You need to quickly prepare a sales demo for SAP TM? Or discuss a business scenario with experts? Something visual and easy to understand?
That can be a challenge. Okay, for the visual part you can use the Geo-Map component SAP Visual Business integrated into SAP TM since the 8.0 release. But still it was required to first maintain locations as master data. But where to get good coordinates from? It’s just a demo system with no GIS connected! Okay, open the browser, check the internet, create locations one at a time, enter the coordinates manually, check it on the TM Geo-Map. That takes time! Why can’t you simply click on the TM Geo-Map where you want the location to be and create it there?
With SAP TM 9.0 and the refreshed SAP Visual Business 2.0 component you can! Simply open the Transportation Network Cockpit under Master Data, zoom to the spot where you want to create the location, right-click on the map, and select the function ‘Create Location’ from the context menu. A window comes up asking you for a location ID, a description, a type, and a country. Done. The location is created (if your input was good enough though…) and immediately displayed. When right clicking the location, you can select the function ‘Show Details’ and the standard master data location maintenance opens. Here you can see everything you have already entered plus the coordinates. You can now maintain everything that you need here. By the way, you can navigate this way into each object (zone, schedule, …) from the Transportation Network Cockpit. Since I am not a fan of searching menus for different transactions, I never use something else when checking the network. Everything at hand, visualized and connected.
Now you have the foundation for your scenario and can create what you require to make it complete (lanes, schedules). This is unfortunately not yet possible in the TNC. For example I could imagine a drag&drop logic to connect 2 locations having a popup asking what you want to create. If there will be enough people asking for this, it might come. 🙂 One obvious next step for the location creation is to make the entry of the country information obsolete as this is given by the coordinates.
But since the location coordinates are now accurate, everything based on this (distances, durations, planning) will have a demo-ready quality.
Of course pre-requisite is to have SAP Visual Business 2.0 installed and the Geo-Map activated for SAP TM. But who would run such a geographical business without a visualization?
I once did a test to compare the ‘old’ and ‘new’ way to create a scenario, and it save a lot of time. Try it out. Here is a scenario in Canada:
Transportation Network Cockpit – Menu
Transportation Network Cockpit – Start Screen
Create Location – Context Menu function
Create Location – Popup
Create Location – Display
Create Location – Show Details
Complete Scenario – Overview
Complete Scenario – Details
Will there be many standard TM users sitting around and creating locations on the Geo-Map? Most likely not as the Network is build automatically. Does it support the setup phase? I think yes. What do you think?