Ease Supply Chain Planning with APO Transportation Lanes

  • by Wolfgang Eddigehausen
  • March 1, 2005
APO allows you to create and maintain lanes of transportation for your own facilities as well as those to and from your suppliers and customers. It also provides the tools to determine the most cost-effective way to transport materials. This overview explains the technology and provides some great tips for using it.
Key Concept

The relationships among each locations in a supply chain can be modeled using transportation lanes in APO. They are created in APO based on master data that is defined in R/3.

I'll offer you a look at creating and maintaining transportation lanes as well as discuss how APO and R/3 communicate to maintain them. I'll also tell you about a little-known but very helpful tool in APO that allows you to maintain several transportation lanes at the same time. First, let's review how the transportation lanes technology has evolved over the course of various APO releases.

Evolution of Transportation Lanes

The APO Core Interface (CIF) plays a vital role in the transmission of transportation lanes from R/3 to APO. Its functionality has been significantly increased with successive APO releases. In APO 3.0 (and earlier), transportation lanes were based on external procurement relationships defined in R/3 such as purchasing information records and outline agreements, which refer to purchasing contracts and scheduling agreements. If any of these master data objects were defined in R/3, then a transportation lane was created in APO. The main shortcoming of this approach was that all the required transportation lanes connecting own locations had to be maintained manually in APO. These early releases also did not support the automatic creation of transportation lanes for subcontracting processes.

With the release of APO 3.1, mass maintenance functionality was added, which significantly improved the manageability for transportation lanes. The transportation lane mass maintenance employed the same user interface as the mass maintenance function for other data objects (e.g., product master). With the added functionality, it became possible to select specific transportation lanes based on the values of any field stored in the transportation lane and update them as required. Before this introduction, transportation lanes had to be maintained manually one by one.

Wolfgang Eddigehausen

Wolfgang Eddigehausen is a highly experienced expert in the areas of business process design, re-engineering, and user adaption, as well as process realization in complex SAP-centric environments. He has experience in solution and enterprise architecture and project management (PRINCE2 certified) domains defining enterprise capabilities with a focus on delivering effective and efficient solutions to organizations. Wolfgang's industry knowledge includes public sector, utilities, mining, distribution, general manufacturing, process and steel industries, and consumer goods.

In most roles his task is not only to architect a solution but also to evaluate and define strategic options with a focus on end-to-end solutions rather than systems. This also includes strong emphasis on the user acceptance through an innovative user experience and mobility enablement.

His career includes successful participation and management of projects in Australia, Europe, India, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, and the US. These projects required interaction with all levels of an organization, from the shop floor or office through to the CxO level. Throughout his career, Wolfgang has put emphasis on a holistic approach bringing together people, processes, information, and systems in project management, architecture, and implementation roles.

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