On November 29th, we delivered a virtual SAP MaxAttention Innovation Workshop sharing the latest details and experiences for SAP Business Networks for Logistics, providing SAP MaxAttention customers an overview on solution capabilities and functionalities, architecture and integration, most important implementation aspects and Premium Engagement Services to kick-start an implementation project. The agenda for this workshop can be found here.
Today’s supply chains are more stressed than ever and having disconnected and complex processes will negatively affect performance and competitiveness. Market challenges are increasing as supply chains are becoming more global and complex and the costs of competing in a global market are increasing. While customers are becoming more demanding, we can see unpredictable market volatility through economic trends.
On top of this these market challenges are compounded by system challenges such as siloed operations with lack of visibility and transparency across company boundaries, inefficient onboarding processes across the ecosystem and discrepancies between physical and information flows resulting in low visibility across ecosystem (different players e.g shippers, carriers etc., different modes, different geographies) as well as limited ability to respond to supply chain disruptions.
(Connect the stakeholders across your logistics ecosystem for seamless, digitalized collaboration and advanced insights with SAP Business Networks for Logistics)
With the SAP Business Network for Logistics, we want to enable you to collaborate with your logistics ecosystem fast and easily, and benefit from breaking up siloed operations to manage freight more efficiently, leverage situational awareness for eased decision making through Track & trace and enable material traceability.
The day started with the Introduction of SAP Business Networks providing the big picture of its key capabilities and the Cloud use-case. The session highlighted how the Business Network for Logistics fits into the bigger picture as well as it’s key functionalities Freight Collaboration, Global Track and Trace, Material Traceability as well as the new features of intelligent insights. Focus of the session however, were the topics Freight Collaboration as well as Global Track and Trace.
Let’s have a look at the highlights of each of these functional areas.
Freight Collaboration offers you the potential to reduce logistics costs, optimize utilization and improve logistics performance by collaborating with all relevant stakeholders of your supply chain through out-of-the-box and end-to-end integration.
With Freight collaboration apps you can:
find best freight pricing through real-time carrier network access
Digitize the end-to-end order process
collaboratively resolve disputes
Efficiently manage appointments and gate activities to avoid wait times and extra fees
Asses due lists and key performance indicators to maximize improvement opportunities
Exchange key data along the complete order lifecycle
Automatically receive updates in your Transport Management system
While freight collaboration offers you the option to improve the collaboration between stakeholders Global Track & Trace can help you to enrich milestone monitoring as well as tracking and tracing your shipment by understanding the impacts of deviations from the plan. While FC only offers you standard tracking options, Global Track and Trace offers you the full flexibility of business scenarios through standard and template apps, with which you can:
Increase situational awareness, seamlessly connecting the physical with the information flow
Improve responsiveness and sustainability for immediate mitigation of exceptions
Increase customer service levels by avoiding rush transportation
Assess carrier performance and detect operational bottlenecks
After clarifying the basics of the both aforementioned functionalities the next part of the session then focused more on the technical aspects of the Business Network for Logistics. Highlights were the general architecture including interfaces and APIs, the onboarding for shippers and carriers as well as some security aspects.
The picture below shows the three integration options customers have in order to integrate the Business Network for Logistics with their backend system:
Via SOMANAGER and in combination with the SAP cloud connector
Via SAP PI/PO (SAP cloud connector is optional in this case)
Via SAP Cloud Platform Integration
This only changes in case our backend system is an SAP ECC system in which case a classic Idoc integration is used as shown in below picture.
However, this setup slightly differs from the setup in the GTT option, where Idoc integration is used for integrating a SAP S/4HANA system to the SAP Business Network for Logistics. Only in case of external or Non-SAP systems Rest services and OData Services can be used.
For the integration of the Business Network for Logistics to a carrier system SAP has published a set of standard APIs which can be found in the SAP API Business Hub. The SAP API Business Hub provides a holistic overview and information of all available APIs, including documentation as well as technical model views:
Next, we explored the topic of onboarding. Here we have to distinguish between shipper and carrier onboarding as well as setting up a test tenant and a productive tenant.
Shipper onboarding will generally have to be done by the shipper themselves. During the project implementation the shipper can additionally set up to two test tenants for carriers for testing purposes. Once the shipper has set up their productive tenant they can invite carriers to their network via the “Invite Business Partners” app. The carrier onboarding for the production system will then be taken care of by the SAP onboarding team.
The final topic of this section was user authentication where SAP offers two options: SAP ID Service and Identity Authentication Service. Although SAP ID Service is the default and therefore the easiest, this is not always preferred by customers as this requires for each user to have an S-user or simply because many companies already use their own authentication services. Hence SAP offers you IAS – a cloud based tenant system which will automatically be granted with the Business Network for Logistics license for you to easily manage user groups and authentication.
Concluding the workshop, we introduced the SAP MaxAttention premium service portfolio, that helps your customers to kick-start their SAP Business Networks for Logistics projects by utilizing ready-to-run scenarios and best practices tailored to their specific business needs.
We would like to thank all the presenters that contributed to the success of the event.
In case you are interested in further SAP Innovation Workshops click here or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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