Warehouse management Holistic control of warehouse processes

Increasing demands in modern (omnichannel) retail present companies with major challenges and require effective warehouse management within supply chain management. With dynamic control of cross-system logistics processes, retail companies can increase their delivery readiness and delivery rates.

Warehouse management refers to the organization, control and management of goods within a warehouse. This includes tracking stock levels, storing and retrieving goods, picking products for orders and managing warehouse processes and resources to ensure smooth operations.

To do this, companies need a powerful warehouse management system (WMS).

FAQ: Lagerverwaltung

A warehouse management system takes over the complete control, monitoring and optimization of sophisticated warehouse and distribution systems and also offers the possibility of carrying out inventories. A warehouse management system covers the following functional areas:

  • Delivery of goods, delivery transportation
  • unloading
  • Incoming goods
  • Internal warehouse processes
  • Storage/retrieval/transfer
  • Order picking
  • Shipping
  • Loading
  • Delivery
  • Production warehouse
  • Production warehouse
  • dispatch warehouse

The following tasks can be described using simple W questions:

  1. Where do the goods come from (e.g. supplier notification)?
  2. Where are there still free storage spaces (e.g. for pallets or containers)?
  3. How are the items brought there (e.g. by forklift or conveyor technology)?
  4. How many items are to be removed or retrieved?

A basic distinction is made between stand-alone and ERP-integrated warehouse management systems:

Self-sufficient warehouse management system:

  • A stand-alone warehouse management system is a self-contained system. It can only communicate (if at all) with other systems in the company via complex, technical interfaces.

ERP-integrated warehouse management system:

  • Integrated warehouse management systems are incorporated into an ERP system. All data from inventory management, production, ordering, pricing, etc. is available in the entire ERP environment in a common system (e.g. SAP EWM).


SAP EWM as the leading warehouse management system

SAP EWM (Extended Warehouse Management) is one of the most frequently used and most powerful systems in the world. SAP EWM is able to handle the complete management of one or more logistics centers and is therefore used in larger companies or large warehouses and logistics centers.

The functions of SAP EWM as a warehouse management system include:

  • Warehouse management (summarized)
  • Classification of warehouse into storage types
  • Storage bin management (management of articles at bin level)
  • ABC classifications for arranging items in the warehouse

  • Warehouse strategies (storage/retrieval strategies)
  • Optimization of warehouse stocks
  • Evaluations, statistics
  • etc.

Classic warehouse management functions such as storage/retrieval/transfer are often supplemented by extension modules, because in addition to inventory management, SAP EWM also includes tools for:

Key advantages of SAP EWM

Improved warehouse management:

SAP EWM offers a comprehensive range of warehouse management functions to help companies manage their inventory efficiently, including putaway, stock removal, inventory management, stock transfer and physical inventory.

Real-time transparency:

SAP EWM provides real-time visibility into inventory levels, movements and activities. This enables companies to make informed decisions and react quickly to changes in demand or operating conditions.

Support for complex warehouse structures:

SAP EWM provides support for various warehouse structures, including multi-level warehouses, high-bay warehouses, automated warehouses and cross-docking facilities. This enables companies to flexibly adapt their warehouse infrastructure to their requirements.

Scalability and flexibility:

SAP EWM is scalable and can be adapted to a company's changing requirements and growth. This enables companies to keep pace with the increasing complexity and size of their warehouse operations.

Optimization of warehouse processes:

By automating and optimizing warehouse processes, companies can increase efficiency, shorten throughput times and reduce the error rate. This leads to better utilization of warehouse capacity and improved customer satisfaction.

Integration with other SAP solutions:

As part of the SAP ecosystem, SAP EWM integrates seamlessly with other SAP modules such as SAP ERP, SAP S/4HANA, SAP SCM, etc. This integration enables a smooth flow of information between different business areas and improves data consistency and accuracy.

Compliance with legal requirements and industry standards:

SAP EWM supports compliance with legal requirements and industry standards for warehouse management, which is particularly important when companies operate in regulated industries or operate internationally.

Mobility and ease of use:

Mobile applications allow warehouse employees to perform their tasks directly on site, improving the efficiency and accuracy of warehouse processes. The SAP EWM user interface is intuitive and user-friendly, which reduces training time for new employees.

Stock allocation strategies

Stock allocation strategies play an important role in warehouse management. They determine the criteria according to which goods are to be stored or retrieved. For example, an attempt is made to use the storage volume efficiently and to optimize the storage time. There are many storage strategies. The most common include FIFO - First In | First Out, LIFO - Last In | Last Out, JIT - Just-in-Time, FEFO - First Expired | First Out, HIFO - Highest In | First Out, LOFO - Lowest In | First Out, cross-docking, ABC analysis-based warehousing, etc.

The FIFO strategy is a form of warehousing in which the oldest stock is removed from the warehouse first to ensure that no obsolete or expired products are stored. This strategy is generally used for goods that have a best-before date (BBD), such as food or pharmaceuticals.

This strategy involves the first stock removal of the most recently stored goods to ensure that the latest goods are always delivered. In most cases, LIFO is used for items that change little or have virtually no stock variation. The disadvantage is that older items remain in the warehouse for longer, resulting in costs for inefficiently used storage space.

Just-in-time (JIT) warehousing is a strategy that aims to reduce stock levels to an absolute minimum by delivering goods only when they are needed. This means that materials or products are delivered exactly when they are needed, minimizing stock levels and reducing storage costs.

Why IGZ is the right partner for you

If the entire operational processes are planned and controlled by a warehouse management system such as SAP EWM, all the components used work together as a single system. IGZ supports you in creating a smooth handling of incoming and outgoing goods processes and in integrating the processes of the entire supply network. With our support and the comprehensive functions of a warehouse management system, you are ideally prepared for the requirements of complex warehouse environments.

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Holger Häring
Sales Manager
IGZ Blog