The RFID enabled Transport Items process enables the outbound, inbound and return execution as well as location and status tracking of returnable containers/ pallets typically circulating between two business partner locations.
RFID enabled Returnable Transport Items
This process is shipped as a stand-alone deployment of SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure together with a direct integration into SAP Event Management. For the identification of returnable transport items the GRAI and GIAI EPC encoding schemes are supported. The RFID enabled returnable transport items process can be implemented with either a centrally deployed SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure, spanning for instance supplier and customer RTI locations, or in a distributed fashion featuring local SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure deployments in each major RTI or business partner location.
SAP Event Management provides shipping status (New, In-Transit, Delivered, Returned), RTI status (Filled or Empty) and RTI Maintenance status (OK or Damaged) as well as the prevailing location ID and document ID updates and the corresponding visibility related to returnable transport items across the business partner locations.
Analytics and Reporting
SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure 4.0 features direct extractors to SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence 7.02. Preconfigured BI query reports with corresponding KPIs are offered, that enable the reporting on the Quality of Reads and Quality of Writes, Current State of RTI Objects, Cycle Time across Locations (with and without ID) and Movements across Locations (with and without ID), as well as Stock Situation at Different Locations and Movements at Location by Action Type
In addition, SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure enables through the implementation of a BAPI the upload of observed EPC events by business partners. This enables besides extended reporting capabilities for instance the checking that all tagged products issued have been received by the business partner.
With SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure 4.0 another functional feature in form of RFID Stock Counting is introduced. RFID Stock Counting provides a type of cycle counting function for RFID tagged products and enables the comparison as well as updates/ clearance of physical RFID tagged stock counted in a location managed by SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure and the RFID stock information held by SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure database. It clears count results per location in SAP AII object and document tables. SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure in this context works in a stand-alone mode through mobile transactions.
User Data and Data on Tag
SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure supports both, the writing and reading of additional data on tag beyond the tag ID as well as the ability to link EPC IDs to associated user data. There is an important difference between Data on Tag and User Data. Data on Tag are additional data that are written or read from tags and reside on a tag. Inputs of data on tag may emanate from: user data, documents context, or fields calculated by activities during run-time and other external sources. User data on the other hand is a system of record held in SAP AII. User data is stored within the object context, for instance data maintained in SAP AII relating to a specific EPC. Input of User data may follow the read of data on tag, entries by users from UIs or fields calculated by activities during run-time.
In SAP AII, user data and the observations of data on tag (the values of data on tag at each read / write point) are stored as object and action object context, respectively. In SAP AII 4.0, users can provide inputs of what data fields (and their values) to be written on RFID tags by maintaining document context. The documents contexts are available in all SAP AII execution desktop UIs such as tag commissioning UI, conveyer pack UI.
SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure supports the latest EPC Tag Data Standards (64, 96, 170, 198 and 202 bit EPC encodings of GTIN, S-GTIN, SSCC, GRAI, GIAI & DoD Construct) and user definable encodings with the help of a BADI.
SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure 4.0 can be integrated in the standard with R/3 4.6C, R/3 4.7 EES 2.0 and SAP ERP using SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure 7.0. Optional integration components are SAP NetWeaver BI content 7.02, SAP SCM 4.1 or 5.0 for Event Management. SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure 4.0 uses the basis component SAP Web AS 7.0.
For RFID device integration SAP leverages the special expertise of its partner ecosystems in this space. SAP has actively engaged device controller and device management solution partners as well as RFID hardware vendors and has published a document defining standard interfaces for device controllers to SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure 4.0.
The Device Integration Interface has been enhanced in SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure 4.0 provides:
- A Common Subscription Data Model (CSDM) and a related User Interface
- Support for the ALE Protocol
- An HTTP/ Web Service test client.
The Common Subscription Data Model (CSDM) represents device subscription data that are common to all device protocols (ALE, PML, and SAP Web Services). A mapping mechanism provides the association between the common subscription data and the device specific interface specific subscription data. CSDM communicates the URL to which the device controller sends its notification messages.
A new user interface enables the maintenance of the device common subscription data and supports as such search, create update and delete actions.
As an Auto-ID Infrastructure, SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure is also extensible and offers customers the possibility to define additional RFID enabled transactions. SAP customers and partners are able to use standard ERP Idocs and map those with the help of SAP Exchange Infrastructure to SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure. Within SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure customers can then define own conditions, rules and activities to execute these transactions with RFID and update the corresponding transactions in ERP or legacy systems.
SAP meanwhile works with customers and partners and continues to develop value adding solutions commensurate with SAP’s customer engagement and technology strategy with the aim to make business real world aware and advance the business and technological promise of Auto-ID and unique identification.