Managing Freight Agreements

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Manage freight agreements
  • Manage rate tables
  • Configure charge management
  • Calculate charges

Freight Agreements

Master Data for Charge Calculation

In order to calculate the charges for a freight order or a freight booking, and to distribute the charges amongst the delivery items, you must maintain some master data for the purposes of charge calculation.

See the following video to learn more on the charge calculation master data.

Freight Agreement

Freight agreements are maintained in the Manage Freight Agreements app. You can create and edit freight agreements as the basis for calculating transportation charges payable by you to your carrier. You use freight agreements, along with calculation sheets, rates, and scales to efficiently manage long-term contracts with your carriers. The Manage Freight Agreements app allows you to do the following:

  • Create freight agreements with contractual data such as validity dates, charge lines, and rates

  • Copy existing freight agreements, including the calculation sheets, rates, and scales in the freight agreements

  • Display and edit freight agreement details, including calculation sheet items, rates, scales, and calculation rules

  • Add and edit larger volumes of rates using Microsoft Excel

  • Use rate tables in freight agreements instead of creating them locally in the freight agreements

  • Release freight agreements so that they can be used in freight orders to calculate charges

  • Edit released freight agreements (super users only)

  • Delete freight agreements (in process freight agreements only)

  • Display freight order details and access the freight order (in released freight agreements only)

On the header level of the freight agreement you maintain the fundamental information of a freight agreement, such as the following:

  • Purchasing organization
  • Carrier
  • Validity period (from/to)
  • Document currency
  • General Terms (main transportation mode and shipping type)

Calculation Sheet

The calculation sheet is used to calculate transportation charges. The calculation sheet combines the charge types permitted for a document and the sequence in which the system takes these charge types into account during the calculation. The system uses the calculation sheet to specify which transportation charges to calculate and how to calculate them. This helps to pay suppliers or carriers for subcontracted transportation services. The calculation sheet points to calculation sheet items and each calculation sheet item can result in a calculated amount.

Each calculation sheet item can consist of the following:

  • Charge type
  • Rate (either flat rate, local rate table or referenced rate table)
  • Calculation resolution base (root, product, or stage)
  • Calculation method (for example standard, breakweight)
  • Rounding profile
  • Reference item (for relative calculation sheet items)

In more detail, the items above refer to the following:

Rate:
Rates contain details of the rate table for each calculation sheet item. It is also possible to enter fixed rates or percentages of other lines in the calculation sheet.
Calculation Resolution Base:

During charge calculation, the system determines the calculation resolution base by the origin of the data on which the charge aspect is based. You can define the charge aspect for the resolution base as:

  • Root: This is the header of the freight order.

  • Stage: To utilize stage attributes such as distance between the locations visited on a tour.

  • Product: When product attributes like product quantity, weight or volume need to be used.

For example, you want to determine the freight rate based upon the gross weight of the freight order. To do this, you need to use the calculation resolution base of root. If, however, you want to calculate the freight on a per product basis, the calculation resolution base must be product.

You can use Microsoft Excel to speed up the process of adding and editing large volumes of rates in local rate tables. You download the rates to Microsoft Excel and then you can add rates, edit existing rates, and add scale items. Then you can upload your changes to the freight agreement. When you download the rates, the system creates a Microsoft Excel file for each calculation sheet item (charge type). The file name of each Microsoft Excel file is in the format of Rates_<ChgType>_<Timestamp>, for example, Rates_FB00_20230721123456.

The downloaded Microsoft Excel file includes the following details:

  • Charge type data

  • Currency

  • Organization data

  • Calculation rule

  • Calculation bases

  • Existing rates

If there is just one scale, or if all the scale bases have the Same Scale type, the rates are displayed in the file as a list. If there are multiple scales or the scale bases have different scale types, the rates are displayed in a table. The table is pivoted at the last added scale with its scale items as column headers.

Simulation

Watch the simulation Create Freight Agreement for Carrier Invoicing to learn more about the system-related activities.

Rate Tables

A rate is a price for a specific transportation service that applies only during its validity period. In transportation management, rates can be listed in a rate table.

You can define the following additional information for elements in a rate table:

  • Dimensions

    Add each dimension for the defined rate. For example, if you want the rate to be defined based on destination location and gross weight, add one dimension for destination location and one for gross weight

  • Calculation base

    Define the calculation base for the scale. The calculation base is the actual base or the factor on which the rate retrieval is performed, for example, gross weight or gross volume.

  • Validity period

    A rate table can consist of multiple validity periods. This is important if the validity period of the rate table does not match with the validity period of the freight agreement. For example, you can define the validity period for a freight agreement as a calendar year, whereas in the rate table you have four different validity periods, one for each quarter.

  • Calculation rule

    The calculation rule specifies how the charge is calculated. The calculation rule can use a different calculation base than any of the scales/dimensions. For example, you can use the calculation base Gross weight in the calculation rule, while the scales use the source and destination region as calculation bases.

The Manage Rate Table app allows you to create and edit rates centrally in rate tables. You can then use these rate tables in contracts with multiple carriers using the Manage Freight Agreements app. These rate tables are useful for transportation charges that are frequently needed in multiple freight agreements, for example, loading charges, toll charges, and insurance fees.

Note
You can also create local rate tables using the Manage Freight Agreements app, but those rate tables are specific to a freight agreement.

The following tasks can be performed in the Manage Rate Tables app:

  • Create rates centrally and use the rate tables in contracts with multiple carriers

  • Create multiple validity periods in a single rate table for charges that are dynamic, such as, tolls or taxes

  • Update rates for validity periods

  • Release validity periods so that the rate table can be used in freight agreements for that validity period

  • Copy existing rate tables, including the scales and validity periods, in the rate table

  • Display and edit rate table details, including charge types, scales, and validity periods

  • Upload and download rate tables to and from Microsoft Excel

  • Delete rate tables

Configuration of Charge Management

Configuration of Charge Management

In the area of transportation charge management, there are five configuration activities. These allow you to define charge types, charges profiles, calculation profiles, dimensional weight profiles and location calendars.

  1. Define Charge Profiles

    The charges profile allows you to define the general settings for charge calculation. Here you can assign a calculation profile and a distribution profile. The distribution profile defines whether you want the freight cost distributed to order/delivery items by gross weight, net weight, gross volume or distance times weight.

  2. Define Calculation Profiles

    You can assign a calculation profile to an organizational unit via the charges profile. You can define the following settings when you create or edit a calculation profile:

    • The calculation date type that the system uses as the basis for the rate and agreement validity determination during charge calculation
    • The exchange rate date type that the system uses as the basis for the exchange rate determination during charge calculation
    • The currency exchange rate type that the system uses as the basis of the currency exchange rate conversion
    • The calculation level that the system uses to determine at which level to calculate the charges, for example, at header level
  3. Define Charge Types

    You can create or edit charge types that are used to calculate transportation charges. Assigning a charge type to a calculation sheet line item or a rate table plays an important role in how the system calculates the transportation charges for that line. When you define charge types, you can make the following settings:

    • Specify whether a charge type can result in a positive or negative value.
    • Specify whether a charge type can be an absolute value or a percentage value.
    • Maintain its description (in different languages) in the Maintain Charge Type Descriptions section of the configuration activity.
    • Assign a transportation mode and shipping type to the charge type.

    The charge type will also be relevant in the settlement process. It is the basis for the mapping of transportation charges to services when creating the service purchase order in the settlement process. You can use the Create and Update Service Products - From Charge Types app to automatically create the corresponding configuration/mapping.

  4. Define Dimensional Weight Profiles

    The system uses dimensional weight profiles to determine transportation charges. You calculate the dimensional weight by converting the volume to the appropriate unit of measure and then dividing it by the dimensional weight factor. The result is the weight in the target unit of measure. The dimensional weight is then used in the charge calculation using the corresponding calculation base.

  5. Define Location Calendar

    This configuration step allows you to define a location calendar for a specific country or region using a factory calendar. During charge calculation, the system uses the country or region of the location and the factory calendar to determine whether the date used for charge calculation is a working day or a non-working day. This enables you to charge your customers with additional charges for providing services on non-working days.

Charge Calculation

Charge Calculation Process

You can calculate the charges for transporting goods in freight orders or freight bookings based on the rates that you maintain in a rate table, or locally in a freight agreement. A prerequisite for charge calculation in a freight order / freight booking is a valid, released freight agreement between the purchasing organization and carrier with rates for each calculation sheet item.

Note

You can not have a released agreement with the same validity period, purchase organization, and carrier (duplicate check).

If you are using a rate table instead of a local rate table or flat rate, you must release the validity period in the rate table that you want to use to calculate charges for the freight order.

The system determines the relevant freight agreement based on the business partner (carrier) and purchasing organization. The calculation date must be within the validity period of the freight agreement.

The freight order contains the logistical data on which the charges are based, such as source location, destination location, item information, and quantities.

The system determines the transportation charges and rates agreed based on logistical data from the calculation sheet items, rates, and scales of the freight agreement. The following information may be used:

  1. Agreement validity period

    The freight agreement must be valid and released for the system to calculate the transportation charges.

  2. Rate table validity period

    If you are using a rate table, the relevant validity period must be released in the rate table for the system to calculate the transportation charges.

  3. Calculation date

    The system uses the date (e.g. order date or start of main stage) as the basis for the rate, exchange rate, agreement validity, and ultimately the charge calculation based on what was defined in the relevant calculation profile.

  4. Calculation sheet items

    Calculation sheet items are used to specify which transportation charges are calculated and how they are calculated. Each calculation sheet item can result in a calculated amount.

  5. Rates

    The system determines the most appropriate rate when calculating transportation charges, based on certain criteria and attributes in the freight order / freight booking and freight agreement.

  6. Document currency

    The charges are calculated in the document currency.

The system calculates transportation charges automatically for freight orders when you transfer the freight orders from a de-central transportation management system to Transportation Management (TM) in SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition or when the freight order is updated (internal transportation planning). For example, if the source business document (sales order) is changed, this results in a change of the freight unit and ultimately in a change to the freight order, either through an update from the de-central transportation management system or from internal planning. You can also manually calculate transportation charges in the Manage Freight Orders app.

The freight order can have the following charge calculation statuses:

  • Calculated - Charge calculation was successful for the freight order

  • Calculation Error - Data is missing or incorrect, for example, the freight agreement is missing from the freight order or the local currency is missing from the freight agreement

  • Not Calculated - No freight agreement could be determined, e.g. because the carrier is missing in the freight order

You can access charge calculation details on the Charges tab of freight orders / freight bookings in the Manage Freight Orders and Manage Freight Bookings app. The Charges tab contains general charge data and also details of each charge line, for example, the charge type, rate, exchange rate, and calculated amount.

Rate Determination

When determining the rates, the system considers the following:

  • Calculation method

    When calculating a rate during charge calculation, the system applies a standard, clipping, or breakweight calculation method to calculate the charges for the charge type.

    An example of this is shown in the following table:

    Rate Table for Illustration of Different Calculation Methods

    Gross WeightRate
    Up to 100kg2,00 EUR/kg
    Up to 200kg1,80 EUR/kg
    Up to 500kg1,50 EUR/kg

    The Standard calculation method, takes the gross weight and uses the rate for the individual scale item for its calculation:

    • Gross weight: 95 kg ==> 95 kg * 2,00 EUR/kg = 190 EUR
    • Gross weight: 110 kg ==> 110 kg * 1,80 EUR/kg = 198 EUR

    The Clipping calculation method, takes the incremental gross weight for each scale item and uses the rate for the individual scale item for its calculation:

    • Gross weight: 95 kg ==> 95 kg * 2,00 EUR/kg = 190 EUR
    • Gross weight: 110 kg ==> 100 kg * 2,00 EUR/kg + 10 kg * 1,80 EUR/kg = 218 EUR

    The Breakweight calculation method, compares the entry price of the subsequent scale item according to the Standard calculation method, and the standard price for the actual weight and chooses the minimum:

    • Gross weight: 95 kg ==> 95 kg * 2,00 EUR/kg = 190 EUR OR 100 kg * 1,80 EUR/kg = 180 EUR ==> Minimum is 180 EUR
    • Gross weight: 110 kg ==> 110 kg * 1,80 EUR/kg = 198 EUR OR 200 kg * 1,50 EUR/kg = 300 EUR ==> Minimum is 198 EUR

    The Fuel Surcharge Calculation method allows you to calculate fuel surcharges based on two different models. Fuel Surcharge Calculation Model 1 is widely used in North America. With this model, you calculate the fuel surcharge based on the fuel surcharge index based on the origin location or zones. To calculate the fuel surcharge, you must maintain two rate tables:

    • A rate table with the fuel surcharge rates for the corresponding fuel surcharge values.
    • A rate table with the location, dates or validity, and the respective fuel surcharge values. You use this rate table as the index base rate table.

    In Fuel Surcharge Calculation Model 2 the logistic service provider or carrier agrees with the customer on an index base date based on which the system determines the base fuel surcharge value. The actual fuel surcharge is calculated based on the current fuel surcharge value and base fuel surcharge value. To calculate the fuel surcharge, you define an index base rate table with the fuel surcharge values for specific calculation dates or validities. You can also define a rate table with the fuel surcharge values for scale items such as location and calculation dates or validity periods.

  • Resolution base

    The system calculates the charges based on the resolution base, which is as follows:

    • PRODUCT- Products being transported

    • ROOT- Freight order

    • STAGE- Transportation stage

  • Scales

    Scales are used to define a parameter, which then defines a rate. For example, if a rate depends upon distance and weight, you define a separate scale for distance and weight. The distance and weight scales are then used to define the rate.

  • Calculation base

    The system calculates charges for a scale based on the calculation base, for example, gross weight, net volume, or destination location. A calculation base corresponds to an underlying scale base. A scale base is generic, but a calculation base is more specific. For example, there is a scale base for weight and calculation bases for gross weight, net weight, and dimensional weight. Therefore, you use a calculation base to allow the system to calculate a charge for different kinds of factors, such as weight, volume, and distance.

  • Charge type

    The charge type helps you to determine how the system calculates the transportation charges for the charge line. The charge type also determines the type of value (absolute or percentage) that you can enter for a calculation sheet item. A charge type can result in a positive or negative value for a charge line.

  • Flat rates, relative rates, or percentages

    • Specify a flat rate for a calculation sheet item by entering an amount and a valid currency.

    • Specify a relative rate for a calculation sheet line item by specifying a calculation rule and the rates.

      Note
      Only one calculation rule can be specified at the line-item level and you must specify the calculation rule if you have a relative calculation base as a scale.
    • You can specify that a calculation sheet item is a percentage of another calculation sheet item by entering a percentage value (%) as the currency, and a reference line number or a range of reference lines.

  • Minimum and maximum amounts

    You can specify a minimum or maximum amount for specific charges in the local calculation sheet of freight agreements. Then, during charge calculation, the system compares the calculated charge to the minimum or maximum amount. If the calculated charge is higher or lower than the minimum or maximum amount, the system charges the minimum or maximum value instead.

    Note
    You can specify the minimum and maximum amounts only for scales with the Same Scale scale type and a relative calculation type.

You can monitor freight orders that have calculation errors with the Monitor Calculation Errors - Freight Orders app. You can also use the app to calculate the charges, which helps with analyzing the errors. When you complete these tasks, you can resolve the errors in the relevant app (for example, specifying a rate that is missing for a mandatory charge in the Manage Freight Agreements app or the Manage Rate Tables app) so that the freight orders can be included in financial postings.

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