Making resources available with SAP TRP
I have recently participated in an SAP TM/TRP implementation project and helped to test the new version of SAP TRP.
I am glad to see that TRP 4.0 containing a ton of improvements has just been released so I think it is a good time to write a quick blog to introduce the main SAP TRP (Transportation Resource Planning) capabilities and use-cases.
In the SAP TRP context, transportation resources refer to containers, ULDs, railcars, trailers, rail tanks or any passive transportation unit used to transport goods. One of the challenges to archive high supply chain efficiency is to have the correct amount of empty/ready transportation resources available to be used in the right location at the right time. SAP TRP in combination with SAP TM (Transportation Management) and SAP EM (Event Management) can help organizations to meet exactly this goal by providing the required data to understand the supply and demand of resources and tracking and trace current and future geographical positions.
credits: SAP – source: https://www.sap.com/products/transportation-resource-planning.html
Track and Monitor Transportation Resources
The first step to overcome the challenges of managing a vast amount of transportation resources is to keep track of resources positions, stock levels and have efficient monitoring tools that provide high quality visibility. SAP EM provides the required resource geographical positions necessary for the TRP analytical/monitoring tools that can be used in various format including bar charts, maps, and spreadsheets. You can also setup notifications and alerts to indicate when critical safety stocks are high or low.
Often, companies utilize not only their own resources but are obliged to manage third-party units or lease resources. SAP TRP provides the tools to monitor external owned resources and manages external lease contracts and conditions.
If a container is not stationary but, on the move, users can have visibility of from where the container came, where it is going, and even navigate to SAP TM via hyperlink to understand which Transportation document is responsible to move the container, the cargo it is transporting and who are the business partners involved like the ordering party, shipper or the shipper-to party.
Forecast Supply and Demand
By integrating data with SAP TM and using advanced computational models SAP TRP can forecast the supply and demand of transportation resources with high level of details. Users can monitor and compare the stock forecast of different locations, drill down by resource types, aggregate data using resource groups or location groups, understand the different data source by category, etc.
Companies can adapt the forecast calculation model by enhancing the database layer artifacts like calculation views and procedures.
SAP TRP provides an immersive and high detailed tool to visualize the calculated forecast data. But having an accurate forecast is only the first step towards optimization as you will see in the next paragraphs.
Unbalancing stocks of transportation resources is a common problem in logistics and often results in missing customer orders and profits. For example, a shipping line company may face an issue that due to imbalance trade, a region like Europe may have a big surplus of containers while in China containers are constantly missing. The shipping line needs to replenish the containers by using available space in the vessels to bring the resources from Europe to China. Local unbalancing may also occur among container yards located in the same area.
SAP TRP Resource balancing helps users to understand what the optimal way is to move empty containers to optimize availability with minimal transportation cost. It uses the SAP TM network configuration to understand the different transportation lanes and means of transport available to move resources. It uses the supply and demand forecast to know in advance the locations with surplus and shortage. Finally, it uses a cost model to determine cost.
With a click of a button the system provides a simulation with the activities to be performed to optimize resource balance and the total cost of the operation. Users can then analyses the proposed activities and make changes if necessary. Once the planning is complete the scenario can be automatically transferred to SAP TM. As a result, Empty resource Freight orders and Freight bookings are created.
Pick-up and Return Optimization
Available transportation resources may be located in different depots, container yards or stations. Logistic users must take daily decisions about where to pick-up or return resources considering stock levels, supply and demand forecast, costs, and business rules. Due to the high number of variables in the scenario, it may be a difficult decision, but luckily SAP TRP has the perfect tool to manage and automatize this process.
SAP TM provides the input documents, Pick-up / Return transportation units. Based on a set of rules configured in Rulesets, SAP TRP can automatically search for the best location to pick-up or drop-off a resource based on its forecast data, stock levels, TM network and cost model. This process can be done completely automatize and the result is calculated based on all income documents pending to be processed. The system can also propose triangulations, for example, if a container is forecasted to arrive and unload in the port of Hamburg and the system identifies a demand for the same container type at the same day. In this case, there is no need for a container return to the yard as it can be used by the new demand.
SAP TRP provides quick access to different data elements to composite a customizable and informative dashboard. By displaying the most relevant information in a single page Users can have quick access with no extra navigation, saving time, and taking quick decisions based on real-time data.
SAP TRP can also be used in a Stand-Alone scenario where an external system provides the required supply & demand and resource position.
Kindly share your feedback, thoughts, or any queries regarding this post, in the comments section below. In case of any further queries, feel free to write back.
You can find more information about TRP in the link below:
Very cool overview, Alex! Keep on going 🙂