SAP’s latest RFID technology release in the form of SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure 4.0 offers an wide range of general capabilities and technical value propositions. SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure (SAP AII) is essentially a mapping engine, using condition techniques, contextualizing EPC data read captured through RFID with business process steps. SAP AII provides logic to map Electronic Product Code (EPC) identification reads, together with their physical and logical reading location, into business process contexts with the attendant creation or updates of business documents such as deliveries and objects such as handling units. The SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure features also a database in which the EPC IDs are stored with their associated current and historic states, such as read points, handling unit associations, time stamp and contexts.
RFID enabled outbound processing is offered in two deployment options, the stand-alone and the integrated deployment. The stand-alone deployment option of SAP AII 4.0 enables customers to perform basic slap& ship outbound processing whilst providing the platform to migrate to a solution that is integrated with a backend and expert system and scale the solution in a later roll-out following for instance a pilot. Outbound processing with the stand-alone SAP AII 4.0 provides users with the ability to execute the process sequence: tag commissioning, writing and validating written tags together with the associated EPC Number Range Administration, RFID packing, RFID enabled move transactions, manual assignment of a reference document and RFID loading.
In the integrated deployment mode, SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure RFID enables standard ERP outbound processing with RFID packing, RFID load transactions and RFID move that updates the location status of an object within SAP AII. RFID tag commissioning is supported with the EPC management linked to mySAP ERP Material Master.
One example illustrates the functionality of RFID enabled outbound processing: When an outbound delivery has been created and its pick status has been set to confirmed in SAP ERP – an IDOC such as APL2 is created and passed through SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure (SAP NetWeaver XI) to SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure where the delivery is replicated with the expected action for RFID packing. A worker having already commissioned the tags for the products now packs cases with the materials to be commissioned onto a pallet. The finished pack is now read with an RFID reading device. SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure creates now a product hierarchy with the pallet, identified for example by an SSCC-96 EPC, and the associated cases, identified for instance by S-GTIN-96 EPCs.
SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure passes the information now back through SAP NetWeaver XI to the ERP solution and creates automatically in the background a handling unit reflecting the hierarchy as scanned and updates the delivery. Following this delivery update a new IDOC is created in the ERP solution for an expected loading action which is passed again through SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure to SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure where the expected loading action for the delivery requirement is replicated. Upon scanning of the packed pallet through an RFID loading gate the status of the scanned objects are updated as loaded in the Auto-ID Infrastructure. The data is passed back through the SAP NetWeaver XI to mySAP ERP where the status of delivery is automatically updated, subsequently triggering the automatic posting of goods issue. In addition, ERP can be customized so that a structured ASN containing the scanned EPC information is automatically generated and sent to the customer concerned.
RFID enabled inbound processing is offered in the integrated deployment mode. Based on a structured Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) with EPC data from a vendor an inbound delivery document is automatically created in mySAP ERP. The expected inbound delivery document content is passed via SAP NetWeaver XI to SAP AII where it is replicated. Upon physical arrival of the goods, the packages are scanned with RFID at an unloading gate.
SAP AII compares the captured actual EPC data at the unloading point with the expected EPC data in the replicated inbound delivery, passes the sensed EPC data via SAP NetWeaver XI back to mySAP ERP, where the inbound delivery is correspondingly automatically updated and Goods Receipt Posting is triggered.
In the stand-alone SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure 4.0 deployment mode, customers could perform the RFID Unload and RFID Move Steps which would update the SAP AII database with inbound EPC objects and location respectively.
Visibility with SAP Event Management
For the integrated deployment mode, RFID enabled outbound and inbound process visibility tracks the delivery, shipping and handling units statuses associated with an outbound delivery event handler.
SAP Event Management (SAP EM) can link, update and evaluate the event messages with the application data from the supply chain network. SAP EM allows monitoring, measure and evaluating business processes. It automatically monitors events that occur and those that have not been reported, for example, goods issue, purchase order transfer, production end, or unreported proof of delivery. SAP Event Management can automatically transfer data to a data warehouse system that uses key performance indicators to create performance data for the quality of execution and notification. SAP EM employs checking processes and notifies persons responsible to control events and checks the SAP Event Management-relevant objects as soon as they are saved in the application system. SAP EM is able to automatically inform the decision maker in critical situations that action is required such as automatic re-scheduling of the subsequent process step when a delay has occurred. Exchange and query information between partners like e-mail or Internet are handled by SAP EM.