SAP and Deutsche Telekom get Logistics 4.0 moving

22.01.2020 by Ümit Günes

Woman with tablet surrounded by boxes and networked lines and symbols.

The Internet of Things offers huge opportunities to logistics companies – provided they know how to make the most of the flood of data. An integrated solution from SAP and Deutsche Telekom can help.

It’s 6 a.m. in Germany: supposedly fresh fish is being delivered to a delicatessen in Bonn. But when the truck driver opens the doors of his transporter, he is struck by a bad stench. 200 kilograms of halibut, salmon and cod are spoiled because the refrigeration system stopped working somewhere between Hamburg and the Rhineland. This results in a loss for the delicatessen – and the freight forwarder may well have lost a customer.

More Transparency Through Digital Supply Chain

Incidents like this are unfortunately not uncommon: According to the German Logistics Association (BVL), one third of all goods transported worldwide (33 percent) are damaged while en route; almost as many (30 percent) do not arrive on time. No wonder that three out of four companies complain about a lack of transparency and reliability in the supply chain. For this reason alone, according to the BVL study "Trends and Strategies in Logistics and Supply Chain Management," there is no way for freight forwarders to avoid a digitally integrated data exchange in the long term. This is the only way to collect data in real time and control the supply chain according to demand. The prerequisite for this is that logistics companies must seamlessly connect devices, machines, sensors and IT systems with each other and evaluate the data generated in the Internet of Things (IoT). This is a huge challenge for companies, yet digitalization, Logistics 4.0 and Industry 4.0 as well as global networking and automation are making giant strides. Analysts at Juniper Research predict that by 2022 more than 50 billion sensors and devices will be integrated into the Internet of Things – more than twice as many as today. And they are all constantly transmitting new data.

Illustration: Using the Internet of Things for Logistics 4.0

Integrated Technology for Smart Data Management

To create real value from the flood of IoT data, companies must seamlessly integrate IoT solutions and internal processes such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), warehouse management (WM) and supply chain management (SCM). The Cloud-2-Cloud (C2C) Connector helps to achieve this. It connects Telekom’s Cloud of Things with the SAP Cloud Platform. This allows live data from the Telekom cloud to be integrated directly into SAP applications.

The advantage: If the information collected from the IoT applications first ends up as raw data in Telekom’s Cloud of Things, the C2C connector filters it according to individually defined parameters. For automobile manufacturers, for example, vibration values during transport are elementary indicators to guarantee product quality, while for freight forwarders and food manufacturers an uninterrupted cold chain is indispensable when transporting food.

SAP HANA Processes Mass Data in Real Time

All the relevant IoT information is integrated into the customer's SAP landscape via the cloud interface and processed in real time. SAP HANA's in-memory technology makes this possible: the platform processes data directly in the main memory instead of on hard disks. This means they no longer have to be aggregated and can be used immediately. The advantage: Users can react immediately to deviations, fluctuations or breakdowns – and promptly initiate the necessary countermeasures. This reduces the loss of goods and rejects and increases the transparency of the digital supply chain. And thus also customer satisfaction.

Ümit Günes
Ümit Günes

Marketing Manager IoT

Ümit has been working at T-Systems since 2015 and knows a great deal about many facets of the Internet of Things. He is particularly interested in topics related to the digitalization of the business world. For the blog, he reports on new developments and trends in the IoT world that offer real added value for customers.