Recently, Novigo co-sponsored the International SAP Conference for Transportation and Logistics 2012 that took place in St. Leon-Rot near Walldorf, Germany (SAP's headquarter). Next to being the second largest location of SAP in Germany, St. Leon-Rot might be most famous for its Golf Club which co-hosted the Deutsche Bank- SAP Open from 1999-2004 on a bi-yearly basis. Tiger Woods in his prime years won this tournament in 1999, 2001 and 2002 attracting major crowds.
SAP Industry Business Unit lead and Event Host Till Dengel can leave this event in a really good state of mind. With the release-to-customer of SAP TM 9.0, SAP has reached a breakthrough for the non-asset based Logistics Service Provider industry. SAP TM customers Artoni, DHL, Canadian Pacific and Linfox all talked about their specific project experiences from different vantage points. When attendees see CIO's of major industry players like DHL and Linfox on stage you can't help but notice. The overall atmosphere at the event was a mixture of excitement and anticipation which stems from the fact that SAP Transportation Management 9.0 now represents a comprehensive solution footprint for the forwarding industry. The significant addition of the Air Forwarding scenario to SAP TM 9.0 completes the major requirements of the Forwarding Industry around Road, Ocean and Air processes. Of course work remains to fill up the feature list, however the highly flexible architecture of TM in general, future releases and the SAP ecosystem will be able to take care of this in the near-term future.
It is impressive to see how SAP development is picking up speed. On the surface the feature and process delta between SAP TM 8.1 and SAP TM 9.0 seems significantly higher than that of TM 8.0 and TM 8.1. It means that SAP is spending less time on foundational topics and can focus more and more on content that adds life to the solution. Shippers will gladly notice that TM 9.0 features 2 very important additions â€“ Cost Distribution and a first TM-EWM integration scenario. The latter kick-starting the Supply Chain Execution Platform â€“ which we already mentioned in earlier blogs. We will blog about these shippers topics in future postings.
Sylvia Steimann - CIO, DHL Global Forwarding/Freight - used Friday's keynote to outline an ambitious project with the intent to create a 'New Forwarding Environment' (NFE). The world's leading Air Forwarder will use SAP CRM, SAP TM 9.0 and SAP Event Management to prepare for the future. In an honest self-assessment she acknowledged how something that is 'good today' will not be 'good anymore' in about 5 years. The NFE initiative aims to turn 'good to great'. Especially the prospect of combining CRM sales force functionality with best-in-class transportation management features is most intriguing for this industry segment - today no software vendor has a market share exceeding 5%. SAP's clear goal is to take advantage of this highly disparate software market. With SAP TM 9.0 the journey officially has begun.
Transportation Management by definition is a global solution - only SAP has the unique capability to bring such a diverse group of customers together from all parts of this world and also from many different industry segments. SAP organized the event around 3 break-outs - Service Providers, Rail and Airlines. Rail carriers like Canadian Pacific, Canadian National or Austrian Railroads discussed how new technology like Mobile, Cloud and in-memory will allow them to re-invent their respective supply and value chains. It was enlightening to see how today's executives are concerning themselves with tomorrow's workforce that is growing up with Social Media and Mobile Devices in an 'App' driven world.
SAP itself used the opportunity to provide glimpses of SAP Transportation Management 9.0 in a variety of product demonstrations and teasers. Air Freight by nature deals with unique challenges around Security and the express-like services that is offers. Creating Export documentation in the origin country is the first step but turning around and having the Import documentation readily available in the destination country is another challenge given the relatively short transport times. TM 9.0 completes the scope to allow service providers the handling of goods on both sides of the transport chain.
In attendance were also a new breed of TM users or stakeholders. TM 9.0 enters the world of Productization of Logistics services via the concept of Service Items. It allows LSP's to tailor services for the clients and reflect them in TM processes. Next to regular transport services, TM users can now offer auxiliary services like Insurance, Cleaning or Customs Handling to their respective clients. TM will consider these services in order entry, scheduling and freight costing or document printing processes.
More importantly the Productization of Logistics Service opens the door to CRM applications. In scope for future releases, the sales force of LSP's will be able to consume services in TM to calculate potential offers during the sales and acquisition process. The Business Suite approach of SAP can make this happen.
Novigo, with already on-going TM deployments in the LSP's industry, will not sit on the sideline when it comes to SAP TM 9.0 â€“ we are looking forward to using the software actively in our demonstration environment and help SAP to roll-out this break-through release to the market.