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Scenario building can be time consuming. Scenario validation, especially for a transportation optimization, even more. Did I setup all elements of the transportation network correctly to enable the optimizer to find a valid solution? I guess most of the TM consultants have faced this issue already. Usually the optimizer reacts with a not delivered freight unit, more or less meaningfull messages, and now it is up to the planner / consultant to figure out where the issue is. There is already help when using the optimizer explanation tool, which displays the input / output of the planning run nicely.

My goal for TM 9.0 was to make it convenient to figure out if the network is the problem or other planning relevant settings (Of course there are many more rules that could prevent a freight unit from being planned). Also I wanted to make transportation options more visible to better answer questions like: Why did the optimizer plan a solution using this hub?

With SAP TM 9.0 it is now possible to use the new feature (Transportation Network) Path Finder. The feature is mainly addressed for consultants and error finding, but also available for end users. If you have followed my Monday Knowledge Snippets, you will now see a function bringing a lot of the explained elements together.

The tool can be accessed for each Freight Unit displayed in the Optimizer Explanation Tool (TA rcc_log), directly as a report (/SCMTMS/FIND_TN_PATH), or via the Geo-Map application Transportation Network Cockpit.

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Path Finder report entry screen – /SCMTMS/FIND_TN_PATH

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Path Finder report result screen

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Transportation Network Cockpit – Find Connections

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Transportation Network Cockpit – Find Connections

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Optimizer Explanation Tool – Access to Path Finder

The required input for the tool is a start and a destination location. It will try to find all paths using assigned Transshipment Locations and existing connections (transportation lanes, schedules, booking). The result will be displayed indicating for each stage of a path if there is a valid connection or not (all existing will be listed). This way it is for example easy to find out, that you have assigned a Transshipment Location, but it can not be reached from you start. Maybe you have missed to create a lane?

The report itself offers a few more options (How often shall it be possible to transship? Is there a prefered Transshipment Location?), while the Optimizer Explanation Tool and the GeoMap use default values. On the Geo-Map it is very transparent when there is a missing connection.

The feature has currently some limitations: For example it is not possible to search within a certain timeframe and respect the validity of the connections. Also Transportation Mode / Means-of-Transport filters are not available. I general I could come up with at least 10 more valuable features and I am sure a SAP TM consultant would add a few more. But from my perspective it is a step forward, a great use case for the Geo-Map, and a big help when validating a scenario.

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