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No, this is no typo - today's blog is about an enhancement of Load Planning already done for SAP Transportation Management 9.5. I did not have time to roll it out here yet, but it appeared on a lot of official SAP TM slides.

To visualize some of the new features of SAP TM 9.6, the following screenshot is used. And this already includes the Load Planning with flexible Split Deck. As you can see the pallets loaded on top are positioned on different vertical levels.

Truck with Load Plan using flexible Split Decks and Detailed Package Building

Without the TM 9.6 feature of Detailed Package Building the 3-D model looks like this:

Truck with Load Plan using flexible Split Decks

Since SAP TM 9.1 the Load Planning was able to consider a split deck. Such a split deck is typically used in scenarios where most of the pallets to be loaded can have nothing stacked on top (either heterogeneous mixed pallets or fragile products or customer requirement). Without a split deck the truck would have a very low utilization.

So let's start with such a truck definition. In the resource maintenance, I create truck and define next to the required header attributes the internal dimensions relevant for load planning.

Truck definition - capacity

I complete the physical attributes and enter axle information.

Truck definition - physical properties

Checking this truck in the resource viewer, I get the following view:

Truck in Resource Viewer

Using this truck in a capacity document, the result could look like this:

Truck with Load Plan

We see after Load Planning that the truck is filled, but a lot of pallets still remain unloaded.

Until TM 9.5, we could add a split deck:

Split Deck definition

The split deck at a fixed height, spans over the whole load space and the optimizer has no option to use it or not.

Truck with fixed split deck in Resource Viewer

For the example freight order this results in:

Truck with fixed split deck with Load Plan

We see that 5 more pallets have been loaded, but still plenty of unloaded pallets remain.

In reality, fixed split decks exist and the scenario is reasonable. But the vast majority of split decks work way more flexible. The driver or loading guy can manually add or remove metal bars per row. So it was obvious that this needs to be tackled on the TM Load Planning road map.

In the resource viewer, it is since TM 9.5 possible to define resource sections:

Resource Section definition

So I remove the fixed split deck definition and replace it with the flexible split deck. The following fields are available:

Section Type: Split Deck or Cargo Body Shape (can be used to model load spaces not being cuboid)

Split Deck Type: Beam or Platform

Horizontal Start / End: for example if you don't use the first 2 meters for split deck, this can be limited.

Vertical Start / End: Depending on the physical resource possibilities the fixation of the metal bars can be limited regarding height

Position interval: Depending on the physical resource possibilities the fixation of the metal bars can be limited in intervals

Height: How high is the metal bar? This is considered by the optimizer as it consumes space

Weight: How much does the metal bar weight? This is considered by the optimizer as it consumes capacity and is counted against the axle limits


So running the same Load Planning using this truck, the freight order looks like this:

Truck with flexible split deck with Load Plan

Because the load plan optimizer can now flexibly decide per row what would make more pallets fit, t can load everything. Of course all other constraints and rules are still considered.