Implement SAP S/4HANA Quality Control of Goods Receipt with SAP Internet of Things, Smart Sensing
SAP Internet of Things (IoT) has recently implemented a new capability, to automate business processes, based on events generated with no human intervention via a set of methods, technologies, and devices, such as radio frequency identification (RFID), barcodes, QR code scanners, near field communication and Bluetooth low energy: his name is Smart Sensing.
In this blog post, I’m analyzing a scenario designed for the Logistics area of the Digital Supply Chain, where the goal is to keep track and monitor the quality of transported goods for an existing Inbound Delivery.
Let’s see it within a realistic scenario analysis; at the end of the article, I’ll also provide his implementation.
In this scenario, ACME Inc. is delivering refrigerated containers to SubZeroCelsius Company containing food, raw materials which are used to create foodstuffs in their production process.
The SAP Internet of Things Smart Sensing capability has been implemented to achieve different goals:
- simplify the process and increase the process efficiency by triggering automatically the Goods Receipt in SAP S/4HANA or notifying the warehouse manager responsible to execute a quality control check.
- Reduce operational costs by automatically triggering business scenarios based on scans of RFID tags
- Ensure high-quality products, by monitoring constantly the transport conditions of the delivery process.
Each refrigerated container delivered is represented with a Handling Unit (HU) and an SAP S/4HANA Inbound delivery has already been created in the SubZeroCelsius backend.
An RFID tag has also been attached to each Handling Unit, to enable automatic scanning when the container reaches the customer warehouse.
The process starts after the creation of the Inbound Delivery and with the departure of the goods from the Acme warehouse. The RFID tags are attached to the handling units that will be delivered to the customer’s warehouse.
The transportation of the goods could be subject to unexpected events; since we are talking about refrigerated containers, the fridge unit could have issues related to temperature conditions (i.e. door remain open too long or technical malfunction), and therefore the refrigerated goods could deteriorate. As a result, the quality of the raw material entering the warehouse would not be acceptable to meet high product standards required for further processing in the SubZeroCelsius factories.
The monitoring of the delivery conditions could consider several metrics and environmental parameters. They could range from the acceleration of the vehicle used for the delivery to the quantity of water consumed in some dispensers as well as many more. But for our current scenario, the most important metric is just the temperature.
An IoT-enabled sensor is installed inside each refrigerated container and sending live temperature data to SAP IoT.
SAP IoT is collecting IoT data and monitoring this data within validating it via its integrated Rule engine. This process verifies if some threshold violations are detected, such as the measurement of high temperature in the container.
In this case, new derived data is additionally created in SAP IoT with the usage of the Derivation Rules capability which will generate and store the threshold violation date as measurement.
An RFID gate is installed at the entrance of the customer factory. When the delivery enters the warehouse the RFID tags are automatically scanned, and the scanning events are ingested by SAP IoT via its Smart Sensing capability.
This event is further processed in Smart Sensing through an implemented business logic.
As a first operation, Smart Sensing will get information about the delivery conditions and check if any threshold violation has been detected during the delivery process.
If no violation has been captured Smart Sensing automatically invokes the creation of the Good Receipt for the current delivery in the SAP S/4HANA system.
It could optionally do additional operations, such as sending a notification that the good is entering the warehouse to the warehouse manager in the SubZeroCelsius Company; it depends on the implemented scenario.
Vice versa, in case one or more violations have been captured, Smart Sensing will create an in-app notification in an SAP Business Technology Platform dashboard, and/or email the notifications to the warehouse clerk to inform that the delivery is entering the warehouse stating that a quality check needs to be executed to verify if the goods should be accepted or rejected.
Also in this scenario, additional or different integrations based on the customer use case could be easily implemented, such as providing a notification in the Quality Management (QM) component of their SAP S/4HANA system.
Additional References and Implementation
- The implementation of the scenario is available in our developers portal: Quality Control of Goods Receipt
- Here you can also find an interesting video describing the same scenario: