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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
With more and more customers moving from LE-TRA to S/4 TM, the questions around Star-Shaped Freight Orders comes up frequently, since it's a quite popular topology on the LE-TRA Shipment.

When I was asked last week, if we actually support Star-Shaped Freight Orders in TM, I realized that I wasn't actually to sure anymore to which extend(especially around manuall assignment). So I setup a little example on my own and thought I would share it, so you are well prepared when facing this question during your next S/4 Transformation Project.

What is a star-shaped Freight Order and why would I need it?

Let's assume following scenario. You have an agreement with a carrier, who on a regular basis is performing milkruns for you in the region around Karlsruhe and collects shipments from different pickup locations to one of your Hubs in Bruchsal, where you will consolidate them on linehaul trucks.

In our example there are 3 Pick-ups for the day. Pforzheim, Ettlingen and in Karlruhe.

Your agreement with the carrier is to pay the transport based on the distance between every single pickup location and your Hub within one tour.

So you set up a very simple freight agreement with a charge item that has resolution base stage and distance based price(for our example let's just take 2€/km.

For those of you who are familiar with the region it is fair to say that the truck will very likely pick-up the freight unit in Pforzheim, take the A8 to Ettlingen, pick his 2nd freight unit and after a quick trip to pick his last load in Karlsruhe continue via A5 to Bruchsal to his delivery location.

If you plan these 3 Freight Units to a standard FTL Freight order type with a defined and linear Stage Sequence the Freight Orders Stops will follow the sequence described above:

Pforzheim -> Ettlingen -> Karlsruhe -> Bruchsal

If you now calculate the charges for this freight order you will end up with 3 charge elements:

Just a fictional example, the price is very low and my distances are a bit short due to missing GIS provider set-up.

If you look at the logistical refrence field you can see that the stages which were considered for calculating the charges reflect the logistical execution.However this is not what you agreed with the carrier, as he expects a payment for:

  • Distance Between Pickup 1 and Hub * 2€

  • Distance Between Pickup 2 and Hub * 2€

  • Distance Between Pickup 3 and Hub * 2€

which specifically for the pickup in Ettlingen will lead to a higher Price.

The solution to this problem is a Freight Order with reversed Start-Shape Toplogy. (In the further parts of this guide I will leave the addition reverse, although it is fitting for our scenario, for better readability)

A Star-Shaped Freight Order's routing is not reflecting the actual move of a truck, but the financial requirement for an example as described above.

A Star-Shaped freight order does only have one fixed execution relevant Source Stop  and several destination locations connected directly to this destination location, without any information about the actual order of the destination stops. (Reverse Star-Shape like in our scenario, is the same just mirrored).

In our scenarios this leads to 3 stages

  • Pickup 1 -> Hub

  • Pickup 2 -> Hub

  • Pickup 3 -> Hub

Some History

To give some additional background. The Star-Shaped Topology is something that already existed for LE-TRA shipments and probably a lot of you have therefore already worked with in the past. In TM it is a rather "unpopular" object. It was first used during Shipment Integration to reflect the LE-TRA Shipments in Star-Shaped form and later used for the Parcel Manifest.

Short Technical Excursus

Star-Shaped Freight Orders does always have only 2 stops. A real pickup stop and a 2nd Stop which is of stop role undefined delivery(UD) undefined pickup(UP). It does not have any Stop Successors. All Freight Units are assigned to exactly these two stops. While for the real stop the location has to match, for the UD/UP Stop, Freight Unit Stop with all kind of locations can be assigned.

When building stages for this freight order e.g. for charge calculation the stage helper identifies the alternative topology and simply builds the freight order stages out of the freight unit stages which are assigned to it.

Set-up and using a Star-Shaped Freight Order

In the freight order type customizing, there are mainly 2 relevant settings:

  • Sequence Type of Stages:

  • Web Dynpro Application Configuration. If nothing is entered here, the System should default to the Manifest UI and you should avoid to use the standard freight order config as certain UIs might not be fully supported and lead to issues:

Before we can now rebuild our freight order based on our new type...some limitations. The Star-Shaped freight order is not supported in the VSR optimizer or the transportation cockpit. Therefore we will have to go for the manual assignment via the easy adding on the Freight Order Item Tab.(On the bright side, easy adding is the supported method for S/4 basic shipping)

  • Create a freight order with your new type

  • On the General Data maintain: Carrier, Purchasing Org. and your Destination Location(our Hub)

  • On the Cargo Tab. Insert Freight Units based on your prefered option

  • Calculate Charges

As you can see in the Logistical Reference Section, every charge element is pointing to the stages always going from the pickup location to the hub and the total amount shows the execpted value, as agreed with our carrier.