Trade journal “Logistik heute” and the German Logistics Association (BVL) surveyed readers and members, the majority of them experts in IT, logistics, and supply chain management, and chose SAP as the “Best Logistics Brand 2019” in IT for transportation management.
Markus Rosemann, vice president of Digital Logistics and Supply Chain at SAP, is thrilled but not surprised that SAP Transportation Management (SAP TM) was recognized by the logistics experts. “Our application sets itself apart from other vendors’ systems in that it enables management of all transportation systems – road, rail, sea, and air freight – in a single, shared user interface and is not only designed for shippers but also supports other supply chain participants.”
The system is so flexible that it can be run with both on-premise and cloud-based SAP systems as well as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software from other providers. “Most importantly, we take a holistic approach that creates transparent, end-to-end processes to handle the entire transportation process,” says Rosemann.
Logistics companies, along with the logistics departments of manufacturers and merchants, are particularly affected by digital transformation. They represent the core of the supply chain in nearly all industries; manufacturers, wholesale and retail, e-commerce, business customers, and consumers all depend on well-functioning digital logistics processes. For the logistics sector, this presents both challenges and opportunities — they must develop intelligent strategies and systems to meet the increasing requirements.
The use of new digital technologies plays a key role. Commercial success in the heavily contested transportation and haulage sector will conceivably depend on the extent to which digital technologies — such as the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), mobile apps, and cloud computing — are used to improve efficiency and transparency in the supply chain while simultaneously cutting costs.
Supply Chain Often Triggers Upgrade to SAP S/4HANA
With its international interdependence and large number of involved parties, the logistics sector aims to achieve the closest possible integration across all players, from manufacturers to trucking companies, carriers, transshipping and cargo terminals, and even customs clearance and government authorities. In this domain, transportation management is a key logistics process.
“SAP TM is designed for use by manufacturers, merchants, and shipping companies alike,” says Rosemann. “It integrates all processes for transportation management in an end-to-end approach, including tendering, strategic freight procurement, order integration, demand management, planning, optimization, and even handling of freight costs.”
The backdrop of digital transformation means digital cooperation alone is no longer enough. “It isn’t about digitally mapping a process that used to be managed on paper; it’s about seizing the opportunities offered by new digital technologies like IoT, blockchain, and Big Data analytics to improve the process fundamentally,” says Rosemann.
Many companies have long recognized the potential offered by optimized supply chains. “We are seeing massive growth toward SAP S/4HANA,” he adds. “And many customers are basing their decision to move forward with the SAP S/4HANA transformation with logistics and supply chain optimization in mind.”
SAP TM as a Gateway to Modern Digital Technologies
SAP TM can be used both in the SAP S/4HANA environment and in separate, locally run satellite systems. As a result, users can take advantage of the extended range of SAP S/4HANA functions, including scenarios for IoT, blockchain, track and trace, and real-time analytics, to name just a few. “Consequently, all SAP TM users have the possibility to use modern, digital technologies and develop innovative solutions,” says Rosemann.
SAP TM forms the foundation for end-to-end handling of the transportation process and is a key module of the supply chain execution platform. This cross-industry platform goes beyond the mere transportation process, also integrating the ERP system and warehouse management.
“A full-fledged order fulfillment process requires close integration between ERP system, warehouse management, and transportation management,” says Rosemann. SAP provides this integration with the supply chain execution platform. The other platform components – ERP and warehouse management – also meet the approval of BVL members, as evidenced by the results of their previous choices for “Best Logistics Brand.”
SAP was recognized in IT for SCM/ERP in 2016 and for IT for Warehouse Management in 2017. This year, after a break in 2018, there were 186 brands to chose from in categories such as industrial trucks and providers of air freight, sea freight, road freight transportation, and courier, express, parcels (CEP) services, as well as logistics facilities development and airports.
Surveyed readers and more than 11,000 BVL members, including supply chain managers and logistics managers and experts, voted SAP the best brand in the transportation management category, ahead of 25 other competing companies.