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Author's profile photo John McDonnell

Transforming Warehouse Management in Wholesale Distribution

E-commerce is transforming the supply chain and is one of the top customer trends effecting warehouse management. It is driving SKU proliferation, faster inventory turns and smaller, more frequent orders and ultimately fulfillment complexity. This is all putting pressure on distributors to increase efficiency while still providing flexibility to react to these changing demands. Customers are also looking to do more with less, to become leaner and more efficient. They are looking to their suppliers and distribution partners to take on more responsibilities making service a key differentiator.

These market dynamics are providing plenty on motivation for distributors to update their distribution centers and warehouse systems.

SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM)

SAP EWM can be part of the solution in this environment. SAP EWM offers industry-specific and cross-industry functionality enhanced with state-of-the art analytics and technologies, providing direct control of warehouse automation, as well as the execution of business processes on mobile and voice activated devices.

The system integrates complex supply chain logistics with your warehouse and distribution processes – delivering the ultimate in visibility and control. Optimize inventory tracking, cross-docking, distribution operations, multi-channel fulfilment, and more – all in real time. Key capabilities include:

  • Inbound processes – Support yard management, put-away and stock removal strategies, expected goods receipt, cross-docking, value-added services, and quality management.
  • Outbound processes – Perform wave and replenishment processing.
  • Storage-bin management – Manage handling units, perform goods slotting, and process physical inventory.
  • Distribution center processes – Support radio frequencies, serial numbers, resource management, labor management, and material flow systems.

At SAP’s 2017 ASUG Conference, Patterson Companies, a distributor of dental and animal health products based in St. Paul, Minnesota, presented their progress in creating a best-in-class warehouse management system and fulfillment operation using SAP EWM. Many of the market challenges highlighted above were effecting their business as well. The session highlighted Patterson’s journey to improve speed and accuracy in its distribution and fulfillment operation using SAP EWM to help streamline warehouse management with pick, pack, and ship capabilities, voice technology, batch managed products, and cartonization logic.

Patterson partnered with My Supply Chain Group (MSCG) to help implement the project. Prior to EWM, Patterson used manual processes and paper forms to fulfill orders. The plan included the implementation of, new distribution workflows including cartonization, installation of wireless networks to support voice-directed order selection, RF scanning for receiving and put-away and mobile printing. In the end, the entire project is delivering the anticipated results and more.

If you want to learn more about the overall program and lessons learned by Patterson, you can get a copy of the presentation from the link below:

Patterson’s Journey to Improve Fulfillment Speed and Accuracy with SAP EWM

(Session WD7230):


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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      I read your materials and presentation carefully but I didn't find answer for question how SAP eWM address specific ecommerce SCM challenges:

      • huge quantity of very small orders wher lot/wave completation is not very useful,
      • new delivery addreses appearing constantly. New addreses should be grouped into routes basing on postal codes of the country,
      • courier company labels printed directly from eWM,
      • merchandise sorting during reception and sending directly for completation of delivery orders (order for order)

      Could you guide me to appropriate materials?


      Thanks in advance