Stock taking using HANA and simplified UX
Can you imagine a task that one has to carry out regularly, which is supposed to help the business to maintain its accounts, time, cost correctly and increase profitability.
Filling up of timesheets?
Yes. But, what if the business complains that carrying out this task itself is not easy and it consumes lot of time, cost and lose revenue?
And, if the task is legally mandated?
Let’s take an example of Warehouse Stock Taking now.
I am trying to build an analogy between stock taking and timesheets because both are used for analysis, maintaining consistency in financial accounts, keeping a check on stock/utilization, reduce business loss, etc..
Customers who perform stock taking in their warehouses in order to maintain the stock accounts accurately, also faces similar issues. Lets say, time consumed for stock taking in a warehouse is 2 working days. If they perform this activity every quarter, that means, every year 8 working days are spent in stock taking per warehouse. If there are 100 warehouses, then total number of working days required for stock taking is 800 days per year! This is huge number.
The worst part is: The warehouse business has to be shut down during stock take, because, there should be no goods movement for sales, and billing will be lost for 800 working days. There are chances that the customer could also lose their business to competition.
Imagine the humongous loss that it makes every year, given that the customer has an enviable reputation for professionalism and customer centricity. To keep up the thousands of invoices it issues each day, and to ensure the customers get the right products in the right locations at the right time, the customer has to somehow overcome this business challenge.
Though, it is said that that the business has to be stopped in order for the stock take to be efficient, why don’t we think of some out-of-box processes that will remap the current stock taking is performed? Something that connects people, devices and inventory together; something that can accelerate the execution and the process steps in between the stock counting; something that can talk to the sensors and speed up the inbound and outbound goods movement signals to action and have the most user friendly screens. In short, a very promising value proposition.
If the stock taking is performed without (or at least for minimum time) blocking the inventory, there will be minimum business loss. In this case, we can think of a simple and comprehensive fiori like UI screen to record the count along with date/timestamp and store it in a custom table in HANA Db. Let the goods movement (GR/GI) also be allowed to be posted at the same time. There is no need of inventory blocking at this stage and this will allow the business to continue. The date/timestamp will be recorded for each posting transaction. Once the counting is performed, a custom built powerful reconciliation program could be used to determine the exact stock count by comparing the timestamp of the goods movement and that of the count taken. The report could be also used to track and analyze stock differences and check various issues, powered by in-memory architecture, and then post/clear off any stock deviations from the WM/IM system.
Such solutions can be implemented to tackle problems like loss of business during stock take, perhaps in any warehouses across industry lines. The mobile apps for counting stock will also help in faster stock taking process.
Likewise, there could be many such business cases to improve the existing business application with speed/UX. SAP is ready for this digital revolution with the right set of tools and technology!