I have visited a number of wholesale distribution warehouses, big ones and small ones. The size is most often dictated by the market that a warehouse serves. But one thing they all have in common is a lot of items, and the need to process these items through the warehouses quickly. Receiving, put away, picking, packing, stock transfers, physical inventory and reporting are all basic requirements for any warehouse. Efficiently managed warehouses have these processes down pat. The amount of automation varies with the volume.
With more automation, you need systems with more sophisticated processes to manage them efficiently; inventory management optimization (e.g. Slotting), inbound process optimization (e.g. Deconsolidation), outbound process optimization (e.g. Waves), material flow control, yard management (e.g. TU handling, DAS), labor management, value added services, kitting, cross docking and warehouse billing. So you look for more sophisticated solutions. But these cost more to install and the cost of ownership goes up. Can you justify it or are you forced to operate in that difficult, in-between state?
Wouldn’t it be nice to easily migrate to more sophisticated processes within the same system OR know that you can do so when the need for more automated warehouses arise?
SAP has been working on simplifications of business processes with their new S/4 HANA Enterprise Management solution. One such simplification is warehouse management. Now, within the same system, you can license basic and advanced warehouse functions as your requirements demand. For a small or medium size distributor with needs for advanced warehousing processes, they are now within reach. Implementation of advanced features has been simplified and it’s all within one system so cost of ownership is significantly reduced.
Are you looking for a business case to justify investment in S/4 HANA Enterprise Management? Advanced Warehousing could be just one of the reasons.
During visits to warehouses, regardless of size, I always find managers passionate about the efficiency of their warehouses. They strive for tight, efficient processes to manage their company’s valuable inventory investment. They take personal pride in what their teams can accomplish. Now with more advanced solutions within reach, they can achieve their goals today and in the future.