The search for innovative best practices is everywhere in today’s business, including warehouse management. We’ve turned to SAP’s EWM Rapid-Deployment Solutions’ team to find out about current SAP best practices in EWM that can help businesses jump start their adoption of progressive EWM change.
Whereas the benefits of modern and integral warehouse management systems are nowadays widely accepted, the implementation of a warehouse system and its integration into existing enterprise processes remains a challenging task. SAP’s Igor Becker, package owner for SAP SCM EWM solutions and Richard Kirker, solution manager for SAP SCM EWM, share with us some insights. We’ll also see what they have to say about the newly released rapid-deployment solution package and explain how managers can use the package’s predefined best practices to accelerate SAP EWM customer implementation.
Doreen Baseler (DB): Why has SAP come out with more rapid-deployment solutions for SAP EWM in Q1/2013?
Igor Becker (IB): Different warehouse managers have different needs. The new SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) for Retail rapid-deployment solution helps you achieve operational excellence and responsiveness in the supply chain in terms of high levels of warehouse productivity and efficiency, accurate inventory visibility, better utilization of space, integrated warehousing and logistics, and better customer service. The package was specifically designed as an “implementation starter kit” in the retail industry with an expected implementation time of five weeks.
The SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) rapid-deployment solution has the same objective as outlined for the retail package, but targets cross industries – from Automotive to Wholesale. It covers preconfigured processes like inbound process without packing information and with repacking for put-away, customer returns with quality inspection, outbound process using pick-handling units (HUs) as shipping HUs or using wave, pick-HU, packing, staging, and loading. Automatic replenishment, unplanned scrapping due to damaged stock, periodic physical inventory and cycle counting are also part of this preconfigured scope, which the customer can implement as a best practices jump start approach in only 16 days.
On top of this, we have plans to provide pre-configured content and service for different storage layouts, such as narrow aisle storage and wide aisle storage. There are also ideas to integrate batch management in warehousing. And, of course, we are always open to customer and partner proposals as to what they would like to see packaged in a solution to help them accelerate their warehousing business.
DB: What does this rapid-deployment solution for SAP EWM for Retail customers cover functionality-wise?
IB: The package provides you a fast and predictable implementation of the most commonly used capabilities of SAP EWM for Retail customers. It is designed to support typical processes of a distribution center (DC), which automatically handles replenishment to keep assortments of assigned stores complete in an efficient way.
The processes (see Figure 1) covered in this package include: Inbound process of pallets of the same (or with mixed) merchandise, and outbound process for retail stores. Merchandise distribution with cross-docking and with article-driven flow-through help you save capacity and allow high throughput of goods at minimal cost. Warehouse processes with merchandise in different pack sizes support you in picking and removing non-preferred units of measure from storage, first, so that you can keep the preferred pack sizes in the warehouse. Warehouse processes with best-before dates help you to reduce the merchandise’s shelf life by considering best-before dates when picking goods for outbound delivery (FEFO principle). Warehouse processes with catch weight products support quantity valuation of goods based on dedicated unit of measures for in- and outbound processes.
Ultimately, this package shares processes with the standard SAP Extended Warehouse Management rapid-deployment solution, like automatic replenishment, periodic physical inventory, and cycle counting.
Figure 1: Processes as handledby the distribution center – from the vendor to the stores
DB: Rapid-deployment solutions have been designed to provide customers with a fast and predictable implementation approach. Can you talk about what SAP EWM customers actually get when implementing the engineered service?
IB: The solution delivered is not meant to be a go-live implementation, but rather as an accelerator to any EWM implementation. The engineered service provides consultants with the consistent structure to discuss requirements with customers because in a way that is based on best practices for retail. The implementation service includes the typical and proven approach, inherent to any rapid-deployment solution: It starts with a kickoff workshop, where customers define their organization and master data. Since the blueprint is already delivered with this solution, they can significantly save time and effort on this project step and directly move on to the customizing deployment. Deployment includes the integration of SAP EWM and connectivity to SAP ERP, settings for master-data replication and above mentioned processes: inbound and outbound processes, merchandise distribution with cross-docking, catch-weight products, order-based replenishment, physical inventory, and cycle counting.
Additionally, the service provides an initial knowledge transfer to key users, so that they are enabled to further drive the knowledge into their business unit.
DB: Whom does this package target? What are the prerequisites? Do customers already need to have the warehouse system
IB: This package targets Supply chain management (SCM) line of business, VP of supply chain, VP of transportation, VP of operations, warehouse, and the CIO. It is most relevant for all current customers of SAP ERP looking for high-performance and flexible warehousing functions. It is most suitable for customers in the large enterprise and upper small and midsize segment.
From an implementation point of view, we request the customer to have SAP ERP 605 and above installed, as well as SAP EWM 900. If these are new implementations, e.g., for customers who replace their old legacy warehouse with SAP EWM, the customer can also make use of „SAP Best Practices for Retail“, a best practices solution that helps automatically transfer customer-specific SAP ERP master data into their SAP EWM systems. In this way, this rapid-deployment solution can serve as an accelerator to start an implementation project.
SAP offers an alternative delivery for this package: pre-assembled in the cloud (see Figure 2), where customers can quickly configure and explore the solution and on demand have it migrated to their own environment.
Figure 2: Cloud offerings for SAP EWM solutions
DB: Which customers use SAP EWM to better manage their warehousing processes?
Richard Kirker (RK): Let met point out to you three customers which my colleagues and I have closely worked with: Papyrus, Dansk Supermarked, and Indigo Books.
Papyrus is one of the leading merchants in Europe for paper products, industrial packaging and facility supplies. When considering a new approach to optimize their warehouse logistics, they came across SAP EWM, selecting an EWM rapid-deployment partner solution instead of the classical project implementation approach. They realized great savings, when using the rapid-deployment solution as a jump-start package for their own customer-specific project – compared to a traditional implementation. Deploying the rapid-deployment solution into their own environment reduced blueprinting, customizing, and testing effort overall by 60%, minimizing delta work to a great extent.
Dansk Supermarked is one of the biggest retailers in Europe with more than 1,300 shops across Europe in five different countries. As part of their implementation approach, they managed to replace a variety of homegrown systems by a standard SAP EWM and have rolled out a global template to be applied consistently throughout all their warehouses. And the result? Significantly reduced picking-error rates through a voice-enabled picking system, better management of best-before products, and improved resource utilization through real-time stock overview and workforce monitoring.
Or let’s take Indigo Books & Music as another example. It is Canada’s largest book, music, and gift retailer and operates more than 235 stores across the country and a steadily growing online business. Before moving to SAP EWM, Indigo faced issues like handling a diverse merchandise mix, lacking data integrity and inaccurate inventory – a challenge if customer commitments are to be fulfilled the very next day. A two phase implementation approach was chosen for direct to consumer online business and the traditional physical stores. And this is where Indigo stands today: Making use of SAP EWM, Indigo has found innovative ways to substantially drive down shipping and unit picking costs, increase margins, elevate productivity and improve the customer experience both in-store and online.
Find more information on SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) for Retail rapid-deployment solution in SAP Service Marketplace.
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