EWM Reloaded Part II – How to Take Your Warehouse Management to the Next Level with Best Practices, Country-specific Content and Cloud-based Offerings
Speed and efficiency is an absolute must in logistics. In competitive and complex market environments, customers strive for ways to achieve supply chain operational excellence and responsiveness in terms of high warehouse productivity and efficiency, accurate inventory visibility, better space utilization, integrated warehousing and logistics, and better customer service. SAP is continuously innovating to help customers to master these complex demands and needs to ultimately transform their supply chain to demand driven networks. SAP Rapid Deployment solutions can play a key role in this by breaking down complexity and providing a guided approach to implementation.
Today’s blog shares insights on the just recently released version 5.91 of SAP Extended Warehouse Management rapid-deployment solution (SAP EWM rapid-deployment solution) in an interview with the package owner Emma Zhou.
Doreen Baseler [DB]: SAP is known for delivering best-in-class warehouse management software. What is the RDS approach to support this mission and what’s new in this package version?
Emma Zhou [EZ]: From day one, this rapid-deployment solution was designed as a powerful warehousing solution, delivering a pre-configured system for core warehousing processes based on SAP EWM, now running on 9.1. Best practice processes, such as for inbound, outbound, and customer returns, were pre-defined with a sample warehouse structure which reflects the real world physics: narrow aisle, high rack with picking point, mezzanine and bulk storage. These processes are fully integrated with related ERP business processes using standards user interfaces. The rapid-deployment solution is a cost-effective way of implementing a clearly defined scope with explicit guidance to enable pre-configured processes. This gives customers the chance to start fast with what’s most important, and expand later.
Business process scope of SAP Extended Warehouse Management rapid-deployment solution, version 5.91
Compared to the previous version 4.90, this version 5.91 of the SAP EWM rapid-deployment solution now comprises configuration and service content for two additional processes:
- Inbound from Vendor to Bulk Storage:
Implementing this process, customers receive goods from vendors and move them to the final bin in a bulk storage area – either short bulk lane or long bulk lane. The storage bins in the bulk areas are configured to store certain number of pallets depending on the type of the handling units. Customers get full system support for receiving and putaway steps including building handling units, posting goods receipt and automated generation and assignment of warehouse tasks.
- Outbound to Customer from Bulk Storage:
In this warehouse process, customers can pick goods from bulk storage areas and deliver them to their end customers. Depending on the ordered products and quantities, they are guided to pick from the bulk lane with partial pallets allowed, or from the designated picking area for the bulk storage area which doesn’t allow partial pallets. Customers get full system support for processing steps of picking with waves, packing, staging and loading including handling units proposal, posting goods issue and automated generation and assignment of warehouse tasks.
DB: With this EWM RDS release, SAP decided to deliver the package with five country-specific content versions. Can you tell us a bit more about this topic and let us know how this fits into the overall RDS strategy?
EZ: For the first time, customers receive packaged activation content for five different countries. This means all configuration content is documented and–on top of this made–available for automated activation for the United States, Germany, China, Russia and Brazil. The country-specific content encompasses all settings and master data for the SAP ERP as well as the SAP EWM system, such as texts, descriptions, units and dimensions, addresses or country-specific settings for financial integration. The content is build and tested for integration into the SAP Best Practices ERP Baseline localization of the respective countries.
For easy look-up of country-specific settings and for manual implementation, the entire content is documented in configuration guides using a country-specific content appendix. For automated content activation, the package provides one solution file and five country-specific activation content files which allow for country-specific implementation of the package and the corresponding SAP Best Practices ERP baseline – within less than one day.
This country-specific approach is completely new in the rapid-deployment solutions domain, especially for solutions – like SAP EWM – with a high integration into an SAP ERP system. Customers can now easily setup the featured warehouse processes in their country-specific environment.
DB: What is the response so far on this package? What do customers say? And do we have an active partner network facilitating EWM RDS implementations?
EZ: Yes, a good customer example is the Mega Gruppe, who went for a warehouse consolidation project and used the SAP EWM RDS to achieve this goal. Overall, they managed to improve stock transparency in the warehouse, reduce inventory and ensure stock availability. And we expect more customers to come.
To better serve our customers, we have a robust partner network around the globe: more than 20 qualified partners, in countries like Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, as well as China and Australia.
SAP Partners’ interest in SAP EWM remains unbroken. It only re-iterates our intentions and tells us that we are moving in the right direction. Just recently, we held an SAP EWM boot camp in China where we enabled partners on implementing SAP EWM. We received a very positive response from the participants when using the SAP Extended Warehouse Management rapid-deployment solution: The rapid-deployment solution is the to-use starter kit when it comes to implementing SAP EWM because it provides sophisticated configuration guidance to implement real business processes. On top of that, the RDS was perceived as a sophisticated approach to break down complexity of a rather complex warehousing project.
DB: With SAP transforming into a cloud company, where does the EWM RDS come into play? Will there be an option for customers to use SAP EWM (RDS) from within the cloud?
EZ: The SAP EWM remains one of the leading edge solutions with SAP’s supply chain portfolio and strategy. To support this disruptive task, we will naturally facilitate our customer’s journey along the path to cloud-based solutions – as an option to their existing on premise solutions. As of mid this year, we intent to have this version 5.91 available as a pre-assembled image in the Amazon Web Services Cloud. With this pre-assembled SAP ECC & SAP EWM integrated image, customers will get a ready-to-activate solution intended for different purposes, such as proof-of-concepts, demos, trainings, and implementation jumpstarts. Customers can anticipate to have the best practices content of the SAP EWM rapid-deployment solution deployed to the cloud environment, where they they will be able activate all or selected parts of the SAP EWM rapid-deployment solution or likewise manually configure and adjust it to their own business requirements to run a proof-of-concept practice. SAP will also offer central services to move the configured content to the customer’s on premise environment for further implementation.
I am convinced that having state-of-the-art warehouse processes available in the SAP cloud for five specific countries will not only allow for more customer-oriented demo or trial environments but increase the overall acceptance of the packaged cloud approach by our customers.