An effective supply chain relies on a well-planned, efficient inventory management system. Businesses need to have a good governance of their warehouses and ensure the balance between supply and demand.
Overstocking can lead to increased storage costs and reduced profit, while insufficient stocking can lead to the disruption of the supply chain, which damages customer relations. Time management, stock orders, budget control, shipments, return and change requests, and resource management all rely on the effectiveness of the warehouse operations.
Spreadsheets and manual data entry are vastly outdated and result in inefficient processes; organizations that still employ these methods must urgently modernize and transition to smart systems. Growing businesses in particular need to successfully meet increasing customer demands, manage growing storage areas and purvey the right amount of stock.
SAP Warehouse Management (WM) is a module through which businesses can manage warehouse inventories and processes via their SAP system. WM has been widely adopted by countless businesses in the world since its first release in 1995 and continues to be one of the most popular solutions in its area. It enables the tracking of entries and exits of goods, pinpointing goods location at any given time, tracking warehouse movements and managing stock transfer processes. Users can also choose from various storage types (bulk, open, high rack or shelf storage, picking area) and define frequently used types.
WM is particularly advantageous to businesses that already run their business on SAP, since the warehouse management module works fully integrated with all other SAP modules. Business owners and IT leaders appreciate the convenience of managing their entire operations on a single platform, as well as the possibility of developing add-on features that SAP doesn’t offer by default.
Nonetheless, inventory and stock tracking aren’t everything when it comes to warehouse management. As the competitiveness in every industry rises each year, business owners search for new ways to optimize processes and increase efficiency. To meet these needs, SAP has been constantly improving the popular warehouse management module for the past couple of decades. These developments led to the release of SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) in 2006—a smarter, more capable and modern offspring of WM.
The most recent version of SAP EWM is EWM 9.5, which was introduced in 2017. In addition to the standard functions of WM, users can benefit from features like workforce management, e-commerce applications, warehouse space optimization and packaging solutions (to name a few). It isn’t surprising that many businesses have since migrated from WM to the EWM module.
According to the SAP road map, there will be no new development work on the outdated WM module and its official support will end by 2025. Which means it’s the perfect time for your business to migrate to EWM if it hasn’t already! If you’re still not convinced, we’ve listed a few reasons on why migration would be a good idea.
EWM provides advanced resource and workforce management tools which enable you to plan shifts and systematically measure efficiency for each shift and employee. The system analyzes a multitude of data, such as travel distance for shipments, entry and exit times to the warehouse, and activity reports.
The developments in the new version of SAP EWM provide great tools for e-commerce businesses on different platforms.
• Pick by Cart is an application developed with SAP Fiori and allows collecting multiple orders on the same journey in the warehouse.
• E-Commerce Returns App 2.0 allows for faster, simpler returns processes for both buyers and sellers by leveraging product barcodes or serial numbers.
• Change Delivery / Order Reduction allows changing information like order quantity or delivery date in a quick and simple manner.
The Pallet Planning feature ensures you get the most use out of every area in your warehouse. Based on SAP's Transport Management algorithm, this feature optimizes the picking and packaging processes and evaluates empty spaces in the warehouses to maximum advantage.
EWM 9.5 supports Core Data Services (CDS) images. SAP Smart Business or SAP Fiori for Warehouse Experts/Warehouse Shift Supervisors enable you to analyze your warehouse operations in detail, helping you to make informed decisions that will greatly increase your revenue.
SAP EWM is a module designed to maintain warehouse activities at the lowest cost and highest efficiency. The innovative tools and features introduced with each new version have been developed to help business owners achieve these two goals. Through EWM, products subject to different warehouse processes can be collected in the same journey; multiple orders can be grouped and processed by a single resource; warehouse resources are always used at highest capacity.
There are, of course, similarities between SAP Extended Warehouse Management and SAP Warehouse Management; the two modules have been developed in line with the same working principle and goals. Nonetheless, the differences between the two are significant. SAP provides some helpful tools for users to transfer data from the old module to the new one, but the transition from a simple system to a complex one requires re-defining and structuring of some areas. Not all elements can be transferred from WM to EWM and they must be created from scratch in the latter. Likewise, if there are any enhancements added to WM other than SAP's standard features and applications, these must also be developed again.
The EWM consultants at MDP Group have extensive experience in migrating businesses to the Extended Warehouse Management module. We assure a fast and secure transition with no disruption to your warehouse operations and develop tailor-made add-ons per your request. Modernize your warehouse operations management and grow your business by customizing the EWM module to fit your needs.
For more information feel free to contact us anytime!
SAP EWM Consultant
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