Supply chain networks are becoming increasingly complex. This makes interaction between the actors involved more difficult and there are gaps in the traceability of goods during transport. Loss of information can also result in deficient route planning and rising freight costs. One solution to these challenges is SAP LBN (SAP Logistics Business Network).
The cloud-based module is part of the SAP Supply Chain Network (SAP SCN) platform and can be used for cross-divisional process optimisation along the supply chain in combination with SAP TM (SAP Transportation Management).
SAP LBN (SAP Logistics Business Network) offers an open, central platform through which shippers and logistics service providers can network with each other easily and efficiently. The digitalised exchange of data and information simplifies cooperation, reduces time and costs.
- End-to-end transparency across company boundaries
- Minimisation of information loss
- Shortened response times
- Accelerated processing of transactions
- Possibility for continuous process optimisation
SAP LBN can be used in addition to SAP TM (SAP Transportation Management) to further exploit the potential of the cloud and to realise cross-company communication and interaction in transport planning and processing.
- Freight Collaboration - networked, automated order communication between shippers and forwarders
- Global Track & Trace - seamless end-to-end transparency along the entire supply chain
- Material Tracebility - Blockchain-supported and role-based possibility of material traceability
Shippers integrate preferred carriers into their network and, if required, request a quotation for the transport service to be provided. Selected transport service providers have access to all information relevant for order processing with just one click.
SAP LBN (SAP Logistics Business Network) enables seamless, end-to-end communication and interaction between the shipper/consignee and connected, external logistics service providers. Relevant information, for example freight orders, and documents are exchanged and jointly managed via this open, central platform. The system creates end-to-end transparency in real time and thus makes a decisive contribution to being able to plan transport and logistics processes securely and optimise them constantly, taking current requirements into account. This form of automated or end-to-end digital order management and control thus simplifies the management of each individual transaction.
In addition, SAP LBN offers both transport service providers and clients (consignees and/or shippers) the possibility of planning and booking loading and unloading times interactively directly in the system.
Company-internal isolated solutions for order processing are dissolved and standardised as well as combined in a barrier-free manner on one platform. The software supports, among other things, freight tendering or the procurement of required capacities, transport planning, booking of delivery gates and invoice verification.
All participants in the network have direct access via a uniform interface and can access a database that is always up-to-date and consistent at the same time. They can exchange information with other partners at any time and process necessary transactions without having to access third-party providers or being dependent on time and place. Ad-hoc transports can also be realised quickly and efficiently.
How do SAP LBN and SAP TM complement each other?
SAP Transportation Management (SAP TM) is the central transport management system for transport planning, execution and freight cost management. With SAP LBN, SAP SE is refining the focus on networked, cross-company digitalised communication and collaboration between clients and freight forwarders in the cloud. Access is role-based and the structured exchange of information about the current processing status virtually eliminates misinterpretations.
The full potential of SAP Logistics Business Network can be tapped in combination with SAP TM. The cloud platform provides three additional applications: "Freight Collaboration", "Global Track & Trace" and "Material Tracebility". This makes it possible, without middleware, for dispatchers who create an order in SAP TM, which is integrated into the core of SAP S/4HANA, and need an adequate transport service provider, to send their search query directly to SAP LBN. If a forwarder has sufficient capacity, this can be confirmed ad hoc by submitting an offer via the platform. This information is visualised in SAP TM, the dispatcher can accept the offer and trigger the order. In addition to this possibility of transport tendering, the necessary communication for freight cost clarification management can also be mapped directly via SAP LBN. In this way, forwarders can make their freight invoices available digitally to the ordering parties, who can then approve the invoice total after checking the amounts or initiate the clarification management directly with SAP TM and SAP LBN.
SAP LBN (SAP Logistics Business Network) follows the principle of an open, cloud-based system architecture. Shippers or users of the platform can freely design their network by creating a central partner directory and integrating selected logistics service providers into the community by assigning roles via a standardised interface. Forwarders can join by invitation and work together with the customer on an order-related basis. Access to stored information can be either stationary or mobile via only one central access point.
In addition to this integration option, SAP offers a large standardised platform for service provider collaboration through selected partnerships that have service provider content.
What are the central functions in SAP LBN?
This function aims at the basic principle of SAP LBN to connect business partners from the freight sector in a collaborative network in which they manage transactions among themselves, exchange documents and benefit from jointly gained knowledge. When shippers and forwarders collaborate, it is also possible to share information on individual process steps or the current status quo. The otherwise time-consuming search for a suitable logistics service provider is no longer necessary, and a suitable forwarder is quickly available. In addition, the close-meshed cooperation helps to reduce the number of daily empty runs.
Global Track & Trace
This option creates the conditions for continuous end-to-end transparency across all processes along the supply chain. It enables constant traceability of objects, processes and events. The recorded tracking information is processed in the cloud and stored securely. Status quo messages can also be transmitted via app to the involved actors. In addition, rules can be created that automatically trigger further measures relevant to the order context. In the event of delivery delays or other deviations, it is no longer necessary to notify the partners accordingly, as they are all informed of the incident in real time. The "supply chain visibility" gained also enables the participants to continuously optimise their processes.
The "Material Traceability" function enables SAP LBN users or authorised participants to trace goods back to the point of manufacture. This is done via SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain Service (SCP). Supported by blockchain technology, all information on the product history is provided without gaps. This is particularly important for shippers and forwarders who are active in the food industry, which places particularly high demands on traceability and quality assurance. In this way, SAP LBN also helps to meet legal requirements. The status information is visible to all participants as soon as a product has left the factory. Previous process stations or downstream steps from the time of delivery are only known to the shipper.
What benefits does SAP LBN bring to transport logistics?
Paperless, automated order communication in the area of transport management has the decisive advantage of shortening response times, speeding up processes and eliminating misunderstandings between shippers and forwarders that can result in information losses.
By using SAP Logistics Business Network, you create end-to-end visibility and are able to make sound decisions for dynamic yet efficient transport logistics planning and execution based on real-time data and forecasts. Individual processes that were previously handled in-house and had to be coordinated accordingly can now be handled jointly by network participants with the help of SAP LBN. This automated, seamless collaboration - or holistic control - increases the efficiency of the entire supply chain.