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SAP offers standard solutions for outbound logistics, where transportation can be handled by outbound shipments. Similarly, for inbound logistics operations, we have inbound deliveries and inbound shipments. The question becomes – what happens if we want to combine the two together?

The real life scenario is following:

Company A has wide supply chains for outbound shipments, where many customers are buying its finished products. On the other hand, there are lots of material suppliers delivering raw and pack materials.
In many situations it is beneficial that material suppliers are not responsible for delivering products to our company A. Instead, company A can negotiate much better freight rates with its hauliers, who also operate on outbound logistics lanes.

Now, the real ‘beauty’ comes with the following requirement:

Let’s say there is
– material supplier ZZZ that is located in city XX.
– In the same city XX there is distribution center 1111 of our company A.

Both want to deliver products to city YY where there are:

– customer for company A
– production plant 2222 of company A

So from transportation perspective we talk about 2 tranportation demands between cities XX and YY. 

– for material supplier scenario it is logistics purchasing process, where goods are delivered via inbound deliveries and inbound shipments

– for sales scenario it is outbound logistics operations with outbound deliveries and shipments.

But what should we do if we want to send both in the same truck??

Theoretically we should create only single SAP shipment. Any other ‘transportation chain’ operations which link 2 shipments together will not reflect reality. Not to mention reporting, layouts etc.

But SAP does not allow creating ‘outbound’ shipments for inbound deliveries and vice versa. This is treated as totally separate scenarios, which by definition cannot be consolidated into one equipment. 

As usually the real life by far exceeds technical constraints…

If you expect me to provide a definite answer what is the best solution for the above scenario, then I’d say SAP should allow such consolidations. Eg. by creating special shipment category that would allow such option. Or to have it indicated in one of the shipment type attributes. 

Otherwise we need to go for crazy workarounds by linking 2 shipments together. 


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