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SAP Transportation Management Visibility Processes (within SAP EM)

In my last blog I shared what roles are available in EM to view transportation data within the SAP EM Web UI. In this blog I'll share the available visibility processes for Transportation management in SAP EM.

Firstly, what is a visibility process? A SAP EM Visibility Process is pre-delivered content to help jump-start your EM implementation for a certain business process.

Visibility Process Components

The following components are covered in a visibility process:

  1. Configuration Guide - What config do you need to do to enable the visibility process

  2. Scenario Description Document - What does the Visibility Process do? What events, how is it triggered, what are the roles, etc...

  3. Application System Configuration to integrate the Application System with EM.

  4. SAP EM Configuration that enables all the needed functionality in SAP EM - Includes SAP EM Web UI configuration

Optional objects delivered only for certain visibility processes:

  1. BW Configuration Content - Data extraction to BW

  2. PI Content - Integration to SAP EM


SAP Transportation Management Visibility Processes

Freight Unit (ODT30_FU / ODT20_FU)

In order to plan a freight movement, SAP TM builds a Freight Unit based upon a set of rules, or established criteria, as set out in the Freight Unit Building Rules (FUBR). The FUBRs are predefined in the system in order to provide typical scenarios the shipper is accustom to employing when moving goods from one place to another. The scenarios will include origins, destinations, routes, carriers, modes of transportation, stopovers, size of transport vehicle, restrictions of the route, restrictions of the vehicle, customs requirements, custom restrictions, etc., in order to provide as much information as possible to build the plan for moving the goods from their origin to their destination in the most efficient manner with the least amount of risk. SAP TM’s primary function is to provide a plan on how to ship the goods while the bulk of the responsibility for monitoring the individual parties' participation in adhering to the freight order schema falls to SAP EM. Without SAP EM as part of the landscape in a transportation application, the ability to judge performance, risk management, compliance, conform-ability and cooperation among all of the parties involved in the goods movement is impossible to discern. The finite, infinitesimal differentiation's that occur along the route cannot be measured without an application that is able to capture each movement on a minute-by-minute basis. SAP EM is the application that adds depth and dimension to SAP TM.

Once the freight order is built, the customer service representative, transportation planner, shipper, consignee, customer and / or carrier can monitor the expected and actual events.

Some of the actions these individuals have the capability to perform are:

  • The consignee or customer can report the Proof of Delivery event manually through the SAP Event Management Web User Interface;

  • The carrier can report events, including unexpected events, manually through the SAP Event Management Web User Interface (i.e., Delay);

  • The transportation planner will receive an alert when an unexpected event is reported (i.e., Damage or Delay);

  • Authorized parties can monitor the execution of the freight unit / order using the SAP Event Management Web User Interface.

These parties will have insight in to the following detailed SAP Event Management data:

Expected Events:

  1. SCHEDULED: Transport of goods has been scheduled

  2. LOAD_BEGIN: Loading of goods on to transport vehicle has begun

  3. LOAD_END: Loading of goods on to transport vehicle has ended

  4. DEPARTURE: Transport vehicle has departed from origin

  5. ARRIV_DEST: Transport vehicle has arrived at destination

  6. UNLOAD_BEGIN: Unloading of goods at destination has begun

  7. UNLOAD_END: Unloading of goods at destination has ended

Unexpected Events:

  1. DELAYED_FU: Delivery Status = Delayed Freight Unit

  2. CANCEL: Delivery Status = Cancelled

  3. BLOCK_FOR_EXEC: Block status = Blocked for Execution

  4. UNBLOCK_FOR_EXEC: Block status = Not Blocked/Unblocked

  5. DAMAGE: Damaged


Freight Order and Freight Booking / Forwarding Orders (ODT40_TO / ODT20_TO)

During execution of goods movement, the carrier, shipper or customer service representative monitors freight or booking orders via SAP EM. The Transportation Planner can also monitor these events and receive notifications when unexpected events occur, such as delays. Authorized parties can monitor the execution of the freight or booking orders using the SAP EM Web User Interface and will also have insight in to the following detailed SAP EM data:

Expected Events:

  1. LOAD_BEGIN: Loading begin

  2. LOAD_END: Loading end

  3. POPU: Proof of Pickup

  4. DEPARTURE: Departure from origin

  5. CLEAR_CUSTOMS: Import goods have cleared Customs

  6. ARRIV_DEST: Arrival at destination

  7. UNLOAD_BEGIN: Unloading of goods begins

  8. UNLOAD_END: Unloading end

  9. POD: Proof of Delivery

Unexpected Events:

  1. DELAY: Delivery Status = Delayed

  2. CANCEL: Delivery Status = Cancelled

  3. BLOCK_FOR_EXEC: Block status = Blocked for execution

  4. UNBLOCK_FOR_EXEC: Block status = Unblocked for execution


Instruction Tracking (ODT30_INS)

Instructions are informational messages, usually created manually, in SAP TM that represent a task or requirement that is to be performed. Instructions may be assigned to freight forwarding orders or freight units, or passed from forwarding agreements. These instructions are initiated after execution of the shipment begins and are monitored by designated personnel. If SAP EM is part of the landscape, the instructions in SAP TM have their Alerts and Overdue features automatically activated through configuration. For each instruction, a separate event handler is created in SAP EM. No unexpected events occur in instruction tracking.

SAP TM will set the alert date and the due date. The date of the expected event is determined by assigning it as the alert date. If the alert date passes, the expected event date becomes the due date. During this period of time, the status of the event will be “Alert.” After the due date, the status of the instruction becomes “Overdue.” These statuses are set by SAP EM.

Expected Events:

  1. EXECUTION: Instruction has been executed


Resource Tracking (RES10_RESOURCE) (as of SAP EM 9.0)

Internationally, any piece of equipment or packaging used to move goods from one place to another must be marked in a unique way so that it can be readily identified. If the equipment or packaging is used to move goods internationally, the markings must still be able to be identified in a unique manner.

Because of this global standard, an easy way for SAP EM to track a shipment is to assign the unique identifier from the equipment or package to an event handler. When event messages are received from the carrier, the identifier is used to locate and update the event handler in the system. During the creation of the event handler, any freight unit, freight order or forwarding order information needed to tie the event handler record back to the appropriate freight documents in SAP TM would have occurred.

Because tight integration between the two systems did not exist in the initial development phases of SAP TM, information from the event messages does not flow as seamlessly as it could onto the appropriate freight unit, freight order and / or forwarding order. SAP EM is the system best suited, and most efficient, for resource tracking, although some limited functionality is available in SAP TM.

In SAP TM, physical forms of transport conveyances are referred to as “Resources.” As of Release 9.0, SAP EM can track the following types of resources in SAP TM:

1) Transportation units

  • Containers

  • Drums

  • Tanks

  • Unit Load Devices

  • Pallets

2) Vehicle resources capable of moving under their own power

  • Trucks

  • Tractors

  • Locomotives

  • Yard Jockeys

3) Vehicle resources require power

  • Rail cars

  • Trailers

  • Barges

  • Carts

For these resources, the following event tracking is available in SAP EM:

Expected Events:

  1. LOADING_BEGIN: Loading begin

  2. LOADING_END: Loading end

  3. COUPLING: Joining together of two transport vehicles

  4. DECOUPLING: Separating of two transport vehicles

  5. ARRIVAL_AT_DESTINATION: Arrived at a destination

  6. DEPARTURE: Departure from a location

  7. UNLOADING_BEGIN: Unloading of goods begins

  8. UNLOADING_END: Unloading end

Unexpected Events:

  1. DELAY: The resource is delayed

  2. SIGHTING: The resource has been seen

  3. BAD_ORDERED: The rail-car has been cited for repair while on the track

Reporting Expected Events

  • Scenario 1: Carrier enters an event message via the SAP EM Web UI, or an event message enters the system as part of an incoming EDI, XML or other type of file. The correlating Event Handler is updated with the information and forwards the event message to SAP TM. SAP TM updates the resource, or transportation unit, with the information, and locates all documents, i.e., freight units, freight orders or forwarding orders associated with the transportation unit, and updates their statuses.

  • Scenario 2: The resource, or transportation unit, is updated directly in SAP TM. This action is typically done manually and in-house. SAP TM then sends the event message information to SAP EM, where the intelligence resides to interpret what response needs to occur.


In my next blog on TM I'll talk about how events are updated between EM and TM.

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