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In discussions with retail customers about warehouse management the various deployment options of SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) are always a hot topic. As solution manager for Digital Logistics in SAP’s retail organization I am happy to share some thoughts.

SAP’s warehouse management solution SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) is available since 2006 in the classical decentralized approach with SAP ERP as backend, the latest release is SAP EWM 9.5.

  • Since 2015, SAP EWM has been able to be connected to SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management (on-premise edition 1511). This decentralized approach (decentralized EWM) is also available for SAP S/4HANA Retail for merchandise management, the retail industry-specific version of the SAP S/4HANA product line.
  • In 2016, SAP EWM became an embedded application component within SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management (on-premise edition 1610), known as S/4HANA Supply Chain Management for extended warehouse management. This embedded EWM is also available within SAP S/4HANA Retail for merchandise Management.

 

It is important to know that both, decentralized and embedded EWM, are almost identical. The embedded EWM comes with an adapter layer to integrate into SAP S/4HANA but it has an identical common core with the classical, decentralized SAP EWM.

 

Decentralized EWM

Decentralized EWM can be connected to SAP ERP and to SAP S/4HANA. The connection to SAP S/4HANA is based on the same technology employed for communication with SAP ERP. This sidecar approach supports business scenarios and processes for complex and automated warehouses and distribution centers. The decentralized deployment option provides proven customer value, such as high-volume data processing, risk mitigation and scalability for large distribution centers. The sidecar option will stay as SAP’s long-term deployment option for SAP EWM and is necessary for complex high-volume and high-performance Retail distribution centers and warehouses. This approach is also due if warehouse automation like automated sorters, conveyors and automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) is in place. Retailers now have the choice to connect decentralized EWM to SAP Merchandising for Retail (IS-Retail) or to SAP S/4HANA Retail for merchandise management.

EWM Embedded in S/4HANA

The embedded EWM may be considered for small and medium retail warehouses and distribution centers with low volume, low throughput and without warehouse automation e.g. regional warehouses or ecommerce distribution centers. In those cases, a retailer can benefit from the simplified integration of embedded EWM to SAP S/4HANA business processes.

 

Let’s go back to the large retail distribution centers which require the EWM sidecar approach Decentralized EWM can be connected to multiple ERP systems (even to third party systems). SAP offers an out-of-the-box integration for decentralized EWM connected to SAP ERP and for the connection to SAP S/4HANA. It is possible to connect one decentralized EWM to SAP Merchandising for Retail (IS-Retail) and additionally, to SAP S/4HANA Retail for merchandise management. This might be interesting on a retailer’s journey to S/4HANA as it offers flexibility regarding the roll-out of a SAP S/4HANA solution.

For more details on SAP EWM deployment option criteria please check SAP Note 1606493 – SAP EWM Deployment Options Best Practices.

Related SAP Solution Blogs for Retail

Watch out for further information on how SAP’s Digital Logistics and SAP Leonardo solutions are driving the retail supply chain!

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