The extensive world of SAP logistics

So, do you still have the overview? On the search for a fitting logistics software in the SAP world it is often the case that you are confronted with similar sounding terms. But not only that – often there is also further information of the presented solution: Does SAP would like to sell an extension for our existing ERP system or is it an independent solution? 
Are we talking about a complete package of Cloud applications or only about some additional build-in applications? 
Is it an innovation or an already long-lasting product, which only received a new name? 

The logistics team of KARŌN sheds some light and lists the most important products within the area of SAP Logistics in the following. Starting with the big ERP suits through small add-ons all the way to modern platform solutions: 




ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning and supports as a central system the completion of core processes for the departments like Finance, Production, Human Resources, Logistics, Services, Procurement and others. 

The term SAP ERP includes the offered ERP suites from SAP. The version currently found in many companies is ECC (formerly R/3). But this one is actually discontinued and will be replaced by SAP S/4HANA. 

SAP ECC (formerly R/3) 

SAP ECC is using the Client/Server model and is a bundle of integrated business applications with the goal of integration all different modules in a company to generate consistent data. Within these processes the data of the business processes can be retrieved, saved and analyzed. 


SAP S/4HANA is an extensive ERP suite with integrated intelligent technologies as i.e. AI, machine learning and extended analyses. With the help of SAP S/4HANA new business models are supposed to be integrated easily and changes aren’t supposed to create large efforts. 

The functionality of the system depends on the bought license. S/4HANA can be operated as a classic ‘on-premise’ version or as a Cloud subscription solution (Software-as-a-Service). In case of the on-premise solution the server hardware of the customer is used, within the Cloud solutions the system runs on SAP servers.  

SAP S/4HANA Retail 

S/4HANA Retail is a specific industry solution for the retail business and a changed version of S/4HANA. It contains extended master data functions (i.e. the color, the size of clothing) and an extended distribution of goods. 


The „Classics“ 

The classic logistics applications are available in SAP ECC as well as in S/4HANA. However, in S/4HANA they are included in so called “Lines of Business“ (LOB). The LOB ‘Sourcing and Procurement’ is the former MM module, the LOB ‘Sales’ the former SD module and the LOB ‘Supply Chain’ contains i.e. the Extended Warehouse Management (EWM). 

Material Management 

SAP MM is a module of the SAP ERP system which provides logistic core processes within the area of material management. Since 1993 it is the SAP solution for the execution of internal and external procurement processes of goods and services as well as demand determination. Furthermore, it communicates with other SAP modules, such as Finance and Controlling for a complete materials management. 

Sales and Distribution 

SAP SD (Sales and Distribution) is a module of the SAP ERP system which provides core processes regarding all sales activities. Since 1993 it is the SAP solution for the organization of all sales activities, such as administration of customer orders, distribution and invoicing of goods and services. 

Logistics Execution System 

SAP LES (Logistics Execution System) contains all functions of the warehouse management with SAP WM as well as the control of the material flow and resource planning with SAP TRM. SAP LES integrates all processes from the goods receiving to the distribution and transportation within SAP ERP. The right of use is supposed to canceled in 2025. Afterwards there will be the opportunity to use the SAP ‘Stock Room Management’ without any additional license fees. 

Warehouse Management 

SAP WM (Warehouse Management) is the standard ERP application for the warehouse management and part of the LES. With WM basically all processes within a warehouse can be controlled, executed and managed. This includes the connections to the modules PP (Production) and QM (Quality Management).  
SAP WM will be replaced by EWM and thus won’t be available any more in S/4HANA. The support will be discontinued in 2027 (current SAP statement as of beginning of 2022). 


Independent Systems / Extensions

The following systems are distributed independently by SAP. This means that they aren’t part of the ERP suites, but instead further license fees occur. Most of them can run independently, but also can be attached to ECC or S/4HANA. 

SAP Supply Chain Management 

SAP SCM is not really a single software, but a collection of different solutions, with which the management of the complete supply chain is supposed to be executed. It contains logistical applications like the EWM, the TM and the Logistic Business Network. But it contains systems and applications as well for production a service. 

SAP Extended Warehouse Management 

ECC already contains the classic Warehouse Management (WM). This one is still part in S/4HANA but will be replaced by the Extended Warehouse Management (EWM). Based on the current status and communications the SAP support for WM will end in 2027. A license for EWM needs to be purchased separately for the version with all functionalities and also can be set up separately, but also can be attached to either the ECC or the S/4HANA business suite (even a combination of both is possible). It is a further development of WM and contains i.e. a graphical storage layout functions as well as improved functionalities for the material flow (MFS), Handling Units and Warehouse costs. 

SAP Transportation Management 

SAP Transportation Management (TM) is the SAP system for the execution and management of all occurring external transports. In the area of transportation management there are many other businesses in the market; many different options of such TM systems do exist for the use with 3PL/4PL service providers. One main competitor can be named in Oracle. 

SAP TM displays the complete process starting with the order processing via the actual transport until the invoice processing. Current shipments can be tracked in real-time. Also, TM and EWM can be connected, share needed information and thus display a bigger picture of the complete process. The platform in this case remains SPA ERP. 

SAP Supply Chain Execution Platform 

SCE used to be a sort of collection including the applications EWM and TM. Currently this package isn’t advertised by SAP. 

SAP Transportation Resource Planning 

Within the Transportation Resource Planning different modes of transport are managed and tracked, i.e. containers. The use of transport modes is planned and tracked based on demand and stock analyses. Furthermore, it can be connected to the modules SAP TM and EAM (Enterprise Asset Management)  

SAP Advanced Planner & Optimizer 

The module Advanced Planner & Optimizer (APO) is used for early planning of sales and demands. Therefore, the complete supply chain is taken into consideration and an ERP system is needed. 

SAP Integrated Business Planning 

Integrated Business Planning (IBP) is used for the demand and stock planning along the complete supply chain. It is the cloud successor of ‘Sales and Operation Planning’ (SOP). IBP is set up based on five modules: SAP IBP for Sales and Operations, SAP IBP for Demand, SAP IBP for Inventory, SAP IBP for Response and Supply und dem Supply Chain Control Tower. 



(no right of completeness!) 

SAP Ariba 

SAP Ariba is a cloud-based marketplace for business-to-business transactions. Within the Ariba network purchasers and suppliers meet virtually and can do business. The login is integrated in the local network either via the SAP cloud or via the SAP PI. 

SAP Supply Network Collaboration 

SAP Supply Network Collaboration (SNC) is an extension and a web-based component within SAP Supply Chain Management (SCM) and supports many business processes in the area of supplier and customer collaborations. The product was integrated into Ariba. 

SAP Logistics Business Network 

SAP LBN (Logistics Business Network) is part of the SAP Supply Chain Network (SCN) platform and is a cloud-based business network for logistics. LBN is supposed to easily and efficiently connect companies, tender orders, check invoices or work together on pre-defined milestones and freight tenders based on logistic data along the complete supply chain. The realization is happening with an integration into the SAP Cloud Platform and the connection to further modules like SAP TM.  

SAP Business Technology Platform (independently possible) 

SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) combines intelligent business applications with functions of data bases, data management, data analyses, data integration and extensions on a platform for cloud and hybrid environments. BTP was released in 2012 under the name SAP HANA Cloud Platform and was named afterwards SAP Cloud Platform. Since 2021 it carries its today’s name. 


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