SAP S/4HANA Supply Chain
The new ERP generation from SAP was officially launched in 2015:
SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management
The SAP S/4HANA Enterprise software is based on SAP's proprietary SAP HANA database and is thus able to map transactions and analyses in real time in a single system, thereby significantly reducing the associated storage requirements. Furthermore, the software architecture already fully complies with the concepts inherent to INDUSTRY 4.0 as well as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data.
Within this new SAP Business Suite, the new SAP S/4HANA Supply Chain Module is the logistical S/4HANA core. In addition to a completely revised and simplified materials management SLOG (formerly the MM module), the warehouse management module SAP, Extended Warehouse Management module SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) is now also available in SAP S/4HANA as an "Embedded EWM" version. This effectively serves as a successor to the "old" R/3 SAP Warehouse Management (WM module) as well as the Logistics Execution Module LE and LE-TRA, which will only be supported by SAP until 2025. The biggest advantage of the embedded SAP EWM is centralised, consistent data, which ensures there is no redundancy and no duplication of data or data layers. This allows customers with small warehouse locations to further simplify their system landscape.
The option to decentralise SAP Extended Warehouse Management, i.e. to operate it as a separate system within the SAP Supply Chain Execution Platform, is of course still available to customers for medium and larger warehouse locations with the highest levels of performance and availability.
As a result, ERP-integrated EWM functions for operative logistics are now available in addition to the tried-and-tested SAP Supply Chain Execution Platform (SAP EWM / SAP TM):
Besides embedded EWM, the new functions in S/4HANA Supply Chain include inventory management, production planning and detailed scheduling (PP/DS), as well as the newly developed availability check (Advanced Available to Promise).
As is well known, SAP S/4HANA uses a new data model, once again resulting in significantly reduced storage requirements for the database in this supply chain module. This becomes technically possible because you can dispense with aggregates and indices, and instead quickly generate them in real time as needed.
In addition, parallel postings are possible with SAP S/4HANA. Previously, you had to wait for the previous booking to complete, as SAP and other IT systems were suspended for a short time during the transaction. By contrast, S/4HANA is designed to enable faster processing of financial and logistics processes due to shorter throughput times and reduced storage requirements.
Practical examples to highlight the specific advantages of S/4HANA:
- Mass postings: capacity bottlenecks in logistics distribution centres should now be a thing of the past. The SAP system is no longer the bottleneck – even if a large number of lorries need to depart or arrive simultaneously, or if many packages or returns need to be processed. Parallel postings are possible without system lockouts.
- For delivery or service vehicles, mobile devices synchronise directly with the ERP system. It is possible to automate the accounting of goods output, customer invoicing, as well as replenishment and route planning for subsequent deliveries.
- Material Requirements Planning (MRP) can help dispatchers achieve the right balance between part availability and capital tie-up in the warehouse. Useful tools here include signalling of critical stocks, simulations, SAP Fiori graphs and system-side suggestions.
- Optimised inventory: stock levels can be classified using ABC/XYZ analyses and evaluated by turnaround time. Stock levels can be kept constant via real-time display of inputs and outputs.
- Easy interpretation of information by dispatchers thanks to cockpit displays, customisable user interfaces, graphical representations and charts. Improved ability to use production data to obtain and provide information in response to customer enquiries about delivery dates.
- Alarm messages in case of bottlenecks in material flow and MRP with reduced response times. Decision-making support via simulations for improved inventory forecasts and system-side suggestions to help remove bottlenecks.
- Real-time analysis options for material requirements, sales figures and results: Evaluations are always based on up-to-date S/4HANA data stocks as well as non-obsolete information from the previous day that is drawn from interim tables or aggregates. Changes can also be displayed in real time.
Migration of SAP WM to SAP (S/4HANA Supply Chain)
SAP has built several bridges which allow the many users of the popular SAP R/3 Warehouse Management (SAP WM) component to smoothly migrate to SAP S/4HANA Supply Chain.
- First of all, there is a transitional option to use the "old" SAP WM within the S/4HANA ERP core, i.e. SAP still operates SAP WM and currently plans to support this transition scenario until 2025.
- Within this transition scenario, SAP customers who have already decided on the short-term introduction of S/4HANA ERP can perform a complete ERP migration from ECC to S/4 and, in so doing, retain their SAP WM functionality including all individual extensions. SAP provides various wizards and services to facilitate this "technical relocation". However, this transition scenario does not remove the need to migrate to SAP S/4HANA Supply Chain (embedded or decentralised EWM) before 2025.
- On the other hand, a real alternative could be early migration of the SAP WM module to a decentralised SAP EWM System, since this migration can take place separately (both temporally and technically) from the ERP migration project to S/4HANA.
IGZ will gladly work out which migration path is right for you as part of an "S4/HANA warehouse logistics check".