Companies that have deployed SAP Warehouse management (WM) software have come to rely on its flexibility and capabilities in managing increasingly complex and time-sensitive shipping, receiving and warehousing tasks. Extending the capabilities of SAP WM software to mobile workers increases the ability to gather data and direct operations in a seamless and efficient manner. Understanding the requirements and capabilities of mobile terminals in an SAP environment can help make the right decisions at the right time.
SAP Data Collection Solutions – SAPConsole, WebSAPConsole and ITSMobile
SAP offers multiple options for connecting RF-linked mobile terminals to the SAP mainframe: SAP Console, WebSAPConsole, and ITS Mobile are the most common methods in use today. Each of these solutions is designed and assumes an always-on RF link back to SAP R/3. SAP Console translates SAPGUI pages into text-only pages for character-based terminals. WebSAPConsole and ITS Mobile provide a similar interface but maintain the SAPGUI look for mobile terminals running Windows CE or other graphics-capable operating systems.
SAPConsole includes an administrative function (SAPConsole Administrator) to create and manage connection profiles that link the mobile terminals to an SAP module. The SAPConsole server translates SAPGUI screens to suitable text-only screens for character-based mobile terminals and receives input from the terminals for transmission to the SAP module. Once the connection has been established, the mobile terminal can provide the same functionality as a desktop terminal running the SAP WM module software.
WebSAPConsole is essentially the same as with SAPConsole except that server is a web server, running Microsoft IIS or SAP’s own Web Application Server (WAS). The same capabilities and procedures are used for terminal ID and communication between the mobile terminal, the WebSAPConsole server and the SAP WM module. The significant difference, in terms of the user experience, is that WebSAPConsole maintains the graphical look of standard SAPGUI screens.
ITSMobile similar to WebSAPConsole, ITSMobile produces web-based screens for display on graphical mobile terminals. Unlike WebSAPConsole, however, the translation of SAPGUI screens is completed at development time, rather than runtime. As the ITS engine is embedded in the SAP Netweaver Application server, there is no need for a separate web server, making ITSMobile a truly direct connect solution for an SAP environment. The development methodology of transactions in SAP for ITSMobile is identical to SAPConsole.
SAP’s ERP Warehouse Management functionality offers a number of “pre-configured” RF transactions that are accessible by SAPConsole, WebSAPConsole and ITSMobile. These transactions include the most common transactions and simplify the set-up and configuration of mobile terminals. Since each application is different and pre-configured modules cannot be provided to cover every contingency, each option supports transaction development using SAP’s standard Advance Business Application Programming (ABAP) and SAP Graphical User Interface (GUI).
RF Device Support
Mobile data entry in the warehouse today involves the use of wireless radio frequency (RF) terminals or devices carried by the warehouse staff to record data. The data is usually in a bar code form, either as bar code printed in Transfer orders or bar codes that identify products, storage bins or other objects.
Mobile Data Entry currently supports two device types:
GUI devices (with graphical user interface) that run on Windows 3.x/95/98
Character devices (character-based) under terminal emulation mode
These devices are connected to the SAP System just like any other client-dependent PC. The screens can be touch screens, using predefined pushbuttons, or they can operate using a keyboard. If you are using touch screens, you simply “touch” the appropriate positions on the touch screen instead of clicking with the mouse on a pushbutton.
System fonts and size should correspond to the guidelines provided in order to achieve optimal utilization of the screen size.
These devices are linked to the system through an SAP standard interface called the SAPConsole. The SAPConsole operates on a Windows NT/Windows 2000 platform and interacts with the RF terminals connected to it. This concept is currently supported by the leading providers of RF terminals.
The following two industry standards for screen sizes are supported:
Devices for forklifts: 8 lines by 40 characters each
Portable handheld devices: 16 lines by 20 characters each
Bar code support in SAP:
SAP reads bar codes for identification and verification. The items that can be identified include Storage bin, Material, Storage unit, Handling unit, Quantity, Delivery, Staging area, Shipment, Pick wave. It is possible to scan items for verification purposes and these fields includes Storage unit, Storage bin, Material, Quantity.. SAP may increase few more fields in future.
RF- Supported Warehouse Processes
The Mobile Data Entry RF solution supports the following warehouse processes:
- Goods receipt
- Goods issue
- Put away
- Packing and unpacking
- Inventory counting
- Loading and unloading
- Serial number capture
- Movement by storage unit
- Posting changes
Configuration steps in SAP Mobile Data Entry
Configuration for Bar codes
- Maintaining Bar code specifications
Path: IMG>Logistics Execution>Mobile Data Entry>Bar Code> Maintain Bar Code Specification.
- Define which bar code is supported in your warehouse to identify goods
Path: IMG>Logistics Execution>Mobile Data Entry>Bar Code> Assign Bar Code Types to Warehouses.
Configuration for RF
- Verification profile is a set of fields that can be verified by the user.
Path: IMG>Logistics Execution>Mobile Data Entry> Verification control> Define Profiles
- Verification profile can be assigned to movt types used in warehouses that will be subject to bar code scanning.
Path: IMG>Logistics Execution>Mobile Data Entry> Verification control> Assign Verification Profiles to Goods Movements.
- Menu Management configuration settings can be done and you can set up the menu sequence for a particular user
Path: IMG>Logistics Execution>Mobile Data Entry>Menu Management.
- In this Transaction you configure the settings of the screens. You can define logical screen names and assign a format (narrow and large format) to each logical screen
Path: IMG>Logistics Execution>Mobile Data Entry>Define Screen Management.
- The definition and management of queues, as well as the assignment of activities and users to queues, assigns a range of activities to certain users and ensures that transfer order processing is run as efficiently as possible.
Path: IMG>Logistics Execution>Mobile Data Entry>RF Queue Management.
- Define Queues
- Assign Areas and Activities to Queues
- Assign Processor to Queues
The queues are easily identifiable for picking, put away, and goods receipt. The queues then can be assigned to the relevant areas
SAP Easy Access Menu Configuration
- Adding a User for mobile data entry using Transaction code LRFMD
- Logging on to Mobile Data Entry using Transaction code LM00
RF Monitor (LRF1)
The RF monitor is a tool for central, cross-queuemonitoring and coordination of transfer order (TO) processing.
Each RF user is assigned to a queue in Customizing for Mobile Data Entry. This assignment can be viewed and changed using the RF monitor. The user’s view at the RF terminal is limited to the transfer orders of its current queue. The RF monitor operates as a central coordination point, ensuring that TO processing is run as efficiently as possible.
Using the RF monitor, an authorized RF user can do the following:
- Monitor queues, including the number of assigned TOs, number of users and ratio of workload to users
- Assign TOs and users to other queues
- Change the processing priorities of TOs
User Exits in RF
User exits offer you the option of enhancing existing functions according to your personal requirements.
User Exit Screens
The RF solution supports the two screen formats (8×40/16×20) that are offered by most manufacturers of RF devices. The user exit function enables you to display other fields, according to your particular requirements, and also to implement other screen formats. You can add fields that are available through standard transactions to the existing screens. Currently, these fields can only be used for display purposes. Also, you can eliminate fields, which are part of the RF solution, from the display.
Verification with User Exit
Mobile Data Entry supports the following four types of verification:
- Storage bin
- Storage unit number
To be able to verify other fields, the system also provides a general verification entry. You can use this verification to meet individual requirements, such as verification of batches.
Sorting Using the User Exit
Mobile Data Entry supports sorting possibilities for system-guided transfer order processing:
Printing Using the User Exit
Mobile Data Entry supports the printing of different label types, such as shipping and handling unit labels. You can use the print pushbuttons in the respective transaction by creating your own user exit function module, which is called from the LE_MOB_PRINT function module.