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SAP LE-TRA and SAP TM

What users should know during migration

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Under SAP ECC, very many companies work with the LE-TRA transport module. The successor solution for SAP S/4HANA is called SAP Transportation Management, or SAP TM for short. This comes in different variants, including an embedded variant as a sub-module of SAP S/4HANA. We examine which TM variant fits your requirements and how TM differs from LE-TRA. We also provide general tips for migrating your transport processes and SAP add-ons.

Table of contents

1. what is LE-TRA?

SAP ECC has its own logistics module, called Logistics Execution, or LE. This logistics component had functions for managing shipments in addition to warehouse management (WM). This single module is also known as LE-TRA.

LE-TRA can be used to plan, execute and settle transport processes. However, SAP has also discontinued LE-TRA with the end of ECC maintenance (2027 or with extended maintenance 2030). As things stand, many companies will continue to use LE-TRA after the end of maintenance, probably even without any problems. Alternatively, companies can rely on SAP Transportation Management.

2. what is SAP TM?

SAP TM is the current transport solution from the SAP portfolio, which has been around since 2015. For some years now, it has been available not only as a standalone system, but also as an integrated, or rather "embedded" TM in S/4HANA.

2.1 The different variants of SAP TM

SAP TM is not just SAP TM. The system is available in different versions, with the scope of functions differing on the one hand and the deployment variant on the other.

In terms of functionality, SAP TM is available in two variants: a basic variant ("Basic Shipping") and an "Advanced" variant. The latter is intended for extended and optimized process functionalities, especially for logistics service providers such as freight forwarders.

2.2 For whom is SAP TM Advanced suitable?

Advanced Shipping has some functions that go beyond Basic Shipping. These are mainly relevant for companies that have to manage their own fleet, i.e. plan and control freight within the company. This applies largely to companies such as freight forwarders or very large companies with different locations.

For small companies, this transport management is mostly uninteresting. They can also fully manage their transports with the functions of the Basic variant, for example, if they need to compile deliveries and assign them to individual transports.

2.3 Deployment: Standalone or Embedded TM?

Another decision that companies opting for the Advanced variant have to make is the deployment. The Advanced variant can also be used integrated in an S/4HANA system, in which case it is called Embedded SAP TM. If one decides on decentralized deployment, this is the standalone variant of SAP TM.

The latter is interesting for companies that use several S/4HANA systems that have to be integrated into one SAP TM. Another reason may be that the performance and availability of SAP TM must be guaranteed permanently, which is why releases or errors in adjacent SAP systems must not have any effect on the TM system. If you have neither a complex system landscape nor particularly critical transport processes, the embedded solution is recommended.

2.4 What is the difference between LE-TRA and TM Basic Shipping?

Among the various TM variants, SAP TM Basic Shipping, as an integrated part of the S/4HANA system, is most likely a successor to the LE-TRA module. Comparing TM Basic Shipping with LE-TRA, the available processes and functions seem to be roughly the same. For example, both systems support the handling of dangerous goods management, the process of tendering to forwarders, and the settlement and distribution of recorded freight costs to the SAP FI/CO system.

Capabilities LE-TRA basic Transportation Management Advanced TM
Delivery based Transportation Management 50 50 100
Combine inbound and outbound deliveries 0 0 100
Order based Transportation Management 0 0 100
Manual Planning 50 50 100
Automatic Planning (Planning Cockpit) 0 0 100
Driver Management 0 0 100
Mode specific capabilities for planning 0 0 100
Strategic Freight Management 0 0 100
Group Logistics Management (Future TM) 0 0 100
Event Management Integration 0 0 100
GTS Integration 0 0 100
Tendering 50 50 100
LBN Integration 0 50 100
ASR - direct integration TM-EWM 0 50 100
Capabilities LE-TRA basic Transportation Management Advanced TM
Automated Carrier Selection 0 0 100
Scheduling 0 50 100
Dangerous Goods Management 100 100 100
Charge Calculation 50 50 100
Cost distribution 100 100 100
Freight Cost Settlement 75 75 100
Customer billing for Shipper scenario 100 100 100
Self Billing / Credit Memo 100 100 100
Incoming invoice verification 100 100 100
Analytics 25 25 100
Data Aging 0 0 100
Forwarding Order Management 0 0 100
Forwarding Settlement 0 0 100
Internal Settlement (Future TM) 0 0 100
Interfaces 100 100 100

Quelle: https://www.sap.com/germany/documents/2021/08/7231ed24-f47d-0010-bca6-c68f7e60039b.html#page=8

However, SAP TM Basic uses different names for the same functions or objects and the data basis is different due to the integration in S/4HANA. However, you can take the familiar functions and processes with you as part of your migration. However, special processes, Z programs and SAP enhancements are of particular importance. If you use such enhancements for your transport processes, it makes sense to take a closer look at them before you start the migration.

3. S/4HANA migration, special processes and enhancements

Many companies use the migration to S/4HANAto get rid of old baggage: Back to the standard is often the motto. Companies that have worked with SAP ECC and therefore LE-TRA are happy to take a close look at whether they still need previous Z programming or add-ons when switching to TM functionalities.

The attempt to map processes in SAP close to the standard has arisen primarily from experience with complicated extension developments. Every additional program that intervenes in SAP processes can cause problems elsewhere. Systems that have been in existence for a long time have often undergone a whole series of additions, which can always potentially lead to problems, failures or errors when new releases or process changes are made, for example.

So in principle, the effort to return to the standard makes a lot of sense. However, the functions of SAP TM already remain at the same level as LE-TRA in the Basic version. Those who needed SAP enhancements for the correct execution of their processes with LE-TRA will continue to rely on them under SAP TM.

Attention: Technically, some things have changed. For example, there is a new Advance Shipping Notice (ASN) under SAP TM. In times of SAP ECC, this was an IDoc with the designation SHPMNT05. SAP TM, however, works with the XML format.

 

One industry that this will definitely affect is the automotive industry: Since car manufacturers (called OEMs) have very precise specifications for deliveries (sequential delivery, electronic data exchange, labeling, shipping documents), suppliers with SAP systems have always been dependent on enhancements.

The SAP standard, i.e. the functions of LE-TRA, could not meet OEM requirements. This will continue to be the case with SAP TM. For example, important fields that are essential for the automotive industry are missing here. Intervention in the standard is therefore absolutely necessary here.

 

3.1 What should companies look out for during migration?

S/4HANA has a different technological basis than the predecessor system SAP ERP. Accordingly, add-ons or extensions cannot be adopted without intervention. However, it is possible to make extensions or add-ons executable under S/4HANA.

If you have been obtaining your add-ons from an external provider up to now, and they are not in-house developments, it is advisable to seek a discussion with the provider at an early stage before the actual S/4HANA migration. They can support you in this process,

  • Technically ensure that your add-ons continue to work smoothly
  • To give you recommendations which add-ons are also necessary under SAP TM and which add-ons you can do without.

 

Another alternative may be to focus on add-ons developed specifically for S/4HANA. This may mean that you have to change providers or that even with the same provider, the functions of the add-ons are different from what you are used to. Instead, these add-ons have been designed specifically for S/4HANA, are optimized for the system and use the more modern interfaces.

 

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