Published on October 29, 2018 – Sascha Ladewig, Consultant SAP Yard Logistics (SAP YL) at Westernacher
A truck has to pick up goods from a distribution center and bring those goods in time to the customer. The truck is now on the road. On his way, the driver got stuck in a traffic jam. Now he needs to contact the planning office of the distribution center to check his planned time slot. The driver has a couple of options, he can call his supervisor in the logistics office and ask for the planned slot, he can call the distribution center to ask for his appointment or he can send a message via SMS, Whatsapp or Telegram to the distribution center.
These days, we can also work with Chat-Bots. A bot basically sends and receives messages and then sends back an automated answer. We are happy to announce that Westernacher has created a Yard-Chat-Bot. You can send a message via Telegram, SMS or Whatsapp to the bot and he will answer.
A video tells a thousand words, so here is how it works with Whatsapp:
The video shows a sample pre-registration process. The driver sends his license plate to the WesternacherChatBot number. This number is registered to work with our bot. Once a license plate is received, the bot calls a SAP Yard Logistics webservice to check whether the system has a Yard Order planned for this truck. If no appointment has been booked, the system will return the number of the yard operator to check this case via telephone. If an appointment was found, the driver can start a pre-registration process to check data, such as the truck driver. At the end, he will receive a QR-code to check-in quickly to the yard.
So, how does this work from a technical perspective? The following graphic shows a detailed architecture:
The message channels of Telegram, Whatsapp and SMS are used to send messages to the bot. The bot has a specific phone number registered to connect via webservice with the corresponding SAP Yard Logistics system.
For now, our bot only speaks English, but we can also imagine another step, in which the bot is asking for a language and will then send messages in the corresponding language.
We are happy to present you this showcase live, but you can also try this yourself:
Install Telegram App
Search for “WesternacherBot”
Send any license plate (M-SL-007 will work perfectly)