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SAP S/4HANA embedded Transportation Management

Transport management with S/4HANA: faster, more efficient, more flexible

Transparency from the order through to proof of delivery, with everything highly performant and legally secure: An as SAP solution for the organization, planning and processing of transports, SAP S/4HANA Transportation Management is your key to mastering this balancing act. It is also the successor to the LE-TRA solution. This leaves many companies asking what the differences are, and whether it makes sense to switch to the new solution. Mercoline is happy to help in your search for answers...

Embedded TM vs. LE-TRA

In pursuing the idea of reintegrating stand-alone solutions into the ERP system, the release of SAP S/4HANA 1709 (September 2017) signaled the integration of the SAP TM functionalities and the designation of embedded Transportation Management (eTM) as a component of the so-called digital core. Since the range of SAP TM functions exceeds that of LE-TRA and also requires a license, eTM can be used in two versions: Basic Shipping provides transport functions like those available in LE-TRA and that are part of the standard scope of an S/4HANA Enterprise Management license. Building on this, Professional Shipping contains all of the functionalities of Basic Shipping and additionally provides the comparable functions of SAP TM. The TM component is to be arranged in the Supply Chain Execution Platform which can be seen as a counterpart to Logistics Execution in SAP ERP.

Basic Shipping or Professional Shipping?

Those who have previously used LE-TRA for their transport activities up until now will fundamentally be fine with the functional scope of Basic Shipping, since it is designed as the direct follow-up solution to LE-TRA. However, if the Basic Shipping functional range is inadequate for the optimum depiction of your company’s processes, you can choose Professional Shipping.

FunctionBasicProfessional

Locations

XX

Transport zones

XX

Transport routes

XX

Standard routes

XX

Timetables

 X

Administration of freight agreements

XX

Administration of shipping company agreements

 X

Service product catalog

 X

Freight units formation

Delivery-based

Order-based
Delivery-based

Multi-modal transports

XX

Shipping order

 X

Selection profiles

XX

Planning profiles

XX

Shipper selection

Manual

Manual
Automatic

Incompatibilities

 X

Automatic load planning

 X

3D loading space planning

 X

VSR optimizer

 X

Subcontracting

XX

Bid tenders

XX

Deliveries update

XX

Hazardous materials management

XX

Cost calculation

XX

Freight invoicing (basic)

XX

Integration of GTS, CRM, EM, EWM

 X

Integration of Logistics Business Network (LBN)

XX

Analytics and reporting - BW

XX

Analytics and reporting - via CDS

 X

LE-TRA and Basic Shipping

You usually don’t have to decide whether to use embedded TM. This is because the components of Logistics Execution, and therefore those of LE-TRA, are available in S/4 systems, but only in terms of Compatibility Scopes. This means that until Dec. 31st, 2030 general servicing is to be conducted by SAP. So users deploying LE-TRA have to answer two questions.

  1. Is the functional scope of Basic Shipping sufficient?
  2. When should we make the switch?

How the transport processes are to be implemented in Basic Shipping must be established if you are looking to convert from LE-TRA to Basic Shipping.

Scheduling and disposition

While with LE-TRA it is the shipping document that serves as the cornerstone of scheduling and disposition, with Basic Shipping the freight order fills this role. This is joined by yet another document, the freight unit. Based on deliveries, this document is created with the aid of configurable freight unit formation regulations and then allocated to the freight order. Like in the shipping document, it is possible in the freight order to schedule dates, to document the time of the order’s execution, to plan segments, to assign subcontractors and to calculate freights.

Invoicing

Basic Shipping uses the freight invoice document for billing the calculated costs. As accustomed with LE-TRA, Basic Shipping also provides for integration into SAP FI/CO in the incoming invoices in the MIRO related to the freight order to be logged and posted.

Cross-delivery packing

Cross-delivery packing in LE-TRA makes it possible to consolidate several deliveries in a single shipping document and to form one handling unit for the shipping document. In Basic Shipping there are two ways to depict this. It is possible to implement this within the framework of the freight units consolidation, or by manually entering packages into the freight order.

Process comparison - LE-TRA and Basic Shipping

The freight unit

While the freight order is comparable with the shipping document, the freight unit represents a new object in the TM process. From the TM perspective, this is the smallest plan-able, transportable object. Freight units can feature different granularities depending on the business scenario. For example, if three large industrial machines are to be transported, it is possible to create a freight unit for each of the machines in order to be able to plan each transport individually. If however two chairs are to be shipped out that can also be packed in a single carton, then it makes sense to plan the two chairs in one freight unit.

Freight units cannot be created manually. A preceding document is always required for their creation, and the freight unit is the result of freight unit formation regulations. These rules are configurable and make things possible such as the establishment of freight unit types, whether splitting is permitted and the corresponding split criteria, as well as the determination of the granularity that is influenced by the strategy. The allocation of freight units to freight orders is influenced by what are known as hard constraints. These include the source location and the delivery date. If two or more segments are formed for one freight unit, they can be allocated as needed to two or more freight orders. Inversely, one freight order can include numerous freight units according to its capacity.

Working with Embedded TM

Embedded TM users must also leave behind portions of SAP GUI that characterize the ECC. While customizing and the definition of the transport network are still feasible in this user interface, things like the depiction of freight units or the creation of freight orders are not. Either the Netweaver Business Client (NWBC) or the Fiori Launchpad must be used for this. However, there is no optical or functional difference between the two, since the Fiori apps specific to TM have been Web Dynpro based applications up until now rather than native applications.

Switching to SAP eTM: Greenfield with great potential

There is unfortunately no migration tool from SAP at present to convert to Embedded TM, and according to the latest info there are currently no plans for one. This is understandable to a certain extent since LE-TRA usage scenarios can be depicted with Basic Shipping, but the system-side process has changed. As such, the so-called Greenfield approach must be used. While this requires more effort, this approach also offers the potential to analyze one’s own processes and improve them.

With its less expansive functional scope, the implementation of Basic Shipping requires less effort than with Professional Shipping, and it essentially encompasses the following points:

Integration of
TM functionalities

Definition of
conditions (optional)

Definition of
TM documents

Definition of the
transport network

Definition of
freight unit formation regulations

Business
partners

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