With the release of SAP TM 9.1 SAP delivered standard functionalities for container planning and booking of container space at an ocean carrier. As the overall booking and visibility process for multimodal shipping with SAP TM for Ocean has been introduced already with SAP TM 8.0, the depth and sustainability of the ocean logistics process definitely benefited with each release as SAP kept working with multiple leading Ocean Liner Companies and Freight Forwarding Service Providers around the globe. At the same time, large shippers, even collaborating with the same logistics partners, are also implementing SAP Transportation Management for International Logistics and the interesting learnings of such a collaborative and agile solution, real time processing really comes to a different level on a process level.
Some customers operate in different models, where often forecast of expected future demands for import and export will help to determine and negotiate allocations and capacity with their freight forwarders or ocean carriers in advance, and processing and planning against those pre-booked, reserved allotments will drive loading, container provisioning in a more push approach. An alternate approach often is to consolidate containers in an optimal way, often for one destination or even customer, and only the result of the planning will be subject for planning of a multimodal transportation chain, or even simply just outsourcing of the end to end service to a freight forwarder. So Pre-Booking vs. Intermodal optimization for FTL Containers can be quite different - or even processed in one overall planning run with SAP TM.
Beyond the need for a connected and dynamic process solution, the functional level of an international ocean processing solution certainly is a key element for a successful implementation in Ocean logistics. The booking of container space at a ocean carrier can be configured according to the business process and business requirements. So then the question arises, how to support best the optimal configuration of containers in a pre-booking vs. the intermodal planning process. Both is possible and we would like to highlight, using the new Transport Unit feature, the VSR planning capabilities how we implemented SAP TM 9.1 for a large Consumer Product Company.
In case of capacity of the ocean liner is tight, space on a particular voyage can be done before the actual transportation demand is created in the system.
This pre-booking capacity would then get consumed during the actual planning of containers against a particular voyage/booking. This process can then be integrated into a S&OP planning process to ensure the availability of transportation capacity within a mid-term transportation planning process. Certainly SOP as one of the key application in SAP's IBP Integrated Business Planning solution would be an option and potential entry point in the overall scenario.
Now in a second planning step, the containers are planned against the bookings. The departure and arrival times from the freight units are to the transportation units accordingly. With this second planning step the capacity of the booking get consumed via the assigned transportation units. The user can check the utilization of each individual booking directly within the Transportation Cockpit.
If the amount of initial requested/confirmed containers needs to be adjusted based on the actual transportation demand this functionality is also supported.
If the capacity of the ocean liner would not be a bottleneck, then the booking of container space on a particular voyage would be feasible as a result of the planning of containers against schedules/voyages.
How to plan the materials and packages into the container???
Planning of goods (Freight Units) into different ocean container types (Transportation Units) is done within the Transportation Cockpit. With this functionality SAP enables the binding of goods into specific containers. The user is able to see the utilization of space within a particular container.
Even within SAP TM 9.2 this functionality is supported manually via drag and drop of Freight Units into the Container Units. Therefore the empty Transportation Units needs to be created manually as well.
Goal of the SAP TM Implementation is also to decrease the manual workload!!!!
As many customers are looking for automation, we at Novigo developed a solution to utilize the SAP TM Optimizer to support the planning of orders/goods directly into Transportation Units and generate Transportation Units as a result of the Optimizer Planning. For sure the logic to increase the utilization of the specific container capacity by considering configured constraints is ensured. Using the VSR optimizer, but not the brand new Load Optimizer of SAP TM is just a first step, which can be leveraged especially for palletized and standardized products in consumer industries. Combining this process with the load optimizer will give even more options to details the quality also for other industries with a wide variety of package sizes e.g.
…Now what happens if changes to material quantity or dates are happening???
As we all know things can change. Therefore SAP already introduced the “Change Controller” to let SAP TM react on changes. With the enhancement we have done, we also ensured that this standard functionality would apply in case of changes.
This solution we already implemented successfully at one of our customers. Using standard features and components of SAP TM we have delivered a solution that uses Orders from SAP ECC, Optimizes Container Loads and Routing for multimodal transports including pre- and on-carriage, considering schedules, existing bookings, carrier allocations, costs in either an fully automated planning run, or allowing to use the optimizer to first build Containers (Transportation Units) for interactive users, while another planner might optimizes the multimodal plan - all with one product, one solution inbound or outbound.
Please stay tuned to see how we integrated load planning and visit us at SAP Insider in Prague or Las Vegas, where we will demo the process to you at our booth.