Lessons Learned: How to Effectively Implement Web Services for Shipping

  • by Joshua Riff, President, Blue Harbors Consulting
  • September 18, 2012
In this thought-provoking case study, Josh Riff draws on his years of SCM experience to clearly and concisely show you how to get the most out of the SaaS shipping solution provided by parcel carriers. Using real-world scenarios, the author focuses on his experience implementing the SAP Express Ship Interface (XSI) for a large pharmaceutical company.

The company that is the subject of this case study operates a distribution network in the pharmaceutical industry in the United States. Here is a summary of the distribution environment:

  • The solution would be deployed in high-volume distribution centers. More than 7,000 shipping labels are generated daily and the company needs to print them quickly, dependably, and error free.
  • The distribution centers serve the healthcare, life sciences, and pharmaceutical industry, and ship time-critical ambient and cold-chain (refrigerated and frozen) medicine.
  • The customers are located domestically and internationally. This means that international documentation (e.g., air waybills, commercial invoices) needs to be produced along with the shipping labels in an automated fashion.
  • In addition to conventional ground, air, and international shipments, Less Than Truckload (LTL), FedEx SmartPost service (a collaboration between FedEx and USPS), and reverse logistics (customer returns) need to be supported.
  • Multiple shipping accounts are required for each carrier to support billing and reporting needs. Accounts are assigned to shipments based on the payment option selected to pay for shipping costs. The following payment types are used: bill the shipper, bill the recipient, and, in the case of third-party logistics (3PL) programs, bill a third party.
  • The shipping partners are FedEx and UPS.

Joshua Riff

Josh Riff co-founded Blue Harbors Consulting in 2001 and currently acts as chief executive officer and president. In addition to providing clients with executive consultancy regarding SAP planning, implementation, and services, he leads Blue Harbors' business planning and development initiatives. Prior to founding Blue Harbors, Josh held consultant, team lead, and SAP project management positions. With more than a decade’s worth of SAP consulting experience, he has completed a variety of high-visibility SAP projects for companies such as PerkinElmer, McKesson Pharmaceutical, Barr Pharmaceutical, and Seminis. Josh Riff has a bachelor of arts in English literature from the University of New Hampshire and earned a certificate in materials management and procurement from the University of California, Berkeley.

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