Freight units are created from preceding business documents such as sales orders, purchase orders or stock transport orders. Freight units define the set of materials in a sales order, which can and must be transported together. They are the smallest entity in the transportation process. Therefore, all materials (sales order items) that are merged into one freight unit are transported together from the source of the transport (e.g. shipping point) to its destination (e.g. customer).
Freight units are the basis for the subsequent planning process.
Creating Freight Units
Whether the transportation management process is initiated with the creation of freight units or not depends on the transportation relevance of the sales order (purchase order, stock transport order, delivery). The transportation relevance of a sales order can be defined in a configuration activity. The transportation relevance of a sales order depends on the following criteria:
- Sales organization
- Distribution channel
- Sales document type
- Shipping condition
Shipping condition 05 is the shipping condition that is delivered as standard best practice customizing for use of transportation management. It is used for internal transportation planning as well as external transportation planning depending on which scope items you have activated in your tenant. In your project you have to define how you want to use a specific shipping condition as part of this configuration to define transportation relevance.
The transportation relevance of a purchase order or stock transport order depends on the following criteria:
- Purchasing organization
- Purchasing group
- Order type
The transportation relevance of a delivery document depends on the following criteria:
- Shipping point / receiving point
- Delivery type
- Shipping condition
Based on these criteria, a control key and logistics integration profile gets determined. Four different control keys exists. The control key 0052 defines that a sales order or sales scheduling agreement is transportation relevant as well as the outbound deliveries that get created with respect to this sales document. The control key 0055 defines the same for purchase orders and corresponding inbound deliveries, whereas the control key 0060 defines the same for stock transport orders and corresponding outbound deliveries. Finally, control key 0052 defines the same for outbound deliveries. The logistics integration profile is responsible for initiating the freight unit building process.
In the logistics integration profile the freight unit building rule, e.g. SFUBR1 is assigned. The following logistics integration profiles are pre-defined for different use cases:
- S001: External planning outbound
- S002: Internal planning outbound
- S003: Internal planning inbound
- S004: External planning inbound
- S005: External planning STO
- S006: Internal planning STO
How freight units are created, for example, if one freight unit is created for the complete sales order or whether one freight unit is created for each sales order item depends on a number of hard constraints and the freight unit building rule. Freight unit building rules can be defined in the Manage Freight Unit Building Rules app.
A hard constraint for the creation of separate freight units is the deviation of locations. Since freight units represent the smallest unit in the process, that is transported from the source to the destination of the transport together, two sales order items that have different shipping points, that is, different source locations of the transport, can not be transported together and therefore need to be assigned to different freight units. Another hard constraint would be deviating dates. If a customer asks for a delivery date (requested delivery date) of one sales order item next week and another sales order item the week after, the transportation of these two items should not happen together, but rather separately, again requiring the creation of separate freight units for each sales order item.
In addition to hard constraints, the creation of freight units can be enacted using freight unit building rules. A use case for a split quantity in a freight unit building rule is the following: Assume you have received an order for a large quantity, for example, 50 tons, which can not be transported in one go. The split quantity defines the size of the individual chunks that are being transported to fulfill the order, e.g. the truck size.
See the following video to learn more about the freight unit building rules.
Managing Freight Units
When you have created freight units, they can be managed in the Manage Freight Units app. As a transportation manager, you might need to keep track of freight units on a daily basis and be aware of any issues, such as planning backlogs and delays. The app contains all the information you need to keep up-to-date on incoming transportation demands (freight units) and to identify any potential problems. The freight units are displayed in a list and, if you select one freight unit, detailed information is shown. Most of the information in a freight unit is display-only, that is, if you need to change freight units, you have to change the predecessor document (e.g. sales order) from which the freight unit originated.
You can use the Manage Freight Units app to do the following:
- Search, filter, sort, and group the list of freight units by relevant criteria such as execution block, requested start date, source and destination locations, and planning status.
- Select freight units and view more detailed information such as the products to be transported and review the dangerous goods status.
Create note texts and include attachments
Selecting a freight unit takes you to a more detailed view. Underneath, you can view details from the freight unit, with links to General Information, Items, Stages, and Block Information taking you directly to that data. For example, under Items, you can view information such as product to be transported, number of pieces, gross weight and volume, and transportation group. The paying company code, which is derived from the sales order, is displayed on the Stages view. Freight units can only be assigned to a freight order if their paying company code matches the procuring company code on the header level of the freight order. In the Document Flow view you can view the predecessor document of the freight unit, that means the sales order or purchase order on which the freight unit is based, as well as the successor documents such as the freight order to which the freight unit has been assigned during external planning or planning using the transportation cockpit.
This detailed information enables you to take swift action to remedy any possible issues. For example, if you notice on the header that in the next five days there are several new freight units that were not planned, you can view further details of each unit underneath.