It was really interesting to find this article series by Steve Banker from ARC on Viewpoint Logistics this week. Being involved with Customers, especially in the US since 2000, continuous moves had always been one of the key areas of interest. On the down side, I rarely saw it getting implemented as an automated function in companies. It seemed to be too dynamic, too opportunistic to become a standard business rule. Even in SAP APO TP/VS continuous move was a powerful feature, and in SAP ERP (with ERP 4.7 ff) we even introduced an enhancement to the shipment in LES (/nvtcm), which allowed users to monitor and link two or more shipments as a continuous move process. Based on the given information, you had the opportunity in TPVS to re-calculate charges for all 2 or more shipments, as if you would calculate a rate for one quite extensive load or alternatively, just consider a discount to the individual or some of the connected loads.
Steve Banker highlights in his article series the two main scenarios, where you either could take advantage of a well structure planning cycle across your logistics network vs. (in his second article) more opportunistic opportunities, to simply recognize the chance to connect several loads and re-assign to the second move the same carrier, in order to increase his asset utilization and certainly benefit from a possibility to lower the rates in return. In SAP TM you can handle that very straight forward, as you can control which of your carriers might be open to apply continuous move discounts and therefore, it will be worth going the extra mile (effort) to introduce a continuous move opportunity analysis even multiple times a day, dependent on your dynamics in your network certainly. Without even changing or complicating the planning responsibility for regional planners, you simply might want to introduce one global role to run continuous move carrier selection in SAP TM in order to recognize opportunities.
Business rules like load incompatibilities, max distance rules between the last drop and the first pick up location of two potential shipments, time constraints etc. can be simply configured as general rules to evaluate the option on top of your current supply chain strategy in regards of carrier assignments.
For a customer in Italy where the truck is moving starting sunday nights from the north to the south, we realized a strategy for continuous moves, where the planners in the south would recognize during the week the equipment moving towards the south. There was certainly the need to return the equipment towards the end of the week, so the truck’s capacity was used on Wednesdays in the South and then for loads heading back north starting Wednesday nights. Continuous move in TM is integrated with charge management etc. and we utilized the distance determination service DDDS in TM to connect with www.here.com (formerly known as Navteq) to determine and calculate the empty milage between two loads (which had been taken into cost consideration as well).
In the above pictures you can see the overview of the process and in addition below a screen shot of the additionally added charges for empty miles, which were only added, if the freight order in fact was part of a continuous move and empty miles had been applied.