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9 things you should ask before even implementing WM

by Robert Croce

May 5, 2010

 By Bob Croce, Insider Learning Network

From time to time, I plan to share with you interesting, and I hope useful, excerpts from the industry-leading publication SCM Expert. Today I offer this piece of a warehouse management article written a while back by Vijay Garg, Senior SAP SCM Consultant at ICM America.

In Vijay’s full article, he outlines the “28 Points you Need to Know about SAP WM Implementation.” In addition to those 28 points, here are nine things you should ask before even implementing WM:

1. Does your warehouse handle a large number of materials? The greater the number of materials, the more likely it is that you need WM. You should certainly consider WM if your warehouse manages 2,000 different materials or more. You can easily manag e just finished goods in WM and have raw materials, packaging materials, tank farm materials, or works-in-progress managed within IM.

2. Are your materials batch-managed? Each batch of a material adds complexity to material management in a warehouse. If you have multiple batches for each material, it will be more difficult to manage materials without WM.

3. Are the materials in your warehouse randomly placed in bins? The ability to place material randomly helps you use the available warehouse more efficiently, as any material may be placed in any available location. If materials in your warehouse are managed by a fixed bin for each material, you can manage materials within IM and may not need WM.

4. Are your materials already managed in bins by a legacy system? This could be an important overriding factor in favor of WM. If materials are already managed using some warehouse procedures and techniques in a legacy system, then WM needs to be implemented.

5. Do you find it difficult to locate material batches in your warehouse? Since batch numbers allow management of the same material with different characteristics under one material number, say 10 batches for a material, WM can be a big asset here. Are you typically hunting for materials to be issued to customer orders/production in your warehouse? You need the specific material batch, and different batches could be in different bins in the warehouse.

6. Do you wish to eliminate manual processes and automatically select bins for putaway (goods receipts) and pick (goods issues) materials from bins? WM is your only o ption to achieve this within SAP.

7. Do you need to identify specific pallets or containers? For example, you might have large bin sizes, or a customer or production needs a specific pallet reserved. This is only feasible using the storage unit (SU) management functionality within WM. Each SU has a unique ID.

8. Do you have clearly defined rules or warehouse practices? This is extremely important, as the design will revolve around the rules. WM's rules are unforgiving. Once set, rules can be changed only with a lot of effort through design reconfiguration and possibly master data.

9. Do you wish to use RF or bar-code scanners to automate putaway or picking from bins? RF and bar-code scanning eliminates manual data entry, which is error-prone. It improves data integrity and efficiency.

For information on how you can get the full versions of these articles, visting our SCM Expert infomation page.


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