Its close integration with SAP MM for carrier payment, COPA to allocate costs to the material on the procurement side and more, are obvious reasons, why thousands of companies are using LE-TRA and its transactions to address basic shipping and receiving needs from small companies to some of the biggest manufacturing companies across all industries, across all modes of transportation. In addition, SAP APO customers using TP/VS as the natural planning extension for LE-TRA, SAP TD (Transportation and Distribution) for oil & gas customers or because GATP and BOP (Back Order Processing) are using TP/VS planning details for backlog prioritization for orders based on efficient transportation.
SAP TM is designed to address and cover all the above and now, being embedded in S/4HANA as the new core solution for Transportation, it is certainly not just a game-changer in terms of capabilities, but also (that has to be strategically addressed) before or while, surely not after, a transformation from SAP ERP to S/4HANA companies have to deal with the significant update of the solution design and determine the best way to move their current LE-TRA or LE-WM designs to the new platform. There are two and a half ways to deal with this opportunity (not challenge).
In all cases, first, get an update on the solution‘s capabilities. Even if you consider your logistics operations as straight forward and your company only uses currently uses LE-TRA for freight costing and paperwork for shipping or you operate in an outsourced logistics model, SAP TM offers with the predefined scope named „Basic Shipping“ exactly what you are looking for.
The solution design of SAP TM has been architected and implemented in a very process and object-oriented way and you don‘t have to deal with system complexity for non-complex scenarios. But – even when implemented, you can always alter, grow and „complicate“ in a good way more advanced processes (while keeping the original scenarios as is – simple). The most simple model will require the use of two objects in TM: a so called freight order (your shipment) that will group, sequence, and operate your orders or deliveries (inbound or outbound or both !) and a settlement document, that will help you to allocate and manifest final shipment costs and get your carriers paid. No redundant master data, no internal interfaces, no batch jobs - TM is there and does the job. If your aim is, to - let‘s say jump - from SAP ERP to S/4 by not changing the current scope (please don‘t miss the opportunity to consider savings by learning about multiple ways to save costs and carbon footprint through with more advanced capabilities) – you can do that too. TM will provide your end-users with state of the art screens, better and more interactive selection options, profiles for certainly interactive and manual operations or just let it run in the background day in day out.
TM is not a process add-on any more like in the past. Where SD and MM in SAP ERP failed us to give the option with LE-TRA to handle transportation as a life cycle independent tool for logistical tasks (e.g. ocean booking before orders are even created, have a real B/L, driving e.g. picking in the warehouse based on your planned shipments, mixing inbound stock transfer orders with sales orders in one shipment (sorry freight order now) or see across locations a consistent capacity view of a truck (multi-pick and -drop) and so on, SAP TM simple does exactly that. In addition, often locally 3rd party solutions might be used or considered. As mentioned above, we suggest to instead treat those local requirements for a simple transport solution in the same straight forward way. Gather the catalog of your requirements for those satellites, that often would remain outside of our enterprise core by continuing with legacy or third party products, instead of simply reusing your SAP TM/Basic shipping or advanced shipping capabilities in your to be landscape. We can help by keeping those solutions straight forward with an adequate realization leveraging SAP TM‘s capabilities - and again - by keeping the solution straight forward too, by gaining a way more integrated and synchronized landscape in your company. Many customers are using small transportation products e.g. for inbound or local warehouse shipping or to let their logistics partners operate that piece (process steps) as substitutes. Just consider using this as an opportunity to become more efficient and gain visibility across your supply chain. Pre-defined process packages like our BEEMACS Ignite for Logistics will not lock you into a „vanilla“ process template but will give you a kick-start for innovation.
Now – if you plan your move from SAP ERP or SAP APO for that matter to SAP S/4HANA to be ready 2025 (!), there are two(.five) ways to address the process areas of significant change and opportunities. Identify the areas of concern and deconstruct your IT defined solution landscape, by translating your process/functional requirements to S/4HANA. This is true for ATP/GATP, PPDS, TP/VS, LE-WM for the most part, and LE-TRA for sure. How to move forward with those areas is mainly defined by the process, IT strategy, and change management required: