New features and functionalities in S/4HANA TM
Transportation plays a very important role in today’s supply chain process. To plan a freight movement across the entire transportation network SAP roadmap is to use SAP transportation management as the core module. SAP TM primary function is not only to plan to ship the goods across multiple modes of transport, but it also effectively handles the different ways to handle the transportation requirement/demand from SAP/3rd party legacy application – along with freight charge calculation and monitoring/evaluating the various milestones of the shipment process.
Thus, to summarise, SAP has 5 different pillars/components:
a) Order Management: This component deals with handling transportation requirement/demand from ERP process (like order/delivery) for shipper scenario and forwarding order for LSP/Freight forwarder scenario.
b) Transportation planning: The objective is to plan the cargo movement with specific resources and the planning can either happen manually or automatically, keeping in mind various constraints and business rules. The output of planning is to create a freight document (aka shipment document).
c) Transportation execution: This component deals with monitoring and execution of the transportation process and thus tracking and tracing is an important milestone of this component.
d) Transportation charge management: The entire transportation cost for the freight movement performed by the carrier needs to be determined so that the carrier can be paid based on the services performed by them to deliver the goods from the source location to the destination location.
e) Freight settlement: This document is also called the draft invoice and is the connecting link between TM and ERP for processing the payment to be made to the carrier by Finance. As invoicing happens by 3-way match in standard SAP ERP, hence the posting of freight settlement leads to the creation of a service PO and service entry sheet followed by an invoice verification process. Thus the accounts payable team can then clear the liability to pay the carrier.
This blog will highlight the various new functionalities which have been released by SAP in SAP TM S/4HANA 2020. As for the readers considering the end of LE-TRA maintenance by 2027, it is important to know the various functionalities which are released in SAP TM so that accordingly the client and the consultants can design the correct solution for transportation across various lines of business.
New Functionalities in TM- S4HANA2020
a) Business Object: Resource
New functionality – Loading Direction profile has been added under the below enclosed SPRO node. For proper transportation planning and load consolidation scenarios it is required that specific direction is to be maintained in resource for proper loading and unloading of cargo in the resource and so it is used at both locations and resource master.
The below enclosed screenshot highlights the different data element to be maintained for setting up the loading direction profile. The cargo can be loaded either in back, top and during loading in the sideways users need to select either load right/left.
b) Business Object: Resource
New functionality – Vehicle Loading profile has been added under the enclosed SPRO node as specified in figure-1. This functionality helps the transportation planner/optimiser to consider the loading constraints/restrictions of the vehicle while planning a cargo. The below screenshot shows the different attributes that can be maintained for vehicle loading profile such as i) Equipment type/group – here dimensions of weight and volume of equipment is considered during planning ii) Loading equipment outside cargo space – the volume consideration of the equipment can be ignored during load planning in case loading equipment is placed outside cargo space (and thus no consumption of space happens in this case).
c) Business Object: Resource
New functionality – Attached Equipment profile has been added under the below enclosed SPRO node as specified in figure-1. The availability and requirement of an equipment is specified under this configuration object. The below enclosed screenshot depicts the maintenance of data while configuring the attached equipment profile where equipment category needs to be maintained as it represents one piece of attached equipment. This functionality is considered again during planning operations while considering compatibility between location attached equipment profile with resource attached equipment profile.
The above configuration objects for resources can be viewed in the below enclosed field in resource master.
d) Business Process: Charge calculation
New functionality – Location calendar has been introduced and is available under Basic settings for charge calculation process in SAP TM for a specific country and region along with factory calendar ID.
Thus, when charge calculation is performed in the corresponding freight documents, the system validates the location and factory calendar and accordingly determines if the day is a working day or non-working day. Therefore if transportation services need to be provided on a non-working day, the shipper can demand an additional charge for the services rendered on these days. Below are the different data to be maintained for this configuration object.
e) Business Object: Freight order
New functionality – Handling of incorrect inbound messages has been introduced. This functionality will help the business user to analyse how errors are handled in SAP TM business subject for freight documents specific to inbound. In case the selection criteria are specified as default, there will be no change in the business document since in that case it is considered as a rejection. However, if the selection of the message is set to -Enable saving of documents with error, then the business document is created or changed based on the message data. Although the incoming message data may be an error message due to certain missing master data or missing assignment of predecessor documents.
f) Business Object: Freight order/Freight Booking/Service order
New functionality – Subcontracting checks has been introduced in various freight documents like freight order/freight booking/service order. This field provides a validation/check rule once the freight document is ready to be subcontracted to the carrier. In case the option-Basic additional checks are selected in the freight document type, the system validates if procuring company code, purchase organisation and purchasing group data is maintained in the freight documents. In case these field values are missing, the subcontracting process cannot be triggered for the specific carriers.
g) Business Object: Freight order type
New functionality-Define Consignment Order Types has been introduced as a new freight order type and also we have a new POWL/Worklist introduced for such types of order.
With various releases in SAP TM in S/4 it’s very important for the business and the consultants to have a preview of the new functionalities and features which have been introduced. This blog has initially focussed on the various changes related to master data and freight documents in SAP TM. Please check out my next series of blogs where I will continue to focus on the charge management and settlement new features which have been introduced in S/4 TM 2020.
Author: Indraneel Mukherjee – Solution Architect – S/4 HANA 1709/1809/1909 – SAP TM, EM, MM, LE
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