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What’s Next for SAP Transportation Management? Q&A on the Latest SAP TM - SAP EWM Integration Options with Dominik Metzger

September 09, 2014

Thanks to everyone who joined our online Q&A with Dominik Metzger, a speaker at SCM 2014 conference in Singapore. Dominik and his colleague Zhang Wei of Westernacher Consulting Singapore took reader questions on how the latest SAP TM - EWM integration updates inbound and outbound transportation - from planning to final goods receipt. 

Reader questions included: 

  • Do you think SAP TM is still needed or is SAP SCM-TLB sufficient?
  • What is the difference between  SAP TM vs TLB vs TPVS?
  • How can we plan transportation activities in SAP TM based on orders/deliveries and use the results in SAP EWM?
  • What are the basic steps required for EWM-TM integration?
  • How does SAP handle fuel rate fluctuations in Transportation Module / EWM?

Review the chat replay and edited transcript here.  

Live Blog Q&A on new SAP TM and SAP EWM integration options: Live Chat 9 September, 10am SGT
Live Blog Q&A on new SAP TM and SAP EWM integration options: Live Chat 9 September, 10am SGT

Live Blog Q&A on new SAP TM and SAP EWM integration options: Live Chat 9 September, 10am SGT

James Ciccone, SCM 2014: Welcome to today’s chat on integrating SAP Transportation Management and SAP Extended Warehouse Management.

Thanks to everyone who already posted. You can continue to post your questions for the next 45 minutes or so. 

I’m especially pleased to have Dominik Metzger and Zhang Wei of Westernacher join us today. Dominik was a speaker at SAPinsider's SCM 2014 conference in Singapore and is also a Solution Principal in the Transportation and Logistics Industry for Westernacher in Asia Pacific and Japan. Joining him is Zhang Wei, is Team Lead for Warehouse Management in China.   


Dominik, Wei, thank you for joining us!                


Dominik Metzger:  Thank you very much James. Hello and a good morning to all of you from Singapore! Thanks a lot for joining us today, from many different countries around the globe.

I am very happy to see the great questions you have already posted. My colleague Wei and I will try and answer as many of your questions as possible.


Wei zhang: Hello Everyone. This is Wei Zhang from Westernacher China. I am EWM team lead for Westernacher China. I have 8+ years experience on EWM/MM/TM/ABAP. I am very happy to be here to help you on EWM and other topics.


James Ciccone: Our readers have already posted a number of questions for you, so we’ll let you respond to those now. 


Comment From Ayyapann Kaaliidos 

For a Manufacturing company, the main focus is on FG Production and the second priority will be to transport them to depots - not complex Transportation like in a Logistics company. Do you think SAP TM is still needed or that SAP SCM-TLB is sufficient? Kindly reason out the main criteria used to derive the conclusion / industry standards used.


Dominik Metzger: A lot of production companies use SAP TM very successfully, even in a simple transportation network. The main criteria is: TM offers key functionalities which neither APO, nor TLB can offer for a shipping company, like a production firm.

For example: Transportation Management allows you to maintain contracts with your transportation providers which can contain both rate and volume information. This enables you to perform a reliable invoice verification and posting of actual transportation charges to accruals and your financials in ERP. SAP TM also offers a comprehensive tendering functionality for both individual shipments and strategic freight contracts.

Another key functionality of TM is the new Load Optimization tool (TM 9.1). It comes with a graphical 3D view and an actual optimization algorithm.

More functionalities of TM vs. APO/TLB are the integration to Event Management to track all of your shipments and the tight interaction with SAP ERP SD and MM.

There is great flexibility to what extend the functionality of TM can be implemented. It is not an ‘all-or-nothing’ decision for the implementation. This allows many of our customers to only implement the components of TM which are most significant to them e.g. Tendering or Charge Management.


Comment From Ayyapann Kaaliidos

SAP TM vs TLB vs TPVS?  And what about SAP TM vs TLB vs TPVS?

Dominik Metzger:  

I saw a lot of questions asking about the differences between SAP TM and TPVS, as well as TLB. Let me summarize this into one answer.

TM (Transportation Management) is SAPs most comprehensive answer for the planning and execution requirements of transportation processes. It is a separate application which is tightly integrated to SAP ERP, SAP EWM and SAP Event Management. TM supports all modes of transport, for various industries, such as shipping companies (retail, consumer products, chemicals, automotive etc.) Freight Forwarders, Ocean Carriers, Trucking Companies or Railways.

TLB (Transport Load Builder) is a functionality, let us call it a component, of SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization. It is mostly used in the Supply Network Planning. TLB offers basic capabilities to consolidate multiple products from e.g. a stock transfer order into means of transport (e.g. a truck). TLB does not have a ‘real’ optimization algorithm, nor a graphical display of the load planning. From my experience, this can be a useful tool for a company which heavily works with SAP APO already to manage their supply and demand networks. SAP TM offers a much more sophisticated load optimization tool since release 9.1.

TPVS (Transport Planning and Vehicle Scheduling) is an optimization engine as part of SAP APO. TPVS has entirely been embedded into SAP TM.


Comment From Pawan 

Do we have any option to download the details we get from the output of /n/spe/cdmon? For example, when we have more than 1 sales order and we need to find the cross docked document numbers, the output of this report is not user friendly to be downloaded.

Wei Zhang: For standard TCD monitor, it's not easy for copy and paste. In case you need some ALV reports to display CD documents relationship, we need to develop add-ons.


Comment From Guest 

What are the steps for integrating between EWM & TM?

Dominik Metzger:  

First of all, let me highlight that only with SAP TM 9.1 and EWM 9.1 a direct integration between the 2 applications is possible. SAP provides a basic integration guide which lists all the steps in details which are required for the integration.

 Some key experience from our side is to ensure that your master data is replicated and shared between ERP to both EWM and TM. This includes your materials master and the organizational structure. Besides pure master data, there is some basic customizing which is required to technically integrate the two systems.


Comment From Pawan 

Is it possible to change the Pallet Qty once the documents (Delivery and Shipment) have moved from ECC to EWM?

Wei Zhang:

Does Pallet Qty mean HU Qty?

If it's, you can actually change quantity for HU in EWM inbound delivery (/SCWM/PRDI).

And the change will update ECC quantity once GR or putaway is posted.


Comment From Guest 

Do you have details on how TM & EWM integrate post release 9.1 on the Supply Chain Execution Platform?

Dominik Metzger:  

This is a very valid question. As highlighted before, the direct TM and EWM integration is only possible with release 9.1 and higher. Before 9.1 the integration is possible via ERP. The main document 'connecting' TM and EWM via ERP is the delivery. A delivery can be created in ERP or suggested as the planning outcome from TM. It is also the delivery which triggers the inbound/outbound processes in EWM.


Comment From Anju 

How does SAP handle fuel rate fluctuations in Transportation Module / EWM?

Dominik Metzger:  

Let me tackle this question from two angles.

Firstly, using fuel index rates is a common requirement for trucking companies. It is a key parameter to calculate the actual freight charges which have to be paid by a shipping company. SAP TM has a strong component to store such freight rates. It is called Transportation Charge Management. In this comprehensive contract database, you can store fuel index tables. An index table can be filled with the latest published fuel index values. This can either be done manually, via an upload or a direct EDI integration of an external index provider. TM uses the index values to calculate the actual fuel surcharges of the respective day of the shipment.

The second angle to this question is for ocean carriers, where fuel rates - so called Bunker Surcharges can get much more complex. Here we usually use a specific calculation method, which can be enhanced in SAP TM to tailor the functionality to the specific needs.


Comment From Pawan 

How can we implement different checks/validations related to status? Example: If the status of the HU is GR-ZONE, then the system should not allow cross doc. Can this requirement be addressed via configuration or do we need enhancements?

Wei Zhang:

Some of delivery order related validation can be configured. You can check SPRO->Cross-Process Settings->Delivery Processing for details.

In your example, you can actually configure picking strategy, not allowing picking from GR zone (for example, only consider picking from sorting area).


Comment From Guest 

So, how are customers using deliveries and orders to for planning in SAP TM? And what do they do with those results in SAP EWM?

Dominik Metzger:  

Very good question. SAP TM is fully integrated to SAP ERP. In general there are 2 options how TM can work with deliveries.

1) TM can already receive Orders (e.g. Sales Orders or Purchase Orders) to plan the possible transportation. The key advantage is you can plan the transport requirements very early to ensure cheap rates with transportation providers. TM can generate a delivery proposal which then actually generates deliveries in ERP.

2) You don't plan the transportation based on orders, but you directly create your deliveries in ERP. Similarly, the deliveries are transferred to TM to perform a detailed planning, consolidation and load optimization.

Even a third scenario is possible where you first do a rough planning based on orders which is lateron consumed by the detailed planning result based on deliveries.

The deliveries are consolidated in TM Freight Orders, which can be compared to an ERP shipment. The freight order represents e.g. one truck which is performing a transportation run. This is the key integration point to EWM, where an ASN is generated and according inbound/outbound deliveries to prepare the warehouse processes and staff accordingly.

Let me also highlight in general that the TM-ERP integration for deliveries and orders is highly flexible. If you are an existing SAP ERP customer, the TM solution can be tailored accordingly to 'fit into the picture'. If you are a new customer to SAP ERP, we usually give our recommendation for the best solution architecture depending on your main business pain-points.


Comment From PAWAN

With EWM, once the Inbound delivery is received and unloading done (warehouse task are created and confirmed in the background), is it possible to reverse or remove the Inbound Delivery from EWM?

Wei Zhang: For simple unloading (without WT), you can easily reverse on /SCWM/PRDI.

For complex unloading, if WT is confirmed, you cannot cancel it any more.

Instead, I would suggest you manually create WT to move HU from GR-ZONE (for example) to TU, delete HU, and reset all the related status to initial. After that, you can change quantity to zero or reject inbound delivery.

I will follow it up since I only used complex loading and simple unloading so far.

Please also verify my suggestion in your system and let me know it works or not.


Comment From Guest

What information is flowing back into ERP after deliveries are consolidated?

Dominik Metzger: The core process follows a few key steps. Let me highlight these steps but refer back to my earlier point: This is one out of many possibilities how to utilize the TM-ERP integration: An ERP Order is replicated to TM. TM plans the transportation and suggests deliveries in a proposal. A user can choose to accept the proposal which automatically generates the ERP deliveries. Once the deliveries are fine-tuned and potentially updated in ERP, you can run the TM optimization again, based on the more precise and updated deliveries. TM will suggest the detailed transportation route, the optimal carrier to use by considering a multitude of constraints and scheduling aspects. From this point you have 2 key options:

1) You can either continue working in TM e.g. to calculate the charges of the different execution documents in TM and use all the strong functionalities of SAP TM Charge Management. You can perform the track & trace with TM/EM and integrate the invoice documents back to ERP which will trigger a Service PO and Service Entry Sheet for Accruals posting automatically.

2) As a second option, you can choose to work with ERP shipments. Since TM has more sophisticated functionalities than the ERP Logistics Execution Module, we recommend continuing the execution with TM. In case you already have an existing ERP system and already use Shipments as part of ERP LE-TRA (Logistics Execution and Transport) it can make sense to use this second option to maximize your existing implementation


Comment From Konstantin

If we want consider the real warehouse capacity in EWM (number of available gates, working shifts) during the transportation planning process in TM what should we do and how can achieve it?

Dominik Metzger: This is an excellent question.

Real warehouse capacities can have a huge impact on the planning of a transportation process. Why? Because if there is a bottle-neck in the available warehouse gates, and a queue of trucks is building-up, this obviously impacts our planning results and whether we will deliver or receive our goods in time. In TM there are various options how to reflect capacities. In each location (e.g. a warehouse) you can define loading/unloading gates which will serve as a planning constraint. Also the loading/unloading times can be considered in TM.

On the EWM 9.1 side, a very new functionality called DAS (Dock Appointment Scheduling) allows you to efficiently manage your warehouse gates. The new EWM labour management allows you to pro-actively plan your shifts and labour based on warehouse tasks and peaks.

Where we expect further improvements in the future roadmap of SAP is to have a more tight integration of such functionalities between EWM and TM. It is already possible for example to use the detailed TM planning results in the EWM wave management for an outbound process.

Wei Zhang: For DAS, it's web-based and accessible externally. Usually a carrier or vendor can appoint gates from this platform via webpage, mobile and tablet.


Comment From Guest

How will TM planning results then be viewed or appear in EWM?

Dominik Metzger: The TM Planning will generate a proposal of exact timelines (e.g. departure/arrive time, load begin/end), and the detailed load (e.g. deliveries) on a truck. This execution document triggers the ASN in EWM.

This means the detailed TM planning helps to give the best and most accurate expected arrival/departure time of a truck to the warehouse. But do remember that TM Planning delivers 'suggestions', e.g., of a load plan. This suggested load plan is made available in EWM for the outbound process.

During the loading of the truck or trailer in the warehouse, it is now possible to reply the feedback to TM in case the load plan cannot be met, e.g., based on some physical constraints. TM will then give you the option to re-plan the remaining pallets or goods which didn't fit into a vehicle. Furthermore the detailed planning results allow you to maximize your waves in the warehouse picking and outbound process.


Comment From Naveen

How are Material classification and Characteristics transferred to EWM? What are the settings required in EWM prior to transfer?

Wei Zhang: You can use standard CIF interface (CFM1/CFM2) to transfer class, characteristics and batch from ECC to EWM.

1) Batch level in ECC needs to be defined on material level. So far standard ECC & EWM integration does not support batch on plant level.

If your batch on plant level, you need to convert it to material level and then integrate with EWM via CIF.

2) You need also check MCHA and /SAPAPO/VERSKY map to the same organizational area so that CIF for class can be executed.


Comment From PAWAN

Is RFUI scanning possible with SAP TM?

Dominik Metzger: RFUI scanning is usually a task which is primarily performed in EWM.

Wei Zhang: EWM provides a framework and templates which include processes from inbound (unloading, putaway), internal (physical inventory, replenishment and etc.), outbound (Picking, packing, loading).


James Ciccone: Thank you to everyone who joined us for today’s chat.   We’ll wrap up the Q&A now, as Dominik and Wei finish answering the remaining questions.  


Dominik Metzger: Thank you very much James for hosting this very interesting session today. A big thanks to all of you who joined us today for some fantastic questions.

In case you want to contact me individually, feel free to drop me an e-mail with your more detailed questions to

Thanks a lot!

Wei Zhang: Thanks for all your questions.

If you have any other questions about EWM & TM, please mail me to, I am very happy to answer.

James Ciccone: Thank you, Dominik and Wei, for joining us today and in Singapore. 

Learn more about TM in this recent article from SCM Expert, the most trusted online resource for SAP SCM and logistics systems users.


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