3PL Integration

Example of 3PL/SAP Information Flow

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3PL Integration

CONTAX is one or the world's leading experts on using EDI to integrate third party logistics providers (3PL's) into SAP. We've done literally thousands of 3PL integrations using our standardized approach and Best Practices for EDI integration.

We can help plan, implement and support your 3PL integration project and, chances are, we have probably already integrated for your 3PL, so we can save you time and money.

Contact us to find out more, or call +1 (312) 475-9706 and ask for Jodi.

FAQ for SAP/3PL Integration

Below are some frequently-asked questions about SAP 3PL integration.

How complicated is it to integrate a 3PL into SAP using EDI?

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SAP is well set up to be able to handle EDI integration with 3PL's. There are standard IDOCs (SAP's internal document format) to handle all of the business transactions you will need. You will just need to set up your EDI translator to map the fields from the EDI documents to the correct fields in the IDOCs and vice versa. CONTAX has implemented countless 3PL's and has standard templates for this mapping that can be easily adapted to your specific business needs.

Which transactions should I implement?

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The 4 major transactions that are always included are:
  • Outbound Shipment Notifications- output from a delivery in SAP
  • Outbound Goods Issues - received into SAP to perform the PGI
  • Inbound Receipt notifications - output from either the PO or inbound delivery in SAP
  • Inbound Goods Receipts - received into SAP to perform the GR against the PO or inbound Delivery.

Other transactions that are often overlooked, but incredibly valuable are:
  • Stock transfers - typically inbound from the 3PL to move stock for example to damaged status if something was run over by a forklift
  • Inventory Advice - sent from your 3PL to you to let you know their inventory position, this can then be compared to your SAP inventory position to report discrepancies. Check this out for more information (http://www.sap3plinventory.com/)
  • Material master data - if your 3PL needs extensive information about each material, you can set it up so that any change to key fields of your material master in SAP will trigger a copy of the data to be sent to the 3PL
  • Customer master data - same as above, this can be used for sending additional customer master data to your 3PL perhaps to provide additional contact info or shipping requirements

Of course you will always include EDI acknowledgements with every implementation.

What does the typical implementation project look like?

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A typical project to implement a 3PL starts with requirements gathering and planning meetings with your 3PL. Here, the transactions used and data exchanged is agreed upon, in addition a rough timeline for the project is planned out.

Following that, you need to decide what you will use for your EDI translation. Do you already have EDI software in house, or will you need to choose a provider and partner to work with.

When your technical architecture is decided, you begin to set up your mapping. Turning your EDI files into IDOCs and your IDOCs into EDI files. You would then unit test your mappings before beginning an integration and UAT phase with your 3PL.

During the testing phase, a comprehensive list of scenarios is run through sending the EDI documents back and forth. When everything checks out, it's time to pick a date and go-live with your 3PL!

After moving everything to production, there is typically a tight monitoring phase with daily communication with the 3PL to ensure all transactions are received and processed successfully.

What kind of software will I need for the integration?

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You will need some sort of middleware for the integration. If you don't have any already, you could consider a cloud based solution like ARCUS Cloud EDI Integration for SAP by CONTAX.

Contact us to find out more, or call +1 (312) 475-9706 and ask for Jodi.

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