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Resolving three key manufacturing challenges with process optimization
11/09/2019

SAP Stock Room Management: strategic move or shortcut?

As you may have seen in the world of SAP product releases, there is a new offering planned in SAP SAP S/4HANA as part of Enterprise Management addressing the installed base of Large Enterprise-Warehouse Management (LE-WM) customers that move to SAP S/4HANA. This offering is supporting warehouses with low complexity and basic warehouse processes. Stock Room Management gives existing customers of LE-WM an opportunity to keep these warehouses untouched that do not benefit immediately from moving to embedded Enterprise Warehouse Management (EWM).

In short, this new product release is a way of reducing the barrier to entry for SAP S4/HANA and reducing implementation risk and removing a large change management exercise with regards to user adoption.

To unpick how and why this has come around now, and what our recommendation for moving forward is, we spoke with our resident warehouse automation and supply chain management expert Richard Seel…

1. What does Stock Room Management do?

Stock Room Management is a component specifically for SAP S/4HANA 1909. Both components are built on the same data model, and Stock Room Management covers many of the same processes but is targeted solely at basic warehouse processes. When migrating from ECC to SAP S/4HANA, Stock Room Management offers the immediate benefit of allowing businesses to continue to use existing basic warehouse functionality covered by the SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management license. Crucially, this enables business to reduce the risk and accelerate deployments when transforming their business on SAP S/4HANA.

2. Why are SAP releasing this now?

The purpose of releasing this now is to help accelerate and reduce the risk of deploying SAP S/4HANA to large numbers of warehouse locations, allowing customers to plan and control their EWM adoption. The solution is suitable for current users of SAP ECC WM, which meets their current business requirements and feel the change adoption is significant and a barrier to adopting SAP S4/HANA.

3. What are the key differences between Stoke Room Management and LE-WM?

The most important area to note is that this is fundamentally a reduction in functionality and scope. This reduced set of capabilities is a suitable offering for companies that are using LE-WM today and do not need to manage more complex warehouse processes, but they do want to rely on a more simple solution that covers basic warehouse processes.

Functionality originally available in ECC LE-WM that will not be available in Stock Room Management includes:

  • Task & Resource Management (WM-TRM)
  • Warehouse Control Unit interface (WM-LSR)
  • Value Added Service (WM-VAS)
  • Yard Management (WM-YM), Cross-Docking (WM-CD)
  • Wave Management (WM-TFM-CP)
  • Decentral WM (WM-DWM)

4. When comparing to embedded EWM, what are the limitations of Stock Room Management?

EWM still remains the strategic choice for SAP S4/HANA. This new release really is about stripping away functionality for certain types of warehouse operation. The list above details some of the functionality that isn’t included, and what this means is that you’re opting for a solution that’s designed purely for basic processes.

Though Stock Room Management helps to simplify some areas of the operation, it doesn’t offer the optimized warehouse processes such as resource and labor management, picking waves or task interleaving. The ability to oversee all of these processes and monitor efficiently can only be done with EWM. If you only require management of basic processes and do not seek scalability or anticipate growth, then Stock Room Management may be appropriate.

5. How would this impact the ability to drive innovative processes?

As an innovation platform to enable an automated digital business, SAP is not planning to invest in Stock Room Management. The strategic product driving operational warehouse benefits is SAP EWM. Stock Room Management has the focus of supporting existing customers with currently used functionalities only. It should only form part of the longer-term road map to drive innovation and the benefits from newer functionality offered in EWM on SAP S/4HANA.

To automate key processes, increase productivity and drive value from innovation, we always recommend SAP EWM as the strategic solution. Find out more about our templated approach, FAST EWM by clicking the button below.

If you have any more questions about warehouse automation or supply chain management, contact Richard Seel on LinkedIn.