Inbound Processes with SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM)
Inbound Processes, simple and complex, what are the differences? It will explain in a lean way how the inbound process (simple and complex) works in SAP EWM, starting from the Purchase order until the putaway
Efficient inbound processes are critical for optimizing warehouse operations and ensuring the smooth flow of goods movements into a warehouse. SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) provides standard tools and best practices functionalities to perform and enhance the inbound process, providing an smooth process based on the business needs and leading to an improved stock accuracy, reducing operational costs, and enhanced customer satisfaction.
Goods receipt in embedded EWM refers to movement of goods into the warehouse. Embedded EWM offers a wide array of functionalities for managing goods receipt and putaway in the warehouse.
Inbound processing is one of the key processes in warehouse management. You can receive goods in the warehouse via a purchase order if you’re getting stock from a vendor, a stock transfer order if you’re receiving stock from another facility, through production receipt, or from customer returns.
In this article, we will explore the key components of a simple inbound process from a vendor in SAP EWM and how they contribute to a more efficient warehouse optimization.
Purchase Order creation
Based on the MRP(Material Requirements Planning ) run or manually creating the purchase order, you can create the purchase order manually or convert the purchase requisition to form a purchase order. The purchase order is sent to the supplier, and the supplier can either physically send the goods or send an advanced shipping notice (ASN_Advanced Shipping notice) to confirm when the goods will arrive in the warehouse. The receipt of an advanced shipping notice creates the inbound delivery in SAP S/4HANA, if no ASN the creation of the inbound delivery will be based on the needs of the business.
Unloading is the process of moving goods from the TU/vehicle and bringing them to the staging area assigned to door in the warehouse.
Once the goods physically arrive at the warehouse, the unloading process takes place. SAP EWM supports various methods of unloading, such as manual unloading, automated unloading using conveyor systems, or even robotic unloading for high-volume distribution centers.
Once unloading is complete, you can post goods receipt for the inbound delivery in embedded EWM. You can perform complete and partial goods receipt in embedded EWM using inbound delivery.
In case of using ASN, SAP EWM enables the integration of Goods Receipt to receive real-time updates on incoming shipments. This helps warehouse managers anticipate the arrival of goods and plan resources accordingly as:
Complete goods receipt using inbound delivery.
Partial goods receipt using warehouse tasks.
Goods receipt reversal using returns delivery.
Deconsolidation is the process of breaking an HU or Pallet into multiple HUs based on products that belong to different groups (with different characteristic). These groups are used to group together products based on similar attributes and characteristics.
Value-added services (Complex)
When organizations perform extra services for products received into or sent from the warehouse, these are called value-added services. These services, such as kitting, oiling, cleaning, fuming, labeling and packaging and the like, enrich the value of a product.
These activities are carried out by sending the product to special work centers known as VAS work centers.
The next step in processing of inbound delivery in embedded EWM is putaway. This means moving products from the staging area to final putaway storage bins in the warehouse. However, putaway in embedded EWM isn’t always direct putaway into destination bins. Usually, a product moves through one or more intermediate steps, like labeling, deconsolidation, or quality inspection, before it becomes ready for final putaway. In such cases, the product moves through several intermediate bins before it reaches the destination storage bin. This is called complex putaway, as opposed to simple putaway, in which products received in the staging area in the warehouse are directly moved to the final bin.
SAP EWM employs algorithms to determine the optimal storage location based on factors like item characteristics, storage capacity, and proximity to the picking area. This intelligent putaway ensures efficient space utilization and minimizes travel time for warehouse operators.
For items that are pre-allocated for specific customer orders or have a short shelf life, SAP EWM supports cross-docking (optional). Cross-docking eliminates the need for storage and allows for direct transfer from the inbound dock to the outbound dock, reducing handling and storage costs.
SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) plays a primordial role in optimizing simple or complex inbound processes within a warehouse. SAP EWM enhances operational efficiency, reduces errors, and improves overall warehouse management.
Implementing SAP EWM empowers organizations to stay competitive with the best practices SAP provides in the field of supply chain. As SAP EWM continues to evolve it remains a powerful solution for achieving operational excellence in warehouse management.
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