What is the latest on SAP solutions for supply chain execution? What is the practical impact on how your business can manage and streamline logistics?
Review our one-hour SAPinsider chat on key functionality of the latest releases of SAP Transportation Management, SAP EWM, and SAP Event Management 9.1 and 9.2, along with a look ahead to release 9.3.
Review the chat replay below, along with the edited transcript, for tips from SCM 2015 speakers Dominik Metzger and Matthias Hollenders of Westernacher Consulting Singapore.
Molly Folan: Welcome to today’s chat on optimizing supply chain execution with SAP solutions for transportation and logistics. We’re very pleased to be joined by Dominik Metzger and Matthias Hollenders.
Dominik is Managing Director, Principal - Transportation Management APJ, Westernacher Consulting Singapore, and Matthias is Principal - SAP Supply Chain Management APJ, Westernacher Consulting Singapore. Both will be presenting sessions in the Logistics & Execution track at our upcoming SCM 2015 event in Singapore.
Dominik and Matthias, thank you for joining us this morning!
Dominik Metzger: Hello and a warm welcome to our Q&A session. Today we will focus on SAP TM, SAP EWM and SAP EM. We from Westernacher are very keen to hear your questions concerning the SAP Supply Chain Execution solutions. Westernacher is a leading implementation partner for SAP Supply Chain Management. My name is Dominik Metzger, author of the book Transportation Management with SAP TM and CEO for Westernacher in Singapore. With me today is my colleague Matthias Hollenders.
Matthias Hollenders: Welcome. My name is Matthias Hollenders, have worked on a lot of SAP TM, SAP EM and SAP EWM implementation in the last 6 years and now being responsible for the business development in Southeast Asia at Westernacher. Looking forward to answer all of your questions and also meeting you at the SAP Insider.
Molly Folan: We’ll be focusing on SAP Transportation Management, Event Management, and EWM 9.1 and 9.2 solutions today, and we already have some questions from our readers, so I’ll let you respond to those now.
Dominik Metzger: Thanks a lot for the introduction Molly.
Comment From Srinivasa Kolla
We are trying to get SAP EWM 9.3, SAP TM 9.2 and GTS 11.0 versions in the HANA database. Finally after having the latest versions of these three systems in HANA, what are the functions we will get in Logistics Execution? These are the Logistics Execution processes that cut across ECC-6.0 --> TM-9.2 --> EWM-9.3 --> GTS-11.0. Please explain briefly end-to-end processes and the possibility of integrating these systems to run the end-to-end processes for Import and Export scenarios.
Matthias Hollenders: Hello Srinivasa.
Typically you start as in ECC with either a sales order for outbound and purchase orders for export. These documents are sent to TM. Same you can do with inbound and outbound deliveries.
Alternatively, if you are a logistics service provider, you would create your orders in TM directly. These documents represent your transportation demand in TM. This transportation demand can be planned via the optimizer or manually onto the so-called Freight Orders. They represent the transport via truck, vessel, plane, etc. Based on this Freight Order, GTS is connected for customs clearance and for compliance management (sanctioned party list and embargo list).
There is a tight, out-of-the-box integration to GTS, which triggers the GTS processes and blocks/releases documents on the TM side automatically.
After the export and import planning in TM has been done, the documents can be integrated to EWM. This is again done via the out-of-the-box integration between TM and EWM. This triggers on the EWM side via the delivery orders, the wave creation, etc.
TM documents are blocked until the warehouse execution based on the warehouse tasks/orders is completed. Then TM documents are released and the execution of the transport starts. Charges can be calculated and integrated back to ECC.
In general TM, EWM, ECC, and GTS are seamlessly integrated via the out-of-the-box interfaces that SAP offers. The end-to-end process can have many variations depending on your scenarios and it will take some time to explain all of them.
In my session on the SAPinsider I will talk exactly about the TM/EWM/ECC integration and will show a comprehensive end-to-end process in a system.
Comment From Ben
What changes do you see coming in 9.3?
Matthias Hollenders: Hello Ben,
Major changes that we see are in the following areas:
- Strategic Freight Procurement and Strategic Freight Selling (e.g. Year tender RFQs, etc.)
- Load Optimization: A lot of improvement happened in the area of the 3D load optimization with couple of new features.
- EWM integration: new features that I will also explain in my session on the SAP Insider.
- Besides that, a lot of smaller enhancements in all areas have been done like Charge Calculation, Integration, Planning with Gantt Charge, etc.
I would be happy to meet you at the SAPinsider conference to talk about the details in terms of new functionality of TM 9.3 that might be interesting for you.
Comment From Ben
If we move to TM/EWM 9.2, how will that affect current SAP TM and warehouse management processes?
Dominik Metzger: The TM/EWM 9.2 solution brings additional functionalities compared to older releases. The impact will strongly depend on the processes for which you have implemented TM and EWM for.
Here are a few examples: TM and EWM are directly integrated with release 9.2. This means you might be able to utilize on this direct integration to represent your TM Planning results in EWM for Wave release, picking and staging planning.
We from Westernacher always recommend a delta analysis which checks your current implementation and the enhancements you have done. We will then be able to recommend how to optimize your processes further and what effort a release change will cause.
Comment From Guest
How does TM 9.2 compare to the previous releases?
Dominik Metzger: TM 9.2 has different focus areas across the processes in SAP TM. Here are a few highlights:
- Collaboration Portal enhancements: It is now possible to do self-billing and also manage disputes
via the collaboration portal.
- Container management: It is now possible to plan container provisioning as a Logistics Service Provider. Charge calculation for container repositioning is also improved.
- For the first time, TM comes with an integration to ERP EAM (Asset Management).
- In TM Planning, the powerful Gantt chart helps asset-heavy companies to manage their fleet.
Comment From DavidN
What is the case for integrating these solutions? And what is required for integration with the three solutions?
Matthias Hollenders: Hello David,
A tight integration of our ECC with your transportation, warehouse, and tracking and tracing system will bring a lot of benefits for you. This basically helps to optimize both your transportation processes and also the warehouse execution which helps, for example, to reduce overall costs and delivery time.
Both sides are monitored by the Tracking and Tracing solution SAP EM, which helps you to react on any delays in real time, improving customer satisfaction and on-time delivery rate.
For a proper integration you need ECC 6, TM and EWM 9.2 or higher. They are integrated via SAP PI as the interface application. The interfaces are standard. This helps to set up the integration extremely fast.
Comment From Guest
With SAP HANA, what do you see ahead for APO and TLB? How does TLB compare to TM?
Dominik Metzger: TLB is the much older Load Planning solution from SAP.
One key advantage of TM Load Planning is that it comes integrated in a holistic Transportation Management platform. With TPVS being a fully embedded part of SAP TM, it makes most sense to also utilize TM for Load Planning.
From a scalability perspective SAP TM is the way forward. In future releases the TM Vehicle Scheduling and Routing engine and the Load Planning capability will be further improved and extended. Our recommendation is therefore to do executional planning in SAP TM.
Regarding your HANA question: We have not identified particular advantages for TLB since the HANA release. Usually it is difficult to improve optimization of the algorithm performance by changing the underlying database. The reason is that the actual planning logic is the performance bottleneck, which already runs in-memory.
Comment From Azarel Espinosa
Do we need an specific PI version?
Matthias Hollenders: SAP NetWeaver 7.4 is the integration and application platform for SAP TM 9.3.
The required PI version is also depending on the version of TM/EWM.
For TM/EMW 9.0, for example, 7.3 is sufficient.
Comment From Guest
What TM planning results go to EWM? And how/where do we adjust the plan?
Dominik Metzger: With the SAP TM 9.1 and EWM 9.1 release a direct shipper integration exists between the two systems. But the integration via SAP ERP is still relevant for most implementations. Therefore let me answer your question by looking at both integrations:
1. ERP-TM-EWM: TM has the possibility to create delivery proposals based on ERP Orders. This is full blown SAP TM planning run which considers the entire network, scheduling constraints and load planning constraints. Based on this, Deliveries are created in ERP and replicated as inbound or outbound requests in EWM.
2. Once the delivery based planning is performed in SAP TM, Freight Orders are created which represent the actual truck shipments. These Freight Orders can be replicated to EWM Transportation Units (TU). The TU will contain the context of the load information as well as the relevant arrival and departure times. Based on this the loading process can be facilitated in EWM.
With SAP TM and EWM 9.3 a new integration exists for transit warehouses. This capability is aimed at Logistics Service Providers. The integration similarly creates TUs in SAP EWM for transit warehouses. We will speak about this in more details in our education session at the SAPInsider conference in Singapore.
Comment From Guest
With the Collaboration Portal. how are you seeing clients use this? What is required on the user/partner side?
Matthias Hollenders: The collaboration portal is being used in various ways.
In most cases it is used for the spot tendering of the Freight Orders (transports) and the subsequent communication and tracking & tracing steps. It is extremely valuable for carriers and logistics service providers in case they do not want or are not able to exchange information via EDI.
The collaboration portal is in front of the firewall and the partners receive a username and a password to log on.
I would be happy to meet you at the SAP Insider at our booth. We have the collaboration portal set up in our demo system and can demonstrate the different features.
Besides the communication/tracking&tracing/spot tendering the collaboration portal can be used for strategic freight procurement and for the invoicing / dispute management process as well.
Comment From Isla
Hi there. In the coming weeks I will be heading up a SAP TM and SAP EWM integration project at a client site. Are there any recurring challenges (with similar projects) you see with your customers that you can share, so that I can prepare for or avoid them? Thank you in advance!
Dominik Metzger: Hello Isla. My strong recommendation is to put a lot of emphasis on the Blueprint and Solution Design phase. A recurring challenge is that many customers do not have a mature to-be business process design in place.
During blueprint this often means that designing future and optimized processes takes up additional time and efforts. We therefore recommend having a dedicated 2-4 week lasting business process design phase as part of the implementation. We from Westernacher always include such a phase and are more than happy to provide support in such a phase or as quality advisors during the project.
Comment From Guest
What functions does the new billing solution support? How are you seeing companies use this?
Matthias Hollenders: I assume you are talking about the warehouse billing? This is also something I will cover in my presentation.
Basically this was a white spot in the past which we filled with our own Westernacher Add-On. This gap has been closed by SAP by integrating the powerful charging engine of TM to EWM.
This warehouse billing now will help companies to calculate charges in case they purchased certain warehousing services but also for the billing side when a 3rd party logistics company wants to invoice the services based on what they have done in EWM.
After calculating the charges the settlement process can be started as well integrating back to ECC for billing or invoicing.
As I said, we at Westernacher have identified this gap already couple of years ago, which we had to close with our own Add-On, but finally there is a standard solution available with 9.3.
Please visit us my session as I will talk about the new integration of EWM and TM for this warehouse billing.
Comment From Martin
What will we need to do to prepare master data for use in an integrated TM and EWM approach? Any common problems you've seen?
Dominik Metzger: There is different master data which needs to be replicated across SAP TM and EWM. Especially business partners and locations (in EWM it is the Supply Chain Unit) need to be replicated. The usual strategy is to use SAP ERP as the master system and replicate both the vendor/customer master as well as plants to ERP and EWM via the CIF integration, which can generate BP master / locations / supply chain units in SAP TM and also EWM. Besides master data it will also be relevant to replicate certain settings, such as Means of Transport and also ERP packaging materials.
Comment From Guest
Can you please explain the Gantt-chart and what value it brings for a company which has a fleet that needs to be managed?
Matthias Hollenders: The Gantt chart visualizes the utilization of the trucks on time horizon.
This feature is very crucial when a company manages a fleet, as they have to make sure that the trucks a constantly utilized. This helps to improve and visualize the utilization including downtimes due to maintenance, loading times, etc., and therefore reduces the overall cost tremendously.
Dominik will talk about the Gantt chart in his session, so please visit his presentation. You are also highly welcomed to come to our Westernacher booth where we have a demo system to give you a first look and feel.
Comment From Guest
Are there any specific functionalities with SAP TM and EWM 9.2/9.3 that support Logistics Service Providers optimize their processes?
Dominik Metzger: More and more LSPs are using SAP TM and EWM. From Westernacher we are specialized in such implementations, across third-party logistics companies, Freight Forwarders, and also Carriers. Key functionality which is addressing such companies is:
- Strategic Freight Selling: LSPs can offer their services in a streamlined quotation process. Such quotes are used to negotiate contractual agreements with their customers. In the TM 9.2 and 9.3 release the functionality has been extended to e.g. to upload customer RFQs into TM which are usually XLS-based templates. TM can now calculate a suggested rate for such quotes. A key functionality is also to allow an efficient split of work in the teams of the LSP - a quote can be split into different trade lanes and worked on by multiple users at the same time.
In the area of Billing TM and EWM 9.3 are improved. It is now possible to use the strong TM contract database and charge calculation engine to store and calculate warehousing invoices. The actual billing documents are still created in SAP ERP. This is very attractive even for companies which do not implement a full blown TM system as there is no license impact.
Molly Folan: Thank you, Dominik and Matthias, for joining us and taking time for this chat today! We’re looking forward to seeing you at SCM 2015 in Singapore in just a few weeks!
Dominik Metzger: Thank you so much for all the valuable questions during our session. We will be at the SAP Insider Conference in Singapore from 1st to 3rd September. We are looking forward to a more detailed discussion on your questions and concerns. We will also sponsor two education sessions during the event. Alternatively feel free to contact me directly:
Dominik Mark Metzger
Principal SAP Supply Execution Management APJ
Mobile: +65 9624 8733
Matthias Hollenders: In case of any question, do not hesitate to contact me. Would be happy to answer all of them. Also looking forward to meet you at the event and in our sessions.
Head of Business Development SCEM APJ
Principal SAP Supply Chain Management APJ
Mobile: +65 9641 4800
SAPinsider: Thanks again, Dominik and Matthias! Thanks for all the questions - and please say hello if you will join us in Singapore this September!