As previewed in MKS90, SAP Transportation Management 9.6 introduces with the Package Unit (PU) a new business document to cover multi stage planning with packaging information. It represents 1 or multiple packages to be transported together across multiple stages (capacity documents). Example would be a pallet consolidated in a delivery warehouse, transported on a big line-haul truck to a region (first capacity document), and then delivered to the customer using a smaller delivery truck (second capacity document).
Semantically, a PU is seen in TM as fixed packaging without further consolidation potential during capacity document based consolidation package building. It can be created:
- During Freight Unit Building: All items of a single order will be packaged and represent a fixed packaging as PU. To do this, the target document type can be set to PU in the FUB. This is similar to the already existing process with a persisted package item hierarchy in Freight Units, but semantically more explicit.
- After Delivery Tour Planning: In the above described outbound process, the delivery tour planning comes first. The package building settings together with the routing decisions determine how the packages / pallets look like and are planned onto the delivery truck. As soon as this planning is done, the planner can finalize the capacity documents. In case the delivery tours require a line haul because they happen in a region (determined by applying a default route when creating the Freight Units), Package Units can now be created / extracted out of the capacity documents.
From a planning process point of view, a delivery tour planner can plan based on Freight Units (representing consolidation potential when creating mixed packages / pallets) and Package Units (already fixed packaging). A line-haul planner typically only sees Package Units.
A PU is a Transportation Unit and can serve as capacity (Freight Units can be assigned to it) and demand (it can be assigned to freight orders / bookings and container / trailer / railcar units).
Stage Sequence Types / Sub-Stops
One important aspect of PUs is the stage sequence type. When creating a PU and planning to it, it might not be determined yet how the sequence of the delivery stops is handled. So far TM documents require strict stop sequences, but for the PU this has to be more flexible. So the following stage sequence types exist:
A) Defined and linear
B) Linear with distribution:
- One or multiple linear stages, followed by one distribution stage
- The distribution stage can contain multiple destination locations („sub-stops“). The sequence of the sub-stops is undefined.
- The stop sequence is defined when assigning the distribution stage to a road freight order.
So far SAP TM is pretty strict: As soon as a Freight Unit is assigned to multiple capacity documents on the same stage, it needs to be split. With the new planning process this would lead to a high number of Freight Units, that in the end would still be transported completely together through the whole transportation chain.
Example: Items of a single Freight Unit are assigned to different packages / pallets during consolidation package building on the delivery capacity document. To enable flexible line-haul planning, 2 PUs are created. Without multi-assignment, at this process point the FU would need to be split. The 2 PUs are required for scenarios where potentially the pallets could end up on different line-haul trucks to boost utilization. Typically (and sometimes as hard requirement due to business constraints), both pallets would end up on the same line-haul truck. In this case, no FU split is required to keep the documents consistent. But in the exceptional case that the pallets are assigned to different line-haul trucks, the first FU stage is handled by different capacity documents. To keep the FU consistent, a new FU is required to fulfill the document semantic (FU represents goods transported together across the whole transportation chain).
FUs with multi assignment planned to same capacity document
It is possible to define in the system that a PU represents a single package / pallet. This gives the planning process more flexibility. But in cases where all packages should be kept mandatory together (on the same line haul), the creation rule can be set to single PU represents all package items.
The following slides outline the standard planning process involving PUs.
Of course PUs are supported in the Transportation Cockpit like all other documents (Drag&Drop planning, Gantt Chart, …).