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We recently asked Mat Eames of Rocket Consulting to host an online Q&A to address the biggest questions surrounding SAP WM and EWM. Check out the transcript from this Q&A session and see whether your questions were answered.

Mat will be one of the featured speakers at SAPinsider’s SAP SCM 2014 conference in Nice, France May 14-16. For more info on the event, visit our website at Logistics & SCM, PLM, Manufacturing, and Procurement 2014 and follow us on Twitter @InsiderSCM

How do you see SAP-EWM evolve in next 10 years? Will it be used only for complex distribution centers or will it also be used in general less complex warehouses?

Mat Eames:  EWM is part of the strategic roadmap that SAP has set out for supply chain execution. This means that EWM will continue to develop and expand its footprint and functionality. EWM 9.1 is coming out of ramp up and 9.2 is about to start pre-release testing.

Functionality will only be one factor in the decision as to who implements it. Whilst it can be argued that less complex DCs don’t need all of the functionality EWM offers, you have to consider other factors in the decision. Are the requirements of your operation fixed for the next few years? Are there likely to be any factors (acquisitions or new customers) that mean you need to be able to change how you work quickly and effectively? Are you likely to need to integrate new technology into your landscape? How much does your existing WMS landscape cost to maintain and support today and tomorrow?

All these factors need to be reviewed by anyone considering changing their WMS.

Comment From Mariana: Is WM going to disappear?   

Mat Eames: No, it is in maintenance mode. This means SAP will continue to support it but they have no plans to develop new functionality. SAP WM still remains a very viable option for a lot of customers.

Comment From Jason: I know that 'Queue monitoring' between ECC & SCM is a big part of EWM. This is a little concerning. How much overhead does this typically generate for a client?

Mat Eames: Queued remote function calls (qRFCs) are used to communicate documents (deliveries, goods movements) and master data via the core interface (CIF) between ERP and EWM.

Queued data is an absolute must to be able to ensure goods movements are processed in the correct sequence.

Any overhead in terms of monitoring really depends on a number of factors. The ability of client support team to resolve the errors, how up to date the client’s SAP systems are in terms of support packs, etc. It can be time consuming in the final stages of the implementation project when the processes are configured and tested as per the requirements of the client. After the support phase the effort for monitoring the inbound/outbound queues is dramatically reduced due to the fine tuning that has been done in the earlier phases.

There are a number of automated jobs that can be set up to reprocess failed queues (due to locks or master data issues), this would then typically just leave genuine issues.

Comment From Jai: Why are many customers NOT using TRM? Is there any set back in using WM & TRM in place of EWM?

Mat Eames: TRM was developed to work alongside WM and adds many benefits to WM. Often it is enough for customers. The main setback is that as it is so tightly aligned to WM you have to adhere to the restrictions that go with WM. Whereas EWM was a complete rewrite from the ground up, it took some of the features from TRM and expanded them.

Comment From Sam Ranade: eWM cannot report batches in bins that are nearing that true?

Mat Eames: No, there is full SLED reporting in the Warehouse Monitor under the stock and bin node.

Comment From Sam Ranade: What is the roadmap for Quality Management and eWM ? It looks like there is duplication of data in ECC Inspection Plans, Sampling Plans, etc. and eWM's QIE. There is no CIF capability either. For those who have implemented QM module and now want to implement eWM, it appears that there is some master data that needs to be maintained in eWM although it exists in ECC already.

Mat Eames: The roadmap is strong; a direct integration option to ERP QM has just been released in EWM 9.1. Prior to that, QM in EWM was really designed for customers who wanted a very limited inspection process to be managed and controlled in EWM. It was never designed to replace ERP QM functionality.

With earlier releases of EWM, it is possible to connect EWM to ERP QM (or any other external QM system) if you require a more complex or full-blown quality management process. The QIE can be connected to an external QM system, such as SAP ERP QM. This way you can cover detailed analytical inspections with characteristics. Within the activation of an inspection document in EWM, the QIE triggers the creation of an inspection lot in ERP QM. The inspection process is executed in the ERP QM system. ERP QM sends back the usage decision to the QIE after the inspection is done.

See SAP Note 1278425 – Connecting ERP QM to EWM for more information.

Comment From Dominik Tylczynski: How does EWM handle inventory differences in nested handling units? Is physical counting supported with RF transaction if nested HUs are used? That process is virtually not supported in ERP's WM/HUM.

Mat Eames: EWM can handle PI of nested HUs in the desktop transactions and via RF. You can count the top HU and the sub HUs. One restriction in RF is the sub HU can be no larger than 16 characters.

Comment From Mahesh Uppalapati: Some clients don’t have inbound and outbound delivery. They use PO to GR and GI, but they have cross-docking requirements. Will EWM support cross docking without inbound and outbound deliveries?

Mat Eames: The link documents between ERP and EWM are deliveries, and typically these are created in ERP and transferred via qRFC to EWM. However you can also use expected goods receipts which are based on purchase orders and production orders. In this case you create an inbound delivery directly in EWM.

Comment From Mahesh Uppalapati: Can we link EWM directly to PP just like WM-PP interface?

Comment From Guest: Can EWM be integrated with PP?

Mat Eames: Yes it can, there are several models that can be supported: Two EWM-managed storage locations in one warehouse; one EWM-managed storage location; MM-IM-managed storage location and two EWM-managed storage locations in two warehouses. The choice would come down to how you want to control the stock in and out of the PSA.

To view the rest of the transcript, click here.

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