planned support for TP/VS, TM 8.0 data integration with ECC, among others.

Chris Moose is a long-time author for SCM Expert, on topics such as Warehouse Management, TRM and mobility.

For the full Q&A on Transportation Management, you can view the questions and Chris's responses in the SCM Forum, or read excerpts from the transcript of the Q&A below.

Be sure to look for future Q&As – watch your member newsletter and join the SCM Group for updates! 

Laura Casasanto (moderator): Welcome to today's SCM Forum on transportation management and logistics.

I invite you to post your questions for IBM’s Chris Moose. Post your questions for advice on how to plan and evaluate your transportation logistics needs, when and why to move to SAP’s standalong transportation management solution, and understand what differentiates SAP TM from APO and TP/VS.

Thank you, Chris, for joining us today and taking questions over this next hour.

Chris Moose: Thank you, Laura, for having me.

RobinKies: In TM8.0, the Inbound Freight Collect scenario:

For truckload shipments where the shipment is sent out for RFQ approval to the carrier, would there be a service PO cut for the transportation service?  If so, how would we allocate the freight cost to the goods PO from the vendor?  Would there be a cross reference on the freight service PO to the Goods PO?  Or would the carrier utilize the Goods PO for reference number when submitting the Invoice for payment?

Would there be a freight service PO for Inbound Collect LTL shipments as well?  (since no RFQ process for LTL)?

Chris Moose: Yes, a service PO would be created for the transportation service but the allocation would have to be looked at more carefully as you can't typically allocate freight cost to the PO/inventory unless you have a 1 to 1 relationship between PO and a shipment.  T he same would hold true for inbound collect.

Dave Hannon: Chris, any tips for users who are struggling to get their suppliers on-board with a TMS to better manage inbound freight? Any specific parts of SAP TM that would be useful in that area? Bringing on suppliers' carriers?  Thanks.  

Chris Moose: From a process perspective, something that has worked in the past is to discuss the benefit received from the visibility gained by leveraging the functionality of a TMS via status messages as to the shipment progress/carrier status.  Continuous move functionality could also be used, too, which would keep the carrier’s resources/trucks utilized more efficiently.  

Does that answer your question?

Dave Hannon: Yes, that helps. Thanks.

Mac McLarin: Hi, all. TM 8 has a new feature (at least I think it's new) called Transshipment where you can specify locations (DC's etc.) as "places" where goods are unloaded / reloaded (say truck to rail or truck to ocean vessel).  Any insight as to how this feature works in TM 8 and the advantages this feature offers?  Thanks.

Chris Moose: Yes, you are right.  The new functionality is used in efforts to speed up the optimizer by limiting the optimization alternatives when looking at transshipment locations.

Mac McLarin:  So it’s more of a performance improvement change than a functionality change?

Chris Moose:  Yes, you are correct. The functionality is similar, but is intended to improve performance.

Laura Casasanto: I have a quick question for you Chris. Can you describe some common tasks that should be considered when looking to move from an SAP TP/VS solution to SAP TM?

Chris Moose:

1) Speak with your SAP rep regarding your current license structure with TP/VS, as you may have full rights to TM without any additional cost to your organization from a software perspective.

2) I would recommend having a clear understanding of what it is you are trying to accomplish and focus the project efforts around those tasks that will provide the results you would expect from a TM implementation -- and not get carried away with other functionality.  Once the needed functionality is working as expected, you can then fold in the additional, more complex functionality. 

3) TM and TP/VS share much of the master SCMB (basis) data but TM does contain additional configuration/master data (Rates now in TM). Prior to initiating your project, if you are able to gather/identify much of the needed data, it can help to streamline your/your team’s understanding of the tool or areas of concern that can be focused on during the discovery/blueprint phase of the project.

dgraham1: How does the TM handle multiple PO's per shipment?

Chris Moose: Handling multiple POs to carriers (freight orders) is standard functionality within TM 8.

Angelicamondragon: As far as I know, with TM I can have real-time tracking of my truck. How is this possible? I have an EDI with the satellite system [tracking] and updating TM?

Chris Moose: If you have satellite tracking you can integrate with TM/ECC via EM for capturing the needed updates.  Are there specific updates you are considering or concerns you have around the capability of TM to support?

Angelicamondragon: I was thinking that TM can have an EDI with port terminal to indicate the specific time and date o f the out of the container, and feed my TM? Then I can set an EDI with container line shipping to indicate the status of truck? Hope this is not very confusing... 

Chris Moose:  That shouldn’t be an issue. You can report or set up events via EM to record or notify a given user at specific milestones: cleared customs, container loaded, empty, leaves a port, etc.

M.S. Hein: Hi, Chris.  I have a question for you.  Now that TM is a stand-alone module, how is ECC master data integrated to TM 8.0?

Chris Moose: Good question... ECC master data plant, shipping point, customer, ECC master data plant, shipping point, customer, vendor, etc., still uses the CIF (core interface) for integration with TM. 

The transactional data (purchase orders, sales orders, STOs, etc) are integrated via PI/web services. 

Mac McLarin: Hi, Chris. What's your assessment of SAP's support for TP/VS?  Is there any timeline for SAP removing support (other than extra cost) for those customers who continue to use TP/VS for now? Thanks.

Chris Moose: I would validate with SAP to be sure, but I’ve been told that since TP/VS is part of SCM 7 that it will be under support through 2015 with extended support through 2017.  However, there will be no upgrades/enhancements to the application during that time frame. 

Scott Wallask: Hi Chris -- Good discussions so far. Here's a question: What do folks need to know about TRQ and TOR objects? How will they impact current transportation data and processes?

Chris Moose:

TRQ – Transport request/Forwarding order – this is the customer order/sales order/delivery

TOR – Transport order/Freight Order – this is the order/offering to the carrier or shipment

From a shipper’s perspective (TM 8.0) you can plan via order scheduling or delivery scheduling and choose how detailed you want to use TM…just to route or rate, tender, etc. 

MariaJimenez: Would it be possible to get SMS from any mobile device in order to upload POD info into the order document flow?

Chris Moose: Good question. This isn’t my area of expertise and I would want to look at this in more detail given the large number of service providers, etc. However, I believe it should be possible via EM to upload the POD info via an SMS/text message.

MariaJimenez:  What about transport invoice verification?

Chris Moose: This function is not currently done within TM. Invoice verification is done/executed in ECC.

Mac McLarin: Hi, Chris - here's a question on shipment functionality in ECC vs. that in TM 8: If we choose to use full TM 8 functionality for planning and freight cost calculation (TCM / transportation charge management) can you think of any advantage for continuing to use the ECC shipment functionality?  In other words, do we need to bother passing TM Freight Order data back to ECC for ECC shipment creation? 

I've had some folks insist that they still need (ECC) shipments, but they are not using ECC shipment costing.  Wonder if I'm missing something...

Chris Moose: At first glance I don’t see any significant advantage for using/creating ECC shipments. But I would want to look at potential impacts to the warehousing processes.

adaltam: Hi Chris, Is there any other APO module that is required to implement TP/VS?

What advantage/disadvantages are there to implementing TP/VS or TP 8.0 only in ECC?

Chris Moose:

Part 1 – For TP/VS, the only module that is needed is APO.  

Part 2 – I’m assuming you meant TM 8.  There are multiple advantages to implementing TM over TP/VS:

1 – More robust function from an LSP perspective.

2 – It is a stand alone application and can integrate with SAP or other legacy ERP applications.

3 – TP/VS will continue to have support, but no modifications or additional R&D dollars will be spent to improve the current offering.  

4 – NWBC is seen to be more user friendly.

Laura: Thanks to all who followed the discussion today!  

A full summary of all the questions will be available here in the SCM Forum and in the SCM Group on Insider Learning Network. The SCM Group also offers ongoing information and additional resources, including tips from the SCM Expert knowledgebase.

If you have additional questions, we invite you to post your own question for the entire community of experts and your peers by selecting "New Thread" in the SCM Forum

And if you have not yet registered for today’s Q&A, you can still register now to download “How to Evaluate and Choose the Right Transportation Management Solution for Your Organization,” a presentation by itelligence Canada’s Jean-Yves Popovic at the annual SAPinsider SCM conference. This presentation offers a detailed look at a range of TMS options.

You’ll also find a recent interview with Chris Moose’s IBM colleague Brandon Bright for his advice on SAP Transportation Management.

Finally, thank you to IBM’s Chris Moose and Brandon Bright for sharing their expertise on Insider Learning Network.

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