Success Story: Catering Connections

This success story was a real event. However, the names of companies and individuals mentioned in this success story have been changed to protect their identities. Any resemblance to actual companies or individuals is purely coincidental.

Key takeaway: You can use the Business Rule Framework to control who gets what document output emailed or transferred electronically by simply maintaining Excel spreadsheets uploaded into the SAP system.

Catering Connections is a thriving company that provides catering companies with the ingredients and supplies they need to deliver delicious meals to their customers. They are known for their ability to perform complex milk runs, delivering a variety of products from multiple different caterers in a single shipment. With their efficient logistics and exceptional customer service, Catering Connections has become a go-to supplier for catering companies all over the country.

They use SAP to control all their logistics and ensure that our milk runs are completed efficiently and accurately. Within SAP, they use two types of documents to track their logistics: deliveries and shipments. Deliveries are linked to customer sales orders and represent each drop-off they make to a specific caterer during a milk run. On the other hand, shipments represent the truck performing the milk run and contain all the deliveries for that particular run. By carefully managing both deliveries and shipments within SAP, Catering Connections can effectively coordinate all of their logistics and meet the needs of our catering company customers.

Several parties ensure that milk runs are completed smoothly during the logistics process. The carrier is the company or individual responsible for physically transporting the goods from one location to another, typically by truck. The forwarding agent is a professional who coordinates the movement of goods on behalf of Catering Connections, handling tasks such as arranging transportation and preparing necessary documents. On the other hand, the broker acts as an intermediary between Catering Connections and the carrier, negotiating rates and terms and helping to facilitate the transportation of goods. All of these parties play a crucial role in the logistics process at Catering Connections to ensure that our milk runs are completed successfully.

Brokers are only linked to shipments within the SAP system. However, some brokers request delivery-specific output under certain circumstances by email or as an EDI message, depending on various criteria. Unfortunately, the standard SAP system does not offer this level of flexibility for brokers. Attempts were made through custom ABAP programs. However, this resulted in spaghetti code that became too expensive to maintain. Ultimately, the automated solution was shelved and replaced by a manual Excel spreadsheet process.

A breakthrough was possible to automate this process by realising that the Business Rule Framework (BRF+) allow the loading of control parameters into SAP using Excel spreadsheets.

As the SAP users were comfortable maintaining the Excel spreadsheet, uploading this data made a significant positive change to the existing process, finally making the wish for an automated process a reality.

By using BRF+ in this way, Catering Connections were able to provide the desired delivery document output that their brokers need while still maintaining the efficiency and accuracy of their logistics processes.