by Stefan Bröse
New opportunities to model your warehousing processes with S/4

STEFAN BRÖSE

NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO MODEL YOUR WAREHOUSING PROCESSES WITH S/4

HOW THE CONTINUANCE OF SAP WM INFLUENCES YOUR S/4HANA ROADMAP

The migration to S/4HANA requires a huge amount of strategic decisions to be made. Especially if you use SAP WM and SAP LES-TRA for your warehouse and transportation processes, big changes are imminent. In a blog article published by SAP, information about a new option to model these processes without migrating to an embedded or full SAP EWM was announced.



SAP WM IS NOW CALLED S/4HANA STOCK ROOM MANAGEMENT

BREAKING NEWS – A couple of days ago, SAP mentioned in an article that the migration from SAP WM to SAP EWM is not the only option to continue with an SAP-based warehouse management solution through 2025. Under the name S/4HANA Stock Room Management, SAP offers a way to use LE-WM logistics core processes in S/4HANA – but for existing SAP WM customers only. New customers will most likely be advised to SAP EWM directly. It will be interesting to see how this separation will work.
S/4HANA Stock Room Management will officially be made available with S/4HANA 1909; the existing SAP WM solution will continue to be supported by SAP until 2025.



WHAT IS PART OF S/4HANA STOCK ROOM MANAGEMENT, WHAT IS MISSING?

The scope of the S/4HANA Stock Room Management largely coincides with today’s possibilities in SAP WM. However, further enhancements are probably excluded. All mandatory components for an ordinary warehouse management will come standard, below are the noteworthy differences: 

  • Task & Resource Management (WM-TRM) will not be supported
  • If you still want to work with a decentralized WM (WM-DWM), consider migrating to SAP EWM; WM-DWM will drop out after 2025.
  • Whether to abandon the Value-Added Service Module (WM-VAS) is your decision. SAP offers various options to cover these processes.
  • The Yard Management Component (WM-CD) in SAP WM never enjoyed great popularity and is only active in few implementations.
  • In case you are working with Cross Docking in SAP WM (WM-CD), this could result in additional expenses. An individual development to close this functional gap is possible.
  • For the sake of completeness, the relatively unknown Wave Management (WM-TFM-CP) will also be excluded.


WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

There is a variety of options to cover warehouse management processes based on SAP for existing customers as well as for new implementations.

Aspects of SAP-based warehouse management

BENEFITS FOR SAP WM CUSTOMERS

The postponement, which results from the continuation of SAP WM, also brings advantages for existing SAP WM customers. Back office and logistics processes can be transferred step by step into the “new world,” making it easier to calculate investment costs for the migration to S/4HANA. Customers can now have complete peace of mind when deciding which warehouse management software is right for them.
Furthermore, this route offers the continuation of the existing solution process stability for the operational sector. Maintaining proven processes in the warehouse management and production supply minimizes potential migration risks. There is no time constraint for the conversion.



FURTHER USE OF COMPLEX DEVELOPMENTS IN YOUR OWN NAME SPACE

The new option can be of special interest for you in the event that you are working with complex individual developments. Our experience shows, that in the following areas individual developments complement the standard functionality:

  • Individual forklift management systems
  • Monitoring functions
  • Automatization of bookings
  • Individually developed scanner applications

While these functions would mostly need to be reconfigured for a migration to SAP EWM, they might still be used with S/4HANA Stock Room Management under certain circumstances. 



FURTHER USE OF STANDARD WAREHOUSE PROCESSES IN SAP WM

For many customers, it can be particularly interesting to reuse certain processes with a strong link to SAP ERP without major changes beyond 2025, such as:

  • Incoming goods processes with or without delivery
  • SAP-QM-Integration
  • Handling Unit Management
  • Packaging as part of outbound delivery process or
  • Production supply (WM – PP Interface)


HOW TO DECIDE ON A FUTURE WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE?

  1. The first step should be to analyze existing processes. After having checked the as-is, you can evaluate the fit of the to-be solution.
  2. Check if your existing hardware for warehouse processes is still fit for purpose, especially mobile devices and scanners.
  3. It is very important to analyze existing internal and external interfacing. Only based on a clear picture of all interfaces, you can ensure that your assessment regarding connectivity adds value.
  4. Investigate your as-is setup in terms of customer specific enhancements. Are these future proof after an upgrade to S/4HANA and Stock Room Management? Which interdependencies have to be respected?
  5. The best way to measure the fit between the preliminary steps and the potential to-be solutions is to create a scoring model of the alternatives. We are happy to support you in doing that.


HOW TO EASE THE CHANGE

The continuity of SAP WM support provides you with lots of opportunities to migrate to SAP EWM step by step. You can continue using existing hardware and applications such as ITS-Mobile initially, then later perform the transition to new device types and UI5 Application integration in a successive way. 

There is no need to model existing processes in SAP EWM immediately (no “Big Bang” required). It is possible to make the change incrementally at your own pace.



ARE YOU STILL UNSURE?

For us it is very hard to give clear advice on how to perform the change, but we can recommend the following: 

  • A hybrid approach with different solutions being used in parallel. 
  • Complex processes should be moved to SAP EWM. 
  • More simple logistics processes can remain in Stock Room Management.

We have had very good experiences in the past with similar parallel operations of two solutions, such as WM and Lean WM. We are happy to provide you with our consulting services regarding the migrations and sustainability of your SAP-based warehouse management and support you in making the right decisions for your business.

For any further questions please contact blog@leogistics.com.

Stefan Bröse
Jan-Philipp Horstmann
Senior Consultants SAP Logistics