Mobile Warehousing – SAP S/4HANA Cloud Warehouse Management
Today, much more is required of a warehouse management system than just managing and organizing the warehouse. Companies expect warehouse management software to optimize warehouse processes, reduce costs and make processes transparent. Especially connected with mobile solutions, companies can increase their efficiency, competitiveness and control the entire flow of goods. Therefore, mobile scanning solutions are very important, also with SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
In this blog post, I will provide a comprehensive overview of resource management – “Scanner Solution” in SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2202 for Warehouse Management.
- First, we will cover the definition of Resource Management in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, with the associated scope items and links
- Second, we will cover the objects and the necessary configuration steps
- Next, we see the mobile RF transactions and what functionalities are currently provided
- At the end, there is a summary of resource management
What is Resource Management in SAP S/4HANA Cloud and what is it good for? Resource Management is used to optimize the execution of activities in the warehouse, thus work packages can be created and automatically assigned to employees. I.e. Resource Management is responsible for the execution of warehouse processes. With Release 2108 for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, so-called mobile RF transactions are available for Resource Management. These are operated exclusively on mobile devices such as Tablet, Smartphone and Zebra device. These have the advantage that the process can be processed more quickly and easily due to the small number of fields available.
The following scope items belong to Resource Management and are not active by default
- 3W0 – Resource Management in Warehousing
- 63X – Mobile RF Devices in Warehousing with Quality Management
- 63W – Mobile RF Devices in Warehousing with Production Integration
- 63V – Mobile RF Devices in Warehousing
Link to Release 2108 blog post including Mobile Warehousing here
For Resource Management, either RF Framework provided by SAP can be used on Zebra device or using existing APIs in order to build your own app.
Existing APIs for Cloud Warehouse Management here
Settings & Master Data Objects and Configuration Options
Secondly, we handle the objects. For these objects some master data settings and configuration steps are necessary. What kind of objects for resource management exists? And for what are they used?
Note: Only necessary master data and configuration options will be discussed, in order be able to run the app “RF Test Environment”
- User(Mandatory): A User is identical with the CB-User, which is used for log on to SAP-System
- Resource (Mandatory): A resource represents not only employees in the warehouse but also their work equipment, e.g. a forklift. A resource can also represent a conveyor
- Resource Type (Optional): The resource type is used to make a physical distinction between resources
- Resource Group (Mandatory): The resource group describes the working environment in which the resource is used. It is used by the system to enable system-guided and automated work in the warehouse. System-guided work is realized in resource management via the pull principle. This means that whenever a resource has processed and confirmed its warehouse order, it requests a new warehouse order from the system. The mobile system-guided transaction then searches for the next optimal warehouse order according to the configured rules and assigns it to the resource
- Queue (Mandatory): A queue represents a container or a pool in which warehouse orders to be processed are available. Queues are used to better group warehouse orders depending on operational business
In a nutshell, it should be noted once again: A resource is assigned to a resource group for system-guided work. The resource type allows to describe the resource by means of physical characteristics. The user is used to simplify the login process as well as the assignment to a menu. The central object for system-guided processing of warehouse orders is the queue, which is processed depending on rules in a sequence of several resources by using resource groups.
Settings & Master Data:
- Maintain Presentation Devices (Mandatory)
- Presentation Device and Description can be defined as you want.
- Display Profile “Displ.Prof” is necessary, if you want to use different type of devices with different display size. Note: It is not possible yet in SAP S/4HANA Cloud to maintain display profiles with display attributes. Hopefully, this will be provided in future
- “Clear all” is used to delete all entries, if button “F6” is double pressed.
- “Shortcut” If you select this checkbox, the Shortcut field is displayed on the screen if a shortcut or exception is defined for the relevant function code profile. If your device has keyboard shortcuts available, then this option should be deactivated.
- “Default” If you set this indicator, the presentation device will be used as the default when the DefPresDvc field isn’t filled on the RF logon screen and no default presentation device is defined for the resource.
- “Resource” means of transportation or user
- “Buttons” you can decide, how you want standard function codes to display as buttons on radio frequency (RF) screens that don’t have function keys, for example, function keys F1 to F12.
- Maintain Resource Groups (Mandatory)
- In this case, I made an entry “SALL”, which covers all queues and to keep it easy. But in real life, resource groups can be used to group several resources with same attributes. This means, you can have an entry for e.g. Outbound Process, Internal Process and Inbound Process. A Queue will be assigned to a resource group and with system-guided work, you can prioritize and assign warehouse orders to resources
- Maintain Resource (Mandatory)
- A resource represents a user or a mean of transport. It can be also e.g. a Forklift. The resource is used to logon to RF device.
- Resource type is used for physical difference of resources. For e.g. each resource can access different type of bin types or HU type groups.
- Resource Group is already described
- Default Device is already described
- Queue can be directly assigned directly or left blank.
- Print determines on resource level if documents are to be printed.
- Maintain User Settings – Radio Frequency (Mandatory)
- In order to use RF framework, you need to make a new entry and choose your SAP-User. For your SAP-User you can assign a resource and mark “Auto Logon”. In this case, you don’t need to login every time, it is automatically logged in.
- Define Queue Sequence – Resource Group (Mandatory)
- In order to be able to use system-guided work, you need to assign the queues in a specific sequence to a resource group. The benefit with this configuration is, that you can optimize the execution of queues, which is affected by warehouse process type or From- and To- activity area.
- “No Interleaving” – Interleaving is used to minimize empty runs that occur, for example, when larger quantities of a good are stored by a forklift. This means that after the warehouse order has been confirmed, the system searches for a queue in the sequence index that has a different type. The interleaving changes the queue search by not automatically always searching for a warehouse order in the first queue of the queue sequence. With the interleaving a queue ping-pong takes place depending on the queue type
- Define Queue type sequences – Resource Group (Optional)
- This app is only needed, if interleaving is relevant. With this app, you can create, change, and delete a queue type sequence to be used in interleaving for a resource group.
- Activate Radio Frequency Log (Optional)
- With this app, you can define and activate a radio frequency (RF) log to record activities that are carried out using RF devices. After you’ve activated the RF log, the system writes log entries at different points in time when an RF device is being used. You can use the RF log to identify, for example, error messages, incorrect validations, or where your warehouse workers need to use exception codes
- Delete Radio Frequency Log (Optional)
- With this app, you can delete the entries in the radio frequency (RF) log for the resources in a warehouse on a recurring basis
Configuration options in „Manage your Solution” App:
SSCUI ID – Description
104450 – Define Warehouse-Specific Verification (Optional)
You can maintain a warehouse-specific verification profile and the corresponding verification fields. However, you can only override verification fields that are ready for input. This means that a verification field cannot be activated if it is not supported for the particular screen. The idea is to display simple or complex screens to each user group, depending on their level of experience. A warehouse manager could thus also view sensitive data that an employee or holiday worker should not see. This can ensure that different users have to enter or scan different data on the screen template. For example, the quantity in the destination bin might need to be verified when putaway, but only for inexperienced employees or employees who have not worked in an area for long.
Warehouse Specific Verification Objects
104451 – Define Warehouse-Specific Verification Determination (Optional)
Allows you to specify during which process or warehouse operation the system should use a specific verification profile.
104452 – Control Display of Pick-HU Screen During RF Picking (Optional)
Allows you to control the display of the screen for creating pick-handling units in the radio frequency environment.
104698 – Define Resource Types (Optional)
Allows you to define resource types in order to group multiple resources with same physical qualifications. For e.g. some resource types for a better understanding:
- RT01 – User resource
- RT02 – High-Level Picker
- RT03 – Multi-Level Picker
- RT04 – Support Resource
It is also possible to maintain bin access types and handling unit type groups, in order to influence which warehouse orders are selected for a resource requesting work.
104700 – Define Queue Types (Optional)
In order to process tasks in an optimized way, it makes sense to configure entries along the processes for e.g. Inbound Process, Outbound Process and Internal Process:
- Inbound Process: From Goods Receipt Area to Final Putaway
- Outbound Process: From High Rack to Goods Issue Area
- Internal Process: Replenishment
104699 – Define Queues (Mandatory)
A queue is a logical file to which warehouse tasks are assigned for processing. Queues define movements by which work in the warehouse is managed and assigned. Example could be Goods Receipt (Inbound), Goods Issue (Outbound) or Replenishment etc.
Operating Environment defines, whether you would like to use this Queue for RF environment or not.
After defining queues, the next step is to maintain the queue determination criteria. During the warehouse order creation, the queue determination will be processed. The queue determination can be influenced by several criteria: From-Activity Area, To-Activity Area, Access Type, Warehouse Process Type, Activity and Queue.
Note: if not queue can be found, then the warehouse order cannot be confirmed by resource. For my example, I maintained all Warehouse Process Types and assigned the queue. In this case, the queue can be always found.
In the next step, it is possible to define Queue Access Sequence. For my example, I made an entry with Sequence number 1 and check the box for “Proc. Type”
104694 – Define Modes (Optional) (no part of this blog post)
Allows you to define modes, which are then used to calculate the priority and the latest starting date of warehouse tasks. In order to get “Modes” work, you need to define Activity Area and define activity for each mode.
Mobile Warehousing and Functionalities
App: Test RF Environment
Mobile Warehousing – Using RF Framework:
- Logical transactions for main warehouse processes
- Receiving & Inbound
- Counting & Inspection
- Ad-hoc task creation
- Standard menu to cluster transactions by process
- Queues to bundle workload and assign to resources
- Verification control to determine scan fields
- Activate, write and delete logs to understand user behavior
- No capacity management of resources
In system-guided control, a warehouse order is assigned to a resource.
However, depending on the resource type, the warehouse order would have to be
be created again. When the warehouse order is created, it is not clear
who will actually execute the warehouse order. If there are different resource types
(which, for example, can carry different numbers of handling units) working in the same queue
the same queue, there will be empty runs, or the resources will not always be
not always 100% utilized.
Assignment of the warehouse order to the resource always takes place ad-hoc. This means that whenever the resource has finished with a warehouse order, a new delivery order is searched for from that moment. No schedules are created, which means that the potential of assigning stock orders to a resource in sequence is not fully used.
- Mobile Data Terminals Restriction here
In conclusion, it can be said that resource management is an important topic. This feature is essential in order to be able to efficiently perform the processes in the warehouse, to assign bundled work packages to the employees, and to carry the process flow along without interruption. SAP offers two options for this. Either the Zebra device can be used with the provided RF framework or you take the opportunity and develop an app with the corresponding APIs.
Thanks for reading this blog post. Stay tuned!
For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, check out the following links:
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud Community here
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud Release info here
- Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA Cloud here
- Feature Scope Description here
- What’s New here
- Help Portal Product Page here
- Implementation Portal here
- Mobile Data Terminals Restriction here
- Link to Release 2108 Blog Post including Mobile Warehousing here
- Existing APIs for Cloud Warehouse Management here
- Resource Management in EWM here
- Resource Management Cloud Warehouse Management here