Jan-Gert Bouma

Warehouse management with SAP S/4HANA

Do you struggle to get a good overview of the SAP warehouse management solutions available within SAP S/4HANA? Do you wonder if this is the right time to transition to S/4HANA? In this article, we give you an overview of the warehouse management solutions that are currently (Q1-2020) available in SAP S/4HANA.

In 2015, SAP announced the release of SAP S/4HANA, its first ERP software solution. Today, five years later, many SAP clients are thinking about upgrading their existing SAP system to this new S/4HANA environment.

SAP S/4HANA offers various solutions and implementation options from a warehouse management perspective. However, it can be quite a challenge to understand the differences between these options. The fact that S/4HANA is still in development, which means that the available solutions or implementation options are constantly being changed or renamed, adds to the complexity.

Common core

Before we go into details, it is good to know that SAP is working on developing a common core: a single source code for WM, which will be made available for various implementation options and client needs.

What does that mean, exactly? Compare it to buying ice cream: you can get a scoop of vanilla ice cream in various types and sizes of cones or cups, but the ice cream itself will always be the same. The same principle applies to S/4HANA; although the implementation options (cloud, on-premise, decentralised, etcetera) may differ, the core (the source code) remains the same.

The image below shows an overview of the available WM solutions. In the rest of this blog, we will cover every solution in more detail.

S/4HANA Basic Warehouse Management (Basic WM)

This solution, formerly known as Embedded Basic EWM, offers basic functionalities for warehouse management. From a technical perspective, this solution is based on EWM and it replaces the old LE-WM functionality available in SAP ECC. The S/4HANA Basic WM solution is part of S/4HANA and requires no additional licences.

S/4HANA Extended Warehouse Management (EWM)

This solution, formerly known as Embedded Advanced EWM, offers advanced WM functionality. It includes all basic EWM functions, but also offers additional functionality with regard to process optimisation and automation. Although S/4HANA EWM is part of S/4HANA, it does require additional licences.

Decentralised EWM on S/4HANA

Decentralized EWM on S/4HANA refers to the stand-alone EWM solution that runs on a separate S/4HANA server. In terms of functionality, this solution is 99% identical to the S/4HANA EWM solution. However, since it is a stand-alone system, it is better suited to businesses with large and heavily automated warehouses.

S/4HANA Cloud Warehouse Management

S/4HANA Cloud is a SaaS version of the S/4HANA ERP system. It runs on a public cloud and offers core ERP functionality. S/4HANA Cloud contains basic WM processes, including warehouse-level inventory management and support for incoming and outgoing goods flows. Since this is a cloud solution, the number of configuration and customisation options is limited.

S/4HANA Stock Room Management

S/4HANA Stock Room Management is like the ECC warehouse management component (LE-WM) without the options that support more complex warehouses. No innovations are planned and EWM will remain the strategic product.

To summarise: SAP offers various warehouse management solutions tailored to specific needs. The right choice mainly depends on the type of business and the functionality and scalability it requires. The image below offers a visual representation of the available options.

We hope this article has given you more insight into the warehouse management solutions available within SAP S/4HANA. Would you like to know more? Contact us or take a look at our Intelligent Logistics and Smart Re-Use solutions.

Think SAP EWM, Think McCoy