Using Transport Instead of BTL for Load Building

Our team was tasked to design and implement a solution for a client that would drive Load Building functionality with Recommended Shipments from Blue Yonder’s Fulfillment application.

Through a detailed analysis, we ended up selecting the TMS as the engine for Load Building these RecShips from Fulfillment. The end solution was well-received and offered the client extremely flexible and robust configurability to distribution planning while utilizing constraint-based optimization to help generate a more realistic plan.

Looking at the RecShip as an ‘Order’ for a specific SKU/Origin/Destination in the TMS, we receive a large batch of RecShip ‘Orders’ representing a mix of deployment orders for manufactured products.

Utilizing the TMS’ more robust constraints such as Equipment Capacities, Product-Equipment Compatibilities, Location Constraints, Trailer Capacity Constraints, and others – we were able to generate prioritized, constrained Vehicle Loads and Vehicle Load Lines in Fulfillment that would not have been possible using BTL.

Three Unique Objectives

There were three unique objectives that needed to be satisfied during the load building process.

  1. The first objective was to prioritize the RecShip based on a combination of the SchedShipDate, NeedArrivDate and AvailtoShip date. This prioritization was customized logic that was written into the interface between Fulfillment and the TMS. The logic was different for manufactured items compared to purchased items and utilized a combination of the TMS solver and Semi-Fixed Trip functionality.
  2. The second objective was to limit the number of pallets of a specific hazardous material to each load that was built. Third, we needed the ability to build loads with material on partial pallets. The key to this was that the client knew in most cases material on partial pallets would not be not enough to fill a truck. So the load needed to be filled with full pallet material after all of the partial pallets were added.
  3. This third objective was the key reason that the client opted to build the loads in the TMS instead of using BTL. Because any material could be placed on a partial pallet depending on the source, destination, and current sales volume, the material was not the key factor in determining if it was to be counted as a partial or full pallet.

    Instead, we chose to use Transmode in Fulfillment. Using BTL, we weren’t able to put multiple Transmodes (Partial Pallet and Standard) onto one load. However, within Transport we were able to combine the two Transmodes onto one load – therefore filling a partial pallet truck with full pallet items.

    We also extended this Transmode logic to some of our purchased items to separate certain groups of items from a supplier into unique loads.

Once the loads were generated in the TMS, they were interfaced back to Fulfillment and then to SAP as STOs or POs. Although the client chose to build loads in the TMS, we set up all of the appropriate tables in Fulfillment so that the client would be able to view the loads in Load Manager.

In summary, this was a great example of a joint design and integration effort between two different applications – that actually complement one another very well. I’ll be anxious to work on even tighter integration between Fulfillment and TMS, and also try to streamline the PO/STO create process in SAP.

Brad Forester is the Founder of JBF Consulting. He is a TMS consultant (Transportation Management Systems) and TMS project manager who helps large shippers get more value out of their TMS investment. He works directly with IT Directors, Transportation Directors, management, users and project teams to help them select, implement, upgrade, enhance, or learn about their TMS.

Founded in 2003, JBF Consulting is a supply chain execution strategy and systems integrator to logistics-intensive companies of every size and any industry. Our background and deep experience in the field of packaged logistics technology implementation positions us as industry leaders whose craftsmanship exceeds our client expectations. We expedite the transformation of supply chains through logistics & technology strategy, packaged & bespoke software implementation, and analytics & optimization.

If you’d like to learn more about how JBF can help optimize your digital transformation process or simply begin a discussion, please contact us at (203) 807-5231 or

About Brad Forester