SAP announced another extension of support for its Warehouse Management (WM) application until 2027, giving users time to transition to the more advanced Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) solution. However, this extension doesn’t include any new features or enhancements for SAP WM.
Upgrading to EWM boasts numerous benefits, including greater visibility and control, advanced features, and seamless integration with other SAP modules. Waiting to upgrade can lead to potential risks, such as security vulnerabilities and lack of technical support (not to mention waiting can put you behind your competition)!
In a nutshell, SAP EWM offers more advanced features and functionality than SAP WM.
SAP EWM is a supremely sophisticated warehouse management solution, providing real-time visibility and control over all warehouse processes, including:
EWM also offers advanced features like slotting, cross-docking, and wave and labor management and achieves superior end-to-end supply chain visibility by virtue of its ability to seamlessly integrate with other SAP modules. Overall, EWM is a highly configurable platform that can be tailored to specific business needs, making it the ideal solution for complex, high-volume warehouse operations.
If SAP EWM represents the latest and greatest in warehouse operations management, WM is EWM's earlier, more basic predecessor. Ultimately, WM empowers business to manage inventory movements, track stock levels, and organize warehouse space. Other basic functionality supported by WM includes:
But make no mistake--EWM has these same features and more.
While warehouse management is an essential aspect of any successful supply chain, upgrading systems can be a daunting challenge for a company of any size! Fortunately, SAP EWM is a comprehensive solution that facilitates efficient warehouse management, affording you greater visibility and control over your warehouse operations than WM, all while and enhancing your overall supply chain operations.
SAP EWM enhances warehouse management by providing a complete solution that covers all aspects of warehouse operations. It allows for the efficient management of inbound and outbound processes, from receiving and putaway to picking and shipping. It also enables optimization of warehouse resources and workflows, improving productivity and reducing errors.
By boosting real-time visibility into inventory levels, locations, and movements, SAP EWM significantly improves inventory management. It also allows for accurate tracking and monitoring of inventory throughout the warehouse, from goods receipt to dispatch. It also supports inventory optimization by enabling dynamic slotting, demand-driven replenishment, and inventory monitoring based on user-defined criteria.
SAP EWM leverages the SAP NetWeaver platform and SAP Business suite to provide users with seamless end-to-end integration with other SAP modules like SAP Inventory Management, SAP Delivery Processing, and SAP ERP Central Component (ECC).
Offering advanced reporting capabilities like real-time dashboards, KPIs, and analytics, SAP EWM provides users with detailed insights into warehouse operations, enabling them to identify bottlenecks, optimize resources, and improve overall performance. EWM reporting functionality also supports compliance reporting and audit trails, ensuring that all warehouse operations are fully documented and traceable.
Arguably the strongest advantage over WM is SAP EWM’s measurable increase in efficiency and cost savings. EWM accomplishes this by streamlining warehouse operations, reducing errors, and optimizing resources. It enables faster and more accurate order processing, thereby reducing lead times and improving customer satisfaction.
SAP EWM also supports better inventory management, reducing stock-outs, excess inventory, and obsolescence. Ultimately, it provides better visibility and control over warehouse operations, enabling proactive management and optimization of resources (all benefits that add up to lower costs, higher efficiency, and greater ROI for your business).
Of course, we can’t talk about benefits without discussing the (easily surmountable) challenges of upgrading to SAP EWM.
While there are clear advantages to switching from SAP WM to SAP EWM, an upgrade may bring new technical challenges, like new hardware and software requirements. The transition may also require reconfiguration of existing systems, which can be time-consuming and potentially disruptive to ongoing operations.
With greater flexibility and more advanced features come changes to existing business processes. This can mean redefining workflows, adjusting employee roles and responsibilities, and possibly even restructuring the warehouse layout. Naturally, these challenges will need to be carefully planned and executed to minimize disruption to operations and ensure a successful transition.
Finally, what does training and adoption look like? Put very simply: the transition to EWM will require training employees on new software and processes, which will require time and resources.
You’ll need to make sure your team is up to speed on the new systems before fully implementing it. It’s also important to note that adoption may not be immediate, and there may be a learning curve to contend with, as employees adjust to the new system.
Realistically, training and adoption can take several months to a year (depending on the size of the organization and complexity of the warehouse operations). However, as we’ll explain in greater detail later, this is precisely why you should upgrade sooner rather than later.
Here’s an overview of the upgrade process:
The first step is to assess your current WM system to identify areas where EWM can provide value: evaluate the current system’s strengths and weaknesses, identify pain points, and understand gaps between current functionality and desired functionality.
The next step is to evaluate your specific business requirements and how EWM can meet them. This involves identifying the features and functionalities of EWM that will best support operations and meet your business goals.
Once you’ve identified your requirements, you’ll need to plan and design the EWM implementation. This involves developing a detailed project plan, outlining timelines and milestones, and defining the resources and budget needed to complete the upgrade. You’ll also need to design the new processes, workflows, and system configurations required to meet your business needs.
Before going live, you’ll need to thoroughly test the new EWM system to ensure it meets the requirements you’ve identified and functions properly. This involves developing test scenarios and scripts, executing tests, and fixing any issues identified during testing. As discussed earlier, you’ll also need to train employees on the new system.
Lastly, once training and testing are complete, you can go live with the new EWM system. During this stage, you’ll need to closely monitor the system and quickly address any issues. It’s recommended that you provide ongoing support to your employees to ensure they can effectively use the new system.
SAP has once again announced it won’t sunset its classic warehouse management system, SAP WM, until 2027 (previously set for 2025). Despite clear challenges and potential budgetary constraints, it’s clear that companies who can upgrade now should if they want to stay ahead of the competition. Here’s why:
Your customers expect a seamless and efficient experience when they interact with your business. Upgrading to EWM can help optimize your warehouse operations, reduce errors, and improve overall customer satisfaction. By offering advanced features, EWM can improve your warehouse processes and reduce delivery time, ensuring a better overall customer experience.
No two ways around it: the longer you wait to upgrade, the more complex that technical upgrade may become. The process requires careful planning and execution, and waiting can result in greater business disruptions. By upgrading earlier, your company can take a more measured and strategic approach to the whole upgrade process, minimizing potential risks and reducing downtime.
If your organization has made customizations to SAP WM, it’s important to note that these customizations may not be compatible with EWM. Upgrading earlier gives you more time to review and adjust any customizations to ensure a smooth transition. For this reason, we strongly recommend you work with an experienced SAP partner to evaluate your current system and identify any necessary changes.
Upgrading to SAP EWM can involve significant migration costs, especially if you are upgrading from an older version of SAP WM. Not to mention upgrading earlier allows you to spread the cost of migration over a longer period, which may be more cost-effective for your business in the long run! Lastly, you can mitigate the risk of security vulnerabilities associated with a soon-to-be unsupported version of SAP WM and (and avoid the hassle of compliance issues) if you upgrade now.
Overall, migrating to EWM from WM can be costly, including both the technical and operational expenses involved in the upgrade process (not to mention the time and labor required), but a successful upgrade to EWM could mean leading the competition, not following.
If you’ve made it this far, you clearly want to get the most out of your ERP and warehouse systems (and you can with SAP S/4HANA and ShipERP)!
SAP S/4HANA is a comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform that integrates with SAP EWM to help provide that end-to-end supply chain and visibility we talked about earlier. It also supports advanced features like real-time analytics, predictive capabilities, and machine learning algorithms to help businesses optimize their warehouse operations.
On the other hand, ShipERP offers both on-premise AND cloud-based, platform-agnostic solutions that integrates with SAP EWM to provide businesses with real-time visibility and control over their whole shipping operations. Moreover, it automates shipping processes, enables businesses to manage carrier rates and schedules, generate shipping labels and documents, and track shipments in real-time—all from one single platform!