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What factors went into your company's decision to stay with SAP Warehouse Management software and not move to SAP Extended Warehouse Management, at least for the time being?
I think it's just the payback. We've looked at it. It's kind of interesting that we're looking at some of the solutions that are included in the Extended Warehouse Management [EWM] package-- for example, labor management and dock scheduling, and of course, slotting -- but we really haven't been able to justify the cost.
The other piece of it is that we've been in Warehouse Management] [WM] now for 10 years come this August, and we have a very customized solution now, and it works. We've realized a lot of return, we've been able to reduce staff and we've been able to do a lot of building consolidation as a result of greater throughput. So, right now anyway, we're not confident that EWM gets us much more than what we have now.
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What I've seen is the Fords and the Chryslers and the Graingers going to big implementations of EWM. But these huge companies have a lot of SKU counts. In our industry we have a comparatively low SKU count. Typically we run about 6,000 different items at any given warehouse. Ford probably has 200,000 parts. They're the ones where there might be a benefit there and a little bit more of a return.
At a presentation I went to [at Sapphire Now 2014], someone said their decision factor for moving to EWM was the potential loss of support with WM down the road. It's one of those things where if something like that were to happen, then we would be -- I don't want to use the word forced -- but we would probably have to have a serious look at that migration. It would be a very big effort for us to implement, because they are different systems with different configurations, the whole nine yards. It's just a big undertaking.
As told to MarkFontecchio, news director.
Joseph Knoblauch is SAP Warehouse Management special projects manager at The Charmer Sunbelt Group. Interviewer. Mark Fontecchio may be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @markfontecchio.