Transportation optimization: Make it real thanks to GIS Integration

Transportation optimization: Make it real thanks to GIS Integration

Article by Jean Neuville, Supply Chain Consultant at Beelogix


Transportation costs usually represent a fair amount of the supply chain costs. Reducing these costs often means optimizing transportation planning and grouping deliveries.

Consider this transportation network:

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Out of every possible scenario, coming up with the most affordable one requires various questions to be replied to, such as:

Is it better to group all deliveries and use one Full-Truck-Load? Or is it better to group two of them? Should we use three different Less-Than-Truck-Loads?

These are typical questions that can be answered thanks to SAP Transportation Management optimizer. It considers transportation costs, duration, distance, material constraints and incompatibilities, resources capabilities, available carriers and other criteria to eventually propose an optimal route and loading plan that meets operational objectives and reduces overall transportation costs.

While everyone is able to evaluate the cost of transportation per kilometer, it is way harder to have detailed information regarding duration and distances between all the locations of a given transportation network. To do so, a third-party system needs to come into play.

SAP TM – PC*MILER Integration

SAP TM offers an integration tool to a Geographic Information System (GIS), customizable according to the selected third-party. Beelogix has used it to integrate PC*MILER.

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This enables various functionalities that feed the optimizer with precise data for it to provide the best possible transportation plans.

  • Pair all addresses to their coordinates.

Every address of the transportation network is transmitted to PC*MILER. Based on this data, geo-coordinates are calculated and sent back to TM. This process can be batched to achieve near real-time replication.

  • Distance and duration determination

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Transmitting data to the GIS allows it to calculate and provide the duration and distance between the different locations of your network. This information is displayable on a detailed map, which is available both on your transportation cockpit and to your transportation partners on the collaboration portal.

The GIS considers every relevant information such as blocked roads, new sense of circulation… to find an optimized path. Then, duration and distances are stored in a buffer and are easily used by the optimizer when it is time to generate transportation plans.

In the end, this integration helps optimizing your transportation planning. And, by doing so, getting the best out of your transportation network. As we move forward, we are excited to see what will be up next with the new releases of SAP TM!