5 advantages of SAP EWM for your organisation
A new star has risen in the sky above the world of warehouse management. The SAP EWM Warehouse Management System has the potential to change everything and yet many organisations still haven’t switched. They are probably wondering what the added value is for an organisation to switch to SAP EWM. So in this blog I will explain that, pointing out 5 advantages.
SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) can be considered as the follow-up of the SAP LES Warehouse Management System. But even so, SAP EWM has already existed for thirteen years. Since about 2013, EWM has been well on its way to becoming the world’s leading WMS (Warehouse Management System). SAP developers have used their experience with the previous WMS system, SAP LES, to not only build SAP EWM from scratch, but also to improve it and to standardize it. Add to that the practical experiences of many satisfied EWM users in the SAP ‘customer engagement program’, and the result is a WMS package shaped by good working practices from across the entire world and many industries.
SAP EWM has now become a mature system that has shown its value at many different organisations. Yet despite that, many organisations still aren’t aware of this value. So I would now like to outline five crucial ways in which SAP EWM can make the difference for your organisation.
Is the risk of a failed implementation holding you back? Well that’s understandable because the warehouse is the very heart of your organisation. If something goes wrong there, then you risk losing quite some revenue, let alone the dissatisfied customers and the damage it could do to your company’s reputation. But thanks to the SAP Activate implementation methodology, the SAP EWM implementation will run on-time and on-budget. This methodology is based on a pre-configured system that is then adapted to your organization’s wishes by teams consisting of your own employees and consultants. The result? An excellently functioning warehouse management system without complex and expensive customization, and operated by employees who know their business and feel in control of the process.
As dynamic as reality itself
Are you not switching over because you’re so used to your current warehouse management system? And even though you need all types of adjustments to deal with the everyday reality? SAP EWM will ensure an easier and more flexible way of working. In the older warehouse management systems, the basic setup is often a static and sequential process. If step A (for example collecting orders) hasn’t been completed, then step B (for example loading orders) won’t be able to begin. Attempts to break into this process will generally lead to a flood of error messages. But SAP EWM consists of a brand new data model. It will give you complete freedom to execute tasks at the same time, to connect them, or to divide them. The system is therefore better accustomed to the warehouse’s own, often hectic, reality.
Another reality which you will be confronted with in the warehouse is that no day will ever run completely according to plan. Suppliers who make incomplete deliveries, goods that are rejected, or peripheral equipment that breaks down. However, many WMS packages will assume an error-free process and that makes it very time-consuming when common errors have to be fixed. In contrast, SAP EWM has integrated ‘troubleshooting tools’ to fix these types of problems directly when they occur on the work floor.
Satisfied customers and managers
It probably sounds familiar to you, heavy binders with outdated working instructions that’ve never actually been read. The countless Excel-formats that are being sent around or even printed out in order to “keep the overview”. Actually a WMS should be working intuitively and it should offer a user interface which will meet the needs of employees and managers. In the EWM system, employees only work in a minimum number of essential, all-purpose screens. These will enable employees to start processes ranging from A to Z, and follow, or influence them. EWM also has integrated KPI cockpits that will give a real-time overview on your process’ status, but also, for example, the available warehouse space.
Complying with customer and legal requirements will be a piece of cake
Listening to the ‘voice of the customer’ is increasingly important in order to keep your customers satisfied and to stay ahead of the competition. Customer requirements can make a process that is basically generic and simple into a very specific task which requires a lot of knowledge from experienced employees. Besides that, it requires a lot of coordination between different departments with customer contacts (sales office) and executive logistic departments.
EWM sets a high priority on the customers’ requirements. The order pickers will see the sales employee’s instructions on their scanner’s screen. Then, without any necessary prior knowledge or superfluous communication, they will be up-to-date and know exactly what is required.
Customers that wish to apply some modifications to their products will be served by VAS (Value Added Services) orders or Kitting orders (adding multiple products together in creating a new product). SAP EWM will make Kitting available for stock, but it will also ensure the possibility of Kitting just before the actual physical delivery of the product.
Besides the customers, legislators are another important stakeholder in the warehouse. Legal regulations at a European, national, and regional level will have a major influence on your process. EWM has services for these regulations ensuring compliance, for example regarding working with hazardous substances.
Simple implementation of SAP S/4HANA
SAP EWM is not the only much-discussed topic in the world of logistics, SAP S/4HANA is also a hot topic. This brand new ERP system is the follow-up to the very successful SAP ECC (or even the SAP R/3). But if you want to switch to S/4HANA, then you may be faced with the choice of a large-scale implementation. That is a lot of risky work and so it might be better to switch to S/4HANA step-by-step. SAP EWM is the ideal stepping stone towards SAP S/4HANA because SAP EWM can function as a stand-alone system connected to your ERP. This would allow you to use your EWM system to transfer the execution of your logistics to a new ‘on HANA-world’, assuring you that a crucial part of your organisation has been set-up for S/4HANA.