I recently attended the first TM Customer Network meeting, held in October 18-19th at the SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. The event provided an opportunity for SAP Transportation Management customers to network and interact with each other and with key SAP stakeholders. In total there were 31 delegates from companies currently deploying SAP TM and there were delegates from SAP Product and Solution Management, Solution Marketing, SAP, Services, the Industries, and Field Enablement. During the event, SAP representatives updated customers on the product roadmap and plans, and touched on specific topics like mobility, reporting and analytics in the context of transportation management processes. Attendees got to hear about 2 new mobility apps associated to SAP TM (more on these apps in a future blog).
In my opinion, the most interesting part of the meeting was the customer presentations session. Each of the 18 companies represented updated the group on their current projects, plans and status. Most of them had prepared detailed presentations and had specific questions and learnings to share with the group.
There were delegates representing customers coming from every corner of the world. For example, delegates from Cargill and Owens Corning came from America; IATCO/Abudawood came from the Middle East; the Ministry of Defense of the Netherlands and Artoni came from Europe; and Linfox came from Asia Pacific. All of these companies have publicly acknowledged that they are implementing SAP TM and some have presented at SAPPHIRE, SCM Logistics Singapore or other events.
After listening to their updates and summaries, I drew some interesting conclusions:
1) there are no 2 customers that use SAP TM in exactly the same way. All projects vary widely in how they use the product and the process enabled, which attests to the flexibility and richness of the configuration options available.
2) Almost all customers use the SAP Event Management functionality embedded in their SAP TM solution. Initially portrayed as an option, the pervasive use of SAP Event Management is proving its worth as a key visibility and exception management tool.
A 3rd and more important conclusion is that the SAP Transportation Management 8.0 product – which was just launched in June this year– is already providing value to many SAP customers and there is an excellent environment of collaboration between SAP and its customers. Given the variety of industries and geographies represented and the leadership position enjoyed by the SAP TM customers in their respective industries, there is little doubt that the SAP TM family will continue to grow rapidly as others discover it.