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WM or EWM? Choose between customization or standard soltution

Blog written by Robin Beimans, Consultant at Aiden

Many logistics companies have been using SAP Warehouse Management for a considerable period. SAP WM is a proven warehousing solution. However, with SAP WM, the sky is not the limit. The system also has its limitations. For example, when Third Party Logistics (3PL) companies have to deal with very complex logistics processes in the supply chain, or if they have a customer portfolio with specific requirements. The abbreviation 3PL stands for Third Party Logistics. A 3PL company is a third party that takes care of logistics in the supply chain.

Bypassing restrictions

Fortunately, many 3PL companies employ good SAP consultants who have worked within the organization for years. These consultants also have the necessary technical knowledge to customize SAP WM to bypass limitations of the system. However, this arrangement entails risks. There is a probability that the SAP WM system includes a large number of customization in no time.

Headshot Robin.pngSolving problems

As long as the experienced consultants will remain working in the company the customizations will not cause any problems. But, if they leave, software issues will get more complex to deal with. New consultants sometimes lack technical knowledge, or are not getting familiar fast with the software. Even worse, when relevant documentation is also missing. If there is a hitch, the new consultants will not be able to solve the problem. Or they are taking a long time to find the source of the problem. 3PL companies are obviously not looking forward to this. Solving problems is expensive and time consuming. The available tight budgets are often not geared to this.

Customization in standard equipment

Is it necessary to use the technical knowledge and experience of consultants to circumvent the limitations of a SAP WM system? The answer is: “No”. The tailor-made solutions in the SAP WM system are part of the standard equipment of SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM). The Process-oriented storage control is a good example of such a solution. The consultants mimic this functionality, while this solution is standard in SAP EWM.

Difference SAP WM and SAP EWM

Complex warehouses often contain a multi-step inbound or outbound process. From the starting location, a product goes through various steps and stockpoints to conclusively arrive at the final location in the warehouse, and onward transport will start. In other words, the product is not immediately transferred to its final destination. In SAP EWM it is possible to define these steps per product or per product type. For this you use the Process-oriented storage control. While SAP WM does not have this standard functionality, through customization it can be realized in all likelyhood. If you want to use this solution, you will need customization.

Standard or customized?

What is the advantage of using standard SAP solutions over customization? First of all, a standard solution reduces the risk of problems. Then, you will run into bottlenecks less quickly. And, you also spend less time to identify the source of a bottleneck. If a consultant leaves the project in your company, his successor will be more easily up-and-running, if he has the relevant SAP EWM knowledge. But finally, customization still entails a risk. When new updates become available, customization often causes problems and needs to be updated as well

Switching to SAP EWM?

The Aiden Warehousing team has knowledge of both SAP WM and SAP EWM. All team members are EWM certified and have extensive practical experience. SAP WM remains an excellent solution if the inventory processes in your warehouse are not too complex. But if the complexity increases, and you still would like to meet customer’s requirements, it may the right moment to switch to SAP EWM. Are you considering this switch? Or would you like more text and an explanation of the added value for your warehouse?
Want to know more about WM or EWM? Choosing between custom or standard solution, and what it can mean for your organization? Call us on  088 060 5111 or contact us via our contact page.