When an order is placed by the customer and captured in SAP TM, multiple master data objects are used for planning, carrier selection, analytics, etc. Since, most get confused about the master data objects and their application, this blog is an effort to provide an insight into the two different master data objects – Transportation Lane and Trade Lane, which play a key role in order management. Here we will discuss about both the master data objects and their purpose.
But before that, you got to know that both the objects have a lot in common. Both are maintained between a starting point and a destination point. These starting and destination points can either be a specific Location or a Transportation Zone (collection of locations). In the sense, they can be maintained between Two Locations or between Two Zones or between one Location & another Zone. For example, from a plant to a specific city. The city might have multiple vendors/customers or other locations within it.
Transportation lane (Figure 1) stores attributes like validity, means of transport, duration, cost, carriers, distance, etc., which are used in planning process and carrier selection. When trying to plan an order, Vehicle Scheduling & Routing (VSR) optimizer looks for a valid lane. Based on the attributes assigned to that transportation lane, it plans the freight.
Other major use of the transportation lane is for carrier selection; system identifies all the carriers relevant for a specific Origin-Destination (O/D) Pair, looking at the lane. It also identifies whether the carrier is relevant for tendering, based on – “what kind of tendering?”, “what is the ranking for this carrier?”, “which cost strategy to use (based on cost/priority)?”, etc., from the transportation lane.
Figure 1: Transportation Lane
Use of trade lane is at a different level compared to the transportation lane. Trade lane is used to identify a Geographical area. Trade lanes are primarily used for:
- Business Shares & Allocations – Trade lanes can be used on the schedules, agreements and during carrier selections for allocations / business shares.
- Calculation Sheets & Agreements – Trade lanes are used as precondition on calculation sheets and agreements to identify their relevance.
- Reporting & analytics – Trade lanes can also be used for the reporting and analytics purpose, basically to filter on the geographical area.
An important point to note here is, trade lane does not influence optimizer planning. Unlike transportation lane where you need both origin and destination, trade lanes can be defined with different orientations such as – Inbound, Along, Within, Outbound, From , To, etc.
Figure 2: Trade Lane
Table 1: Major Functionalities of Transportation & Trade Lanes
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