Today I would like to give a short insight into the new TM 9.1 load planning functionality. A hot topic for sure.
SAP TM offers with its planning functionality in the area of routing (building tours), scheduling and carrier selection already a set of very valuable tools to create reasonable transportation plans and reduce transportation cost. The routing already included weight and dimension restrictions and also comes with powerful incompatibility definition options to steer the optimization results. Nevertheless, when it comes to especially truck planning, more rules apply to fulfill legal restrictions. For example certain axle loads may not be exceeded. In addition, a certain loading sequence of the goods to be transported does further optimize the transportation plan. Generally spoken, load planning deals with loading the goods to be transported in an optimized manner into a transportation unit, may it be a truck, trailer, container or whatever resource.
Previous SAP TM releases did not offer any functionality in this area and it was required to integrate third-party products.
Load Planning Settings
With SAP TM 9.1, a new optimzation profile has been attached to the planning profile. It can be found next to the other profiles in the area of application administration -> planning.
Load Planning Settings – Application Administration
Basically, the profile defines a process controller strategy (see here). This strategy defines a sequence of methods to be executed for the load planning and enables a flexible combination of standard and custom logic. Next to the strategy, it is possible to define a set of rules to be applied when optimizing the load. The rules can be given a priority, deactivated to test the planning with a different rule set, and adjusted with certain attributes. SAP TM 9.1 comes with a already great set of planning rules and for sure this rule set will grow as we see a lot of different planning requirements for LP.
Load Planning Settings
This LP profile is as mentioned attached to a planning profile.
Load Planning Settings in Planning Profile
As it is possible to start the transportation cockpit for planning with a defined planning profile, it is possible to define also the LP settings for each planning run. As an alternative, a planning profile can be attached to the Freight Order type. Hereby you can use different LP strategies for different Freight Orders (for example depending on the transportation mode or country specific requirements).
The LP function is integrated into the Freight Order itself and into the Transportation Cockpit.
Load Planning in Freight Order
Load Planning in Transportation Cockpit
The result of a Load Planning [considering the items of the Freight Order (including times, weights, dimensions, and many other attributes) and the assigned resource(s)] is first of all a Load Plan. This load plan includes information if items can not be loaded, on the loading sequence, and exact position on the vehicle. Next to the load plan, a load distribution is available for each axle and the complete vehicle. This may be used as document that the load plan fulfills legal requirements. An additional tab holds statistical indicators (used volume, area, and so on).
As pictures speak loader than words and numbers, all of this information is also displayed in a 3-D model. This view is generated by SAP Visual Business (check this out) and brings a highly interactive scene for the planner to understand the result of the planning. Any information is color coded, like for example the weight distribution on axles.
As always, flexible information and functions can be attached to each object. Focus as always for any SAP VB integration within the T&L application is enhanceability to get partners on board and enable customer specific scenarios.
Of course as for all SAP TM planning functions an explanation tool is available.
As this is our first step into this topic, we are very closely working together with selected customers to bring the function up-to-speed as quick as possible. There is a lot more on the road map that will bring value to the application.
So much more to say… Check out the ramp-up material and the TM 9.1 application documentation. If there is interest I could spend another MKS on the details.