First impression of Transportation Load Building
SAP introduced Transportation Load Building capability under Order-based Planning in IBP 2208. Those with SAP APO background will quickly realise the importance IBP closing the gap of APO SNP functionality TLB. Load Building was one of very early (2017) improvement request in SAP IBP but had decision stated as Not Planned. A later request on Load Consolidation acknowledged the requirement with decision Planned (Long-term) mid 2021 with not further update. I can count on at least three clients across different industries who had load building and consolidation of single line requisitions as a business requirement which was not available / possible in SAP IBP out of box. So finally there will be a way out within SAP IBP for transport load planning and consolidation that need to be checked out in system.
I started with topic presentation from Roadmap Viewer and SAP Help documentation as a followup reference for those obscure details. In course of exploring this capability, I got to catch-up on other Order-based Planning capabilities namely Real-Time Integration (RTI), SAP7F Planning Area for Flexible Master Data and Planner Workspace UI. The first step after selecting appropriate planning area having active RTI connectivity with S/4HANA system was integration of Product and Transportation Lane Master Data (Plants were already integrated). Transportation Lane in OBP gets automatically created due to Special Procurement maintained in Material master identified by Stock Transfer Type attribute value as 7.
Following the topic presentation quickly setup for Transportation Load Building specific master data namely Equipment Type, Equipment Type Limit, Transportation Group and Transportation Group Equipment Type. Got stuck while creating master data entries of Transportation Group Equipment Type – attribute Additional Key for Transportation Group Equipment Type values. It was bit frustrating as Master Data error log did not point out the root cause as Equipment Type and Transportation Group ID were correctly entered. Going through SAP Help in detail pointed out Additional Key default value is 1 – maintained it along with different Equipment Type for Transportation Group combinations and last piece of master data is successfully created.
Here is a screenshot of all the four different master data – note these are directly created, maintained in IBP. Now you understand relevance and usage of Flexible Master Data of SAP7F planning area.
Transportation Lane master data to be enhanced with appropriate Transportation Group as shown. This builds the relationship for Transportation Load Building for specific Source – Target Location – Product – Mode of Transport combination.
At this stage I was wondering how TLB engine will convert Stock Transfer Requisition Quantity into the different Equipment Type Limit i.e. transportation equipment (resource) constraints. It is not shown in the topic presentation but you get a cryptic clue reading through SAP Help. Basically we need to maintain Alternative Unit of Measure master data for each Product – this can be directly maintained in IBP (thanks to Flexible Master Data) or integrated from S/4HANA by maintaining Alternative UoM in Additional Data of Material Master. Here is a screenshot of this key piece of master data first two products automatically integrated from S/4HANA rest maintained directly in IBP.
TIP! Maintain additional master data records for Transport Equipment Type conversion directly in IBP for ease of use. Note for PAL numerator is maintained higher value with denominator as 1 to get equivalent conversion 1 EA = 0.125 PAL
Let’s focus on Transaction Data – created few Stock Transfer Requisitions in S/4HANA between Source and Target Plant combination on different dates. Make sure in S/4HANA Item Category U (Stock Transfer) is assigned to each line item apart from Header level Doc Type as NB. I learnt about this hard way during my test data preparation – not able to figure out why TLB engine is not considering stock transfer requisitions for some products transferred from S/4 even though MD04 entries match with Projected Stock App. There is no discernible display difference in IBP side Projected Stock App but such Stock Transfer Requisitions (as well as those created directly in IBP) do not get picked up as input for TLB run.
Next step is to create own Application Job Template from Order-based Planning: Transportation Load Building specifying Planning Area, Version, Time Horizon, Transportation Group based on Planning Filter and whether to consider All Requisitions (keep this option).
TIP! Planning Filter creation – select based on Mode of Transportation, Source and Target Location ID.
Once Transportation Load Build application job is executed successfully a quick look in job log to understand what the engine is doing. If you display first attachment.csv – it shows the Transportation Group selected “2500-2510-ROAD” based on Planning Filter criteria. Next based on the days on which Goods Receipts take place within specified date range – that many individual Optimization runs get scheduled. Since Stock Transfer takes place on 4, 6 and 10th October, 3 separate Optimization runs is internally scheduled in the job. Upon completion for each day a set of Load Requisitions with total count of Load Items get displayed. Existing Load Requisitions remain unchanged unless there is change in Equipment Limits.
Now it’s time to check TLB run results in Planner Workspace and Projected Stock app.
Planner Workspace shows the different Load Requisitions created with transport equipment in this case Large Truck selected for 4th Oct shipment with each Load Line i.e. Stock Transfer Requisition with Constraints consumption % displayed. Large truck is selected even with Partial Loading instead of two Small Trucks because Fixed Cost of Large Truck (150) is lower compared to taking two Small Truck (120). Note how Pallet constraint is over-riding compared to weight and volume limits.
On 6th Oct one Small and two Large Trucks are planned based on optimal cost (not taking 3rd Large Truck but Small Truck) and Equipment Limit Constraints.
Projected Stock App displays Load Stock Transfer Requisitions with numbers starting with L (Load).
TIP! Run Application Job Template Order-Based Planning: Generate Planning Objects for External Key Figures for Planning Level DAYLANEMOTLOAD and Baseline Version for planning objects of this new keyfigure to be generated. Only after that this keyfigure will start displaying any data.
There are more things to be tested like integration of Load STR back to S/4HANA, functionality usage for Purchase Requisitions from Vendors. Already enhanced functionalities are planned for 2211 release as mentioned in What’s New Sneak Peak. Followup Blog is definitely on the cards after checking out these enhanced functionalities. Unload or Delete Load Requisitions is a key one, as it will allow potentially scenarios to be built by changing Transportation Group and Equipment Limit master data records and replan to see how Load Requisitions are proposed. Currently only option is to delete Load Requisitions completely and retransfer original Stock Transfer Requisitions from S/4.
Starting from basic function introduced at present, hope for practical business functionalities like handling incompatibilities and industry specific load building requirements in future. If you know of other related capabilities share in Comments.