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Author's profile photo Martin Ziehl

Route Train Tours vs. Distribution equipment: common functions and differences

SAP S/4HANA for Manufacturing Logistics enables customers to perform the delivery based production supply using route train tours. This functionality is based on the Distribution equipment functionality from SAP Extended Warehouse Management. In this post I will describe the common functions of both features and I will also describe the additional features which are delivered by the route train tour.

Correlation between distribution equipment and route train tours

EWM standard developed in 1909 the basic functions of the distribution equipment process. The process is based on a sequence of steps in the process-oriented storage control (POSC) and contains a picking step, a staging step (optional), a loading and an unloading step.

In order to get the distribution equipment (DE) up and running you need to follow the configuration guide for DE.  The result of the setup is in the end a sequence of warehouse orders for picking, loading and unloading.  You can process these warehouse orders by RF devices. In addition you need to maintain the new master data for the Handling Unit compartments in case you run your picking and delivery process to the PSAs (Production Supply Area) with structured racks.

While the DE process supports all basic functions like picking and loading onto a resource, it does not support the planning and structuring of many thousands delivery items on different ways through the warehouse using groups of different stops: we needed a function which groups and distributes warehouse requests for production supply.

The Tour

Based on this distribution equipment process we added a new object “Route train Tour” (or short “Tour”). This tour is a new document with own life cycle, status management, change documents etc and represents one round trip of such a route train in the warehouse to different PSAs. The tour has a location focus (by the used route) and a time focus (by the planned departure date and time, determined from the route parameters).

Each relevant delivery item is assigned either during document creation or later in the process (based on settings on the route) just before loading (also a manual tour creation is possible) to a tour. After loading is completed the unloading warehouse (based on the distribution equipment process) order is assigned to the tour and the tour can be processed by the route train specific RF transactions for unloading.

It is important to understand that under the hood of the route train tour, there is also a warehouse order for unloading using the distribution equipment being processed in sync: we implemented an internal API which on the one hand side uses the distribution equipment for the confirmation of the unloading steps and on the other hand is responsible for the processing of the tour as such (like e.g. status updates, stop calculation, monitoring etc). You therefore must also configure the Route train process by following the configuration guide for route trains.

Features of Route train tours

As mentioned the route train extends the functions of the DE process. It adds (among others) the following features, which are not available for DE:

  • Route determination based on warehouse request item level
  • Tour determination based on warehouse request item level considering the planned supply date and time
  • Split of picking warehouse orders by route and tour
  • Loading lane determination based on delivery priority and route
  • System-guided or manual loading using RF
  • System-guided or manual unloading using RF considering the master data of route and stop
  • A new node “Tours” in the EWM Warehouse Monitor
  • A Fiori application Manage Tours for the control room operator or for tour monitoring on large screens
  • A Fiori application My Tours for the route train driver

Known limitations

You can process a warehouse order for the route train process using the standard distribution equipment process. However, you will not be able to process and synchronize the route train tour data with the DE RF transactions.

You cannot process a warehouse order for the distribution equipment using the route train loading or unloading RF logical transactions as the route might not have been determined for the corresponding warehouse request. The route is a mandatory information on warehouse request, warehouse order for Picking and pick HU level.

You cannot process a warehouse order for the distribution equipment using system guided or system guided by queue. The route train tour can be determined by a system-guided selection using resource, queue and directly assigned warehouse orders for loading.



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