How Can an SAP EWM Consultant Help You Improve How Your Organization Manages Your Supply Chain?

How Can an SAP EWM Consultant Help You Improve How Your Organization Manages Your Supply Chain?

The Advantage of SAP EWM Over Basic WMS

SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) is part of SAP AG’s Supply Chain Management Suite of solutions. The SAP EWM application is a supply chain management system that can manage high-volume warehouse operations and integrate complex supply chain logistics with your warehouse and distribution processes, delivering high levels of visibility and control.

The Warehouse Management System (WMS)

Your Warehouse Management System is the heart of your warehouse. A good WMS gives you the raw data needed to keep track of your inventory and manage your operations. It’s a must for today’s disrupted supply chain. Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) takes your control to the next level.

With the globalization of business, markets and customers are spread across various geographic locations. Now businesses must have robust warehouse and distribution operations to meet market/customer needs. Large businesses have large, high-volume warehousing, preferably with decentralized deployment to handle high throughput. This isn’t the case for most small and mid-sized warehousing operations. The cost of implementing a decentralized deployment is prohibitive.

Cost-effective Solution

For such businesses, SAP offers a cost-effective option of deploying a centralized EWM solution as an embedded application component through S/4 HANA. This solution gives businesses a host of benefits to easily manage and optimize their warehouse operations.

What are some of the advantages of SAP EWM for warehouses today?

Simplified IT landscape

The cost of ownership is drastically reduced, and the IT landscape is simplified by implementing an embedded SAP EWM solution. This solution provides a standard user experience across all the components of warehouse management and operations; considerably enhancing user engagement and productivity.

Seamless Process Integration

The embedded solution creates an ideal environment, integrating all the disparate processes, including those across planning and execution, product development, warehouse, quality, and transportation, which enables end-to-end operations management.

Accelerated Solution Implementation

SAP Best Practices are built with many years of partnering with businesses operating at every stage of the supply chain. It comes with an extensive offering of pre-configured processes, sample structures and automated workflows that can be deployed “out-of-the-box,” accelerating both the system implementation and ROI.

Reduced Data Redundancy

As entire warehousing and transactional data is contained within the S/4 HANA database, data redundancy is reduced significantly. Since the master data does not need to be duplicated, it eliminates the need to use CIF (Core Interface).

Additionally, as transactional data can be read directly, the need for an EGR (Expected Goods Receipt) document is also eliminated. Removal of multiple copies of the same information translates into lower storage costs and reduced network loads.

Flexible Solution Licensing

Depending on individual business requirements, SAP offers deployment of an embedded EWM solution with two varying functionalities:

Basic Embedded EWM option within the cost of S/4 HANA licensing.

This option keeps deployment and running costs down along with functionality for stock transparency and control, including inventory, process, and layout management.

Advanced Embedded EWM option with enhanced functionality, incurring an additional license fee.

This option consists of detailed functionality that further enhances the optimization of warehouse operations, including wave, yard, and labor management.

Choosing and implementing an EWM for the first time can be a benefit for your business, but it is a big undertaking. You could easily spend large sums of money on a system only to do an ineffective job implementing it. Help from an expert to guide you through the process from start to finish can save you time, money, and headaches.

Consultants tend to be experts on their given topic and related processes. They’ll have a broad understanding of the software options and advancements in many systems.

WMS and EWM distribution operations technology is evolving at breakneck speed. It’s hard to stay focused on what you need and what your customers demand. It takes time and a broad view to develop holistic, long-term strategy for your WMS.

What Can an SAP EWM Consultant Do for My Warehouse?

Consultants are experts who provide opinions, analysis, and recommendations to organizations. They can provide unbiased solutions when troubleshooting. You can also expect strategies to prevent problems and improve performance.

An EWM consultant will have an idea of vendors that target your industry and size. They’re also well-versed in features businesses like yours might need. And can help you avoid being up-sold if you’re looking at a new WMS platform. If you’re looking to use SAP EWM, a certified consultant will know all the ins and outs of the complicated setup process, ensuring you are setup to succeed from the beginning.

Good consultants know the software—and its limitations—allowing them to make recommendations unique to you. Always look for an unbiased consultant, without financial ties to a specific WMS provider. You don’t want someone who is getting paid by both you and a WMS provider for their recommendations.

Impartiality is another significant benefit. Outside consultants can work without the tunnel vision the rest of your team might have. They can focus on improving your processes without bias. An outside opinion can help you find bottlenecks and create a plan for where you want to be tomorrow.

Should I Hire a Consultant or DIY?

There are two factors to keep in mind when it comes to an EWM consultant: cost and knowledge.

It will cost more up front to hire an EWM consultant. You could always task a current team member to lead the project, but a good consultant will save you money in the long run. A well-implemented plan from an experienced consultant is worth the investment.

There are two fronts to be aware of when it comes to lack of knowledge:

Information the consultant may lack
Details your team may miss

Consultants aren’t aware of your company’s inner workings. They can only work based on the data they gather in interviews and system reviews. Be sure to share every important detail. Experienced SAP Extended Warehouse Management consultants will ask the right questions. They’ve gained the knowledge and expertise to realize that every warehouse is unique. But there are some details that are the same no matter the warehouse.

A warehouse consultant will narrow down solutions and focus on specific features, based on interviews with your team. This means your team needs to be honest and unbiased during the process. There may be some pushback from your staff when you bring in an outside consultant. Talk to your team ahead of time. Get their buy-in and make sure they’re ready to work with the consultants.

How Do You Choose?

Deciding if you want to hire a WMS or EWM consultant comes down to your team and your budget. If you can afford it and your team is willing to work with them, an outside consultant with deep industry experience can help you choose the right tool the first time. If you’ve already chosen a WMS platform, a professional consultant will likely understand it. Eliminate the guesswork.

Implementing a solid WMS is a worthwhile investment, but doing it alone isn’t for the faint of heart. If you want the advantage of getting your WMS selection right the first time, it can pay to partner with a WMS consultant who takes a customer-first approach. If you’re unsure, ask for references from previous customers.

Are you looking for a trusted partner to show you what’s possible with your supply chain?

Schedule a call with our consulting team today.

At Longbow Advantage, we’ve seen it all and found the solutions. We’re veterans of the manufacturing, retail, supply chain, logistics, and distribution industries. We’re also certified consultants with SAP. We believe these are two of the best solutions available to warehouses and supply chains today.

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