It’s important to understand supply chains, and SAP Business Network for Logistics addresses this by facilitating seamless collaboration and providing advanced insights across the logistics ecosystem.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed and reiterated this urgent need for companies to understand their supply chains in depth. The quick, drastic disruptions to demand for certain goods, as well as the shipping and transport needs, drove stockouts, shortages, and price swings of 1,000x and more in some cases. SAP Business Network for Logistics leverages the power of SAP Business Network to extend other SAP solutions, such as SAP Transportation Management, SAP Corporate Serialization, SAP Yard Logistics, SAP Integrated Business Planning, and SAP S/4HANA, to connect stakeholders across your logistics ecosystem for seamless, digitalized collaboration and advanced insights.
As per the figure below, transportation collaboration enabled by SAP Business Network allows shippers and carriers to manage and collaborate on sales orders, stock transfer orders, returns, outbound deliveries, shipments, and scheduling agreements.
Order collaboration in SAP Business Network for Logistics enables the following:
- Collaborate from end to end for transportation needs; plan externally, leveraging a full contract-to-settlement process, including disputes, across multiple forms of transportation.
- Ease transacting with your logistics service providers; business partners can interact according to their preference and technical ability via a web UI and/or APIs. Supported global standards include ANSI X.12 and UN/EDIFACT, including EDI 204, 990, and 210.
- Consolidated worklists and timely notifications for carriers; read attribute and bulk changes for efficient workflow with email updates for requests.
- Exchange key data along the complete order lifecycle; free-text notes and attachments, such as bill of lading, reference IDs, and mode-specific such as VGM and driver/vessel assignment.
- Automatic updates in your transport management system; out-of-the-box integration with SAP Transportation Management/embedded TM in SAP S/4HANA for freight orders and bookings, as well as public SOAP APIs for custom integration.
- B2B connectivity with digital freight forwarders (Uber Freight and Instafreight), other B2B networks (Descartes), and B2B carriers (CH Robinson).
- Dock appointment scheduling; integration with backend systems for seamless operations, collaborate on appointments, efficient dock and gate management, sharing of master and operational data, master data definition for yard, gates, docking locations, loading points, and capacities.
SAP Business Network Global Track and Trace is another solution area in SAP Business Network for Logistics. Functionality here includes:
- Order fulfillment process tracking and goods in-transit; milestone monitoring and exception management with shipment monitoring
- Milestone monitoring with real-time visibility; geolocation tracking with predictive expected time of arrival across multiple modes of transport
- Receive milestone updates via API or EDI from your logistics service providers
- Inform stakeholders of progress and exceptions via email
- Understand the impact of deviations from plan by viewing the document flow and event correlations
- Flexible and extensible setup with standard apps and templates as well as custom scenarios
- Integrate with your ERP and logistics systems via standard, extractor-based IDocs
SAP Business Network Global Track and Trace allows you to glean advanced insights for order fulfillment and goods in transit, driving collaboration across the network. Having advanced insights into order fulfillment and goods in transit helps you better manage exceptions and disruptions. Enabling early detection allows for mitigation. Stakeholders are informed of progress as well as shipment insights, which can be enriched with real-time geographic location and transport emissions data to make appropriate decisions during the shipping process. These execution insights are combined with performance insights, including dashboards, risk-control analysis, critical deviation detection, carrier performance analysis, and custom analytics. These capabilities apply both to the procurement LoB and the sales LoB sides of the business, as shown in this figure.
Editor’s note: This post has been adapted from a section of the book Sourcing and Procurement with SAP S/4HANA by Justin Ashlock.