My recent article Hyperspeed planning in SAP TM has explained TM ⇔ delivery integration issues when statistical stages are used and delivery transportation planning status is "partially planned". The delivery date can get inconsistent in such a scenario, it can even get earlier then the picking date!
The delivery integration problem is even more severe as it impacts fully planned deliveries in scenarios without statistical stages.
The following diagram depicts sales order backwards scheduling:
Source: SAP Help
The following dates are calculated for each sales order schedule line starting from requested delivery date:
goods issue date - the date when goods issue should be posted for the shipment
loading date - the date when goods should be loaded
transportation planning date - the date when transportation planning activities should start
availability date - the date when the goods should be available
The dates and their correctness is essential so the shipment can be delivered on time to the end customer.
The focus of this article is on the availability date.
In a typical scenario i.e. without transportation planning or with delivery-based transportation planning those dates are copied from the sales order to the delivery.
Sales order transportation planning
One of the most important innovations of SAP TM is order-based transportation planning. Here shipments are planned in advance, as soon as sales order are created. The process, including EWM integration is as follows:
Source: SAP Help
What is important here, is that delivery dates are determined by the transportation plan, which might differ from the original sales order scheduling. If the shipment is scheduled a bit earlier or later then planned on the sales order, the delivery dates, especially material availability date have to be adjusted correspondingly. Otherwise procurement or production will not provide the goods on time.
Unfortunately, the integration breaks down when the transportation plan is modified and the changes are propagated to the already existing delivery. The problem has been brought to SAP support and partially fixed with the 3230794 - Outbound delivery update from TM does not include picking date note. Even though it is not stated explicitly only picking and loading dates are updated, material availability date is not!
It basically means that in case of the transportation plan modification, integration with supply chain is broken and production/purchasing does not get the correct information on when they need to provide the goods. They might make the goods available too early or what is worse too late and put the entire shipment at risk.
The root cause of the problem is poor design of delivery update handler. It uses the WS_DELIVERY_UPDATE_2 function, which is incapable of modifying material availability dates.
SAP support has confirmed that limitation and provided a solution proposal within an OSS ticket. The solution is to implement a custom availability date update routine with the following logic:
Loop at delivery items - for each item:
Copy picking date (LIKP-KODAT) and time (LIKP-KOHUR) from the delivery header to
the material availability date (LIPS-MBDAT) and time (LIPS-MBHUR) of the delivery item.
The solution is very straight forward. It can be implemented either with the LE_SHP_DELIVERY_PROC BAdI or with USEREXIT_SAVE_DOCUMENT_PREPARE enhancement.
What perplexes me is the fact, that SAP has acknowledged the problem. They have provided a solution for delivery creation and partial solution for delivery updates. However even though the final fix is so easy, they refused to provide it in standard or at least with a consulting note.
It is as if they do not understand the ramification of incorrect material availability dates - that breaks the supply chain integration. MRP planning will propagate such inconsistencies across the entire product structure, through all semi finished goods, down to raw material and purchasing, wreaking havoc in SCM.