New Transportation Management for the Bundeswehr (Part 2)

Feature Article | June 28, 2004 by admin

“We were able to model about 60% of the transportation and logistical requirements of the Bundeswehr with the SAP standard application. The remaining 40% had to be custom developed,” says Olaf Lehmann, subproject manager with Mummert Consulting, commenting on the technical aspects of the project. “We created a way for the Bundeswehr to enter pick-up and delivery addresses. This ensures logistical flexibility of transportation. About 35,000 Bundeswehr locations had to be stored in the SAP solution, for the most part addresses of civilian firms. Using a number for each administrative office, they were able to enter the addresses quickly and change them individually as necessary.”
The theoretically infinite number of possible addresses would make it seem senseless to previously define transportation routes. Therefore, routes are created dynamically once the transportation requirement is given. For routes within Germany, the system does this automatically because an internal distance calculator determines highway distance and driving times. For transportation to other countries, provided the same route has not been calculated for a previous order, distance and transportation time are entered in a separate step by the scheduler in the Bundeswehr Logistics Center.

The Packaging Unit Is Key

Now able to make scheduling requirements, the Bundeswehr has adopted civilian industry standards. When requesting transportation, a set date or an earliest or latest date for loading and unloading is required. Cargo is entered according to the largest packaging unit, for example, pallets, boxes, or containers. It was not the goal of this project to analyze the cargo to be transported in the packaging units (for example, materials planning); this is being dealt with separately. A list of packaging types common in the Bundeswehr is stored in SAP and can be changed if necessary.
In addition to the SAP standard, users can edit material details, such as descriptions, dimensions, or weight. “Because we do not have details of the cargo, it is not possible at this time to generate customs papers,” explains Colonel Thomas Schuck, department head of transport and transportation at the Logistics Center of the Bundeswehr. In addition to general cargo descriptions, such as hazardous cargo, users can also enter Bundeswehr-specific values such as Secret or War Weapons Control Act.

Wide Range of Transportation: From Letters to Leo II Tanks

To optimally schedule transports, a product matrix was implemented. The SAP solution uses this matrix as a suggestion for executing transportation. Bundeswehr cargo to be transported ranges from a simple package to personnel to various kinds of ammunition to the Leo II tank.
“Depending on the cargo structure and other criteria, such as the time available for the respective delivery and region (Germany, Europe, or overseas), the software determines the type of transportation. Within Germany, road and rail delivery are the main contenders, whereas for delivery from or to overseas transportation is by air or sea,” explains Matthias Martens, project manager at Mummert Consulting. For transport within Germany, the SAP solution also differentiates between packages, general cargo, transport according to demands, and express transports.
In the administrative offices connected to the solution, transportation requirements are entered directly into SAP R/3. For offices with few transportation demands or where technical requirements have not yet been met, transportation requirements are faxed to the Logistics Center in Wilhelmshaven, where they are entered into the system.

Scheduling and Optimization Yield a Profit

Once transportation requirements have been entered and, if necessary, manually corrected by the transportation receiving department, they are allocated to the processing specialists at the Logistics Center for scheduling. Depending on the type of transportation, specialists arrange transportation with the SAP solution. This activity is supported by several additional developments. Depending on the scheduling targets in the transportation requirement, the solution can, for example, determine schedules for transportation. Delivery time calculated for the particular the route is determined, as are loading and unloading times, depending on the cargo or even scheduling overhead, such as when loading trucks. For transports within Germany, the software determines the delivery time as soon as the transportation requirement is entered.
Depending on the latest possible time to begin unloading, the SAP solution reverse calculates, determining the time at which the transportation requirement needs to be scheduled. If this time is in the past, the specialist is notified. The software simultaneously determines a schedule that can still be kept. This notification is especially useful for transports that require a longer prep time according to route determination, for example, in the case of heavy material or ammunition. The software solution makes appropriate suggestions whether several transportation requirements can be combined.
The Bundeswehr also benefits from optimized transportation. For example, it is now possible to organize connecting transports and return deliveries. Depending on where unloading occurs, the scheduler can look for other transportation requirements that need to be selected in a certain radius depending on an appropriate date. Users can also select the shortest route, which optimizes transportation. The software calculates several routes, sorting them according to distance and pointing out to the scheduler which loading and unloading events could lead to delays. Here as well, the scheduler has to make the final call.
Toward the end of the project, the Bundeswehr will model budgetary aspects in SAP as well. “At all times, the Bundeswehr wants to be able to report on the current status of the budget already allocated. We are also implementing operations management with several qualifiers to ensure and improve cost-effective execution of Bundeswehr transports,” says Colonel Schuck. At this time, Bundeswehr staff are being trained to run the software. Eventually, transportation management will be integrated with the comprehensive SAP system of the Bundeswehr (SASPF).

Hans-Peter Bartsch

Hans-Peter Bartsch

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