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How can IT get ready for SAP Extended Warehouse Management?

Significant planning and preparation prior to integrating SAP ERP Warehouse Management with Extended Warehouse Management can help ensure success. Here's what you should know.

As companies grow and their logistics and supply chain operations become increasingly complex, they may find that...

they need more features and functionalities than what SAP ERP Warehouse Management offers. In those cases, they may consider integration with SAP Extended Warehouse Management.

SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) offers far greater functionality than is available in Warehouse Management (WM), such as Yard Management functionality, which enables optimized loading and unloading of transportation units, such as trucks or trailers. The Task Interleaving functionality in EWM reduces the occasions when a resource, such as a crane or forklift, moves around the warehouse without moving a product or a handling unit.

SAP EWM is an on-premises component of the SAP Supply Chain Management component, which itself is a part of the SAP Business Suite, whose other components include Customer Relationship Management and Supplier Relationship Management, among others.

Like all comparable systems that still need to talk to each other through data transfer, integrating SAP EWM with SAP WM requires thoughtful project planning and meticulous execution. This means careful evaluation to ensure that the SAP ERP system on which the WM runs is up to minimal upgrade level, such as EHP 7.0, to integrate with EWM and to be able to use specific EWM functionality.

When integrating SAP Warehouse Management with SAP Extended Warehouse Management for the first time, much of the WM data needs to be initially available in EWM for both logical systems to effectively work, as well as for EWM transactions to automate business processes in WM.

To that end, here are the four areas to focus on during a WM-EWM integration project.

Configuration

Configuration is a one-time, back-end setup activity of WM and EWM systems that not only maps a company's SAP landscape, but also its organizational structure -- such as plants, warehouses and resources -- in both WM and EWM.

Setting up logical systems in WM and EWM that connect with each other through Application Link Enabling is necessary for the SAP landscape in WM and EWM to work. The data between the two logical systems, connected through Remote Function Call, travels via intermediate document (IDoc).

Mapping organizational-level data should also be done at the configuration stage. This includes configurations such as which warehouse in ERP WM maps with which warehouse number in EWM, as well as storage location mapping between the two SAP systems.

Master data

Master data is the data that remains in SAP systems for a much longer period of time and that does not frequently change. Examples are customer, material or vendor master data. The Core Interface tool in SAP ERP Central Component, on which Warehouse Management runs, facilitates the transfer of data, such as plants, shipping points, materials, vendors and customers, from WM to EWM.

Fortunately, there are several tools available to facilitate this data transfer through standard upload programs, thereby reducing WM-EWM integration timelines. There are also upload programs for stock migration from WM to EWM that transfer the latest physical inventory count details into SAP EWM.

Business transactions

For the next stage, business transactions performed in Warehouse Management or SAP Extended Warehouse Management are transferred back and forth via IDocs.

Since IDocs are intermediate documents between the two systems, there's often the possibility that these documents will be unsuccessful in posting transactions in each other's systems. This posting failure can be due to inconsistent or incomplete data between WM and EWM. Therefore, periodic monitoring of all such failed IDocs and timely error rectifications ensure the two systems' work remain smooth.

Reports

EWM reports, like Labor Demand Planning, can provide a comprehensive view to plan and execute the labor and resources required for an efficient warehouse operation and to avoid labor shortages. Similarly, Dock Appointment Scheduling enables warehouse planners to effectively schedule all freight loading and unloading activities in direct coordination with freight carriers.

While most companies are integrating Extended Warehouse Management as a logical extension to Warehouse Management to manage their complex supply chains, companies planning to implement or migrate to S/4HANA are even better positioned to quickly implement EWM, as S/4HANA has native EWM already, thereby further reducing the time, effort and cost involved in implementing EWM

Next Steps

How SAP cross-docking can boost supply chain efficiency

Consumer devices come to the rescue of warehouse management

Guide to different warehouse management options

This was last published in June 2017

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