RF-Enable Logistics Transactions for Automated Data Collection in Real Time

  • by Vijay Garg, SAP Senior Functional Consultant
  • December 1, 2003
When you implement bar-coding and radio-frequency (RF) technology in your warehouse or plant, you must modify a number of commonly used SAP transactions so that they recognize RF devices. The author of this article lists the transactions you will likely have to modify and provide advice for doing so.
As more and more companies turn to bar-coding and radio-frequency (RF) technology to automate data collection for their manufacturing and warehouse operations, SAP logistics teams are faced with the challenge of integrating these technologies with the appropriate R/3 logistics modules. This is typically done through SAPConsole, which offers a large number of standard functions for mobile data entry.

However, users have been demanding transactions designed to achieve higher efficiency in logistics operations that go beyond what these standard functions offer. This has paid rich dividends in terms of automating and improving receiving and shipping processes, reducing errors due to elimination of manual data entry processes, and achieving better visibility of materials in warehouses by crisp labels and bar codes. The price for these dividends is the work required to write custom transactions.

If the standard SAPConsole suite does not meet user requirements (which is happening increasingly), you can create your own RF-enabled transactions that recognize RF devices. These need to be custom-written within ABAP if users require changes, integrate multiple transactions within one transaction, or need additional screens. Success depends on judicious and intelligent use of logic, SAP call routines, and standard SAP transactions to meet the user requirements.

I recently participated in two projects for Fortune 100 companies working with R/3 logistics modules where the RF and bar-coding projects were done with great success. They involved multiple production plants and distribution warehouses located over a one- to three-square-mile area and in warehouses of 250,000 to 500,000 square feet. The scope involved MM, WM, and some PP functionality. The logic used to customize the transactions is generally available in SAP R/3 in the form of call functions.

What follows are the types of transactions we had to RF-enable along with advice for customizing a few important transactions. If you are new to RF scanning, you might want to read the sidebar, “How RF Scanning Works."

Vijay Garg

Vijay Garg, PMP, has more than 14 years of SAP project management and implementation experience with Fortune 500 companies in the high-tech, chemicals, CPG, and engineering industries using various SAP Business Suite applications as well as SAP APO. Prior to working in SAP, he had vast experience in the engineering industry, including software development and applications.

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