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Developing an SAP-to-SAP-EWM Integration Strategy

One on One with Gina Voutyras of IBM Global Business Services

by Gary Byrne

April 5, 2017

Gina Voutyras, senior managing consultant at IBM Global Business Services, made her debut as a presenter at SCM 2017 this month. Voutyras said her experience in Orlando has been really great and that the team at SAPinsider has been very helpful in terms of getting the speakers prepped for their sessions. She said her session went smoothly, and she had a lot of great attendance. So she was really happy with speaking at this event.

I asked Voutyras a few questions about key points in her session.

Your session was on the importance of choosing an SAP-to-SAP integration strategy for warehouse management. One of the topics you discuss is SAP-to-SAP-EWM integration techniques. Based on the questions that attendees asked you during or after this session, did you notice any trends or a common pain point that organizations face when developing an SAP-to-SAP-EWM  integration strategy?

Typically, I think the technology involved with an SAP-to-SAP-EWM integration strategy is really not as well-known with the business in terms of how that communication method takes place. My session was great because I got to educate a lot of the participants about what it takes to have an SAP-to-SAP-EWM connection.

However, I would say that organizations also could definitely take advantage of the latest SAP SAP S/4HANA 1610 version where SAP EWM is an embedded solution and has all of the functions of EWM. However, it is on the same platform and located embedded within the core of SAP, so a lot of the pain points of integration between SAP and SAP EWM go away with that latest release because there’s no integration required.

One of the topics you addressed in your session was core interface (CIF) integration and queued Remote Function Call (qRFC) integration. Could you briefly explain the differences between these types of integration?

Both of those types are methods or techniques to integrate SAP to SAP EWM. The CIF integration is used for the master data elements (customer information, vendor information, and product or material master information), while the qRFC is used for transactional level data, which would be your outbound deliveries and inbound deliveries and the execution of those deliveries within EWM as well as your inventory adjustments or inventory movements that you need to post to the ERP system from EWM. Both are used when doing an SAP-to-SAP-EWM strategy.   

What are some advantages of using an integration dashboard?

So one of the most common problems that I’ve seen in my deployments is that the integration gets held up. Even in a best-of-breed solution or an SAP EWM solution there are master data elements that are missing that cause deliveries to not make it to the warehouse execution system, or there’s a variety of other problems that arise during the go-live that can be mitigated with an integration dashboard. Looking at what is delivered standard within EWM is the EWM Monitor and that warehouse monitor has views of the integration and whether or not there are any errors in the queues. Just that alone can get a little technical, so in order to make it easier for the business to monitor its integration, you should definitely take advantage of SAP Fiori. You can build or customize an application or a mobile application that can also monitor the integration between the two systems.

Catching integration failures early is very important, especially when you have business-critical processes that take place in your warehouse, and of course, this ultimately hits your bottom line because you are able to report inventory movement and successful delivery issuance up to your ERP so that you can get paid.

Do you know if DisneyWorld uses SAP? Would you like to be located in Orlando to help DisneyWorld with its supply chain strategies?

You know I don’t. I haven’t been to DisneyWorld since I was about 12 years old, but Orlando is a great place. It’s been really nice to be here for this conference. I love the weather, especially since it’s mid-March. Back home where I live in Ohio, it’s cold and it snows still, so it’s been a great break every day for me here in Orlando.

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