Digitization of warehouse management with SAP WM and UI5
Project duration: 15 months
Our client is one of the leading companies in the field of drinking water and wastewater disposal and operates a large number of sites. The company's main areas of expertise are the treatment and distribution of drinking water and the discharge and treatment of wastewater. Through these fields of activity, the company guarantees a reliable and sustainable supply of clean drinking water.
All essential components for the maintenance of the drinking water supply network and the supply of consumption points are stored in the central warehouse, from pipes to water meters. The warehouse also holds a large number of other items, including Group-wide supply materials and materials for other companies.
The warehouse covers a total area of 4,000 square meters and includes 2,500 pallet spaces, six lean lifts and a considerable number of shelving racks. Around 30,000 goods movements take place within the warehouse every year.
At the beginning of 2022, warehouse management was still carried out manually, using a combination of routing slips and inventory management in the SAP MM module. There was no IT-supported storage location management, which led to numerous media disruptions and had a negative impact on the quality of the warehouse processes. As a result, there were high inventory discrepancies.
The main objective of the project was to significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of warehouse management. This was achieved through the introduction of modern technologies and processes. The specific project objectives were as follows:
1. Replacement of manual warehouse management: The project aimed to replace the outdated manual warehouse management system, which was based on routing slips and manual inventory management. This was to lead to the automation and digitalization of warehouse processes.
2. Introduction of SAP WM: The implementation of the SAP Warehouse Management (WM) system was a key objective. The aim was to make warehouse processes more efficient and improve the accuracy of inventory management.
3. Improving warehouse utilization: The project aimed to optimize warehouse utilization by managing and consolidating materials with low stock levels more effectively.
4. Introduction of mobile scanners: By introducing and configuring mobile scanners with a SAPUI5 user interface, the aim was to eliminate manual data entry and the transfer of handouts to the SAP system. This should reduce the workload and minimize errors.
5. Increase process reliability: The introduction of guided dialogs and a user-friendly interface should increase process reliability by preventing incorrect entries and supporting employees in warehouse management.
What did HPC accomplish?
HPC worked towards a project flow with the following steps:
- Project management was successfully carried out as part of the project in order to coordinate all steps and resources efficiently.
- The introduction of SAP WM enabled optimized warehouse management and processes.
- The design of the warehouse structures was developed to enable better organization and utilization of the warehouse.
- The implementation of SAP UI5 created a user-friendly interface for the application.
- The implementation of mobile UI5 dialogs enabled efficient and error-free interaction of employees with the system.
- The setup and configuration of mobile scanners was carried out to ensure the smooth capture of data in the warehouse.
- The migration of inventory data enabled a seamless transition to the new warehouse management processes.
- Inventory was carried out to accurately record and check stock levels in the warehouse.
- A roles and rights concept was developed to control access to the system and ensure data security.
By introducing SAP WM in the central warehouse, the fixed bin management system was replaced and the existing warehouse was used much more flexibly. In future, it will be possible to consolidate materials with low stock levels in a single bin, which will increase the efficiency of warehouse utilization.
Managing the warehouse with the help of handouts proved to be problematic for various reasons. On the one hand, the handouts were often insufficiently filled out, and on the other hand, manually transferring the data to the SAP system required an additional work step in warehouse management. This not only led to duplication of effort, but also to delays. With the introduction of mobile scanners, warehouse employees can now pick the required spare parts directly and post them directly in the SAP system. This ensures that the booking is made directly in SAP without having to go through middleware.
The simplified user interface with SAP UI5 enables employees to work with a variety of scanners and forklift terminals, as the interface automatically adapts to the display size of the respective device. In addition, guided dialogs prevent incorrect entries or erroneous postings in SAP. This creates trust and security for everyone involved in the warehouse.
What were the challenges?
Our customer is one of the system-relevant utilities. It is therefore of the utmost importance that the solution provided is extremely reliable. This ensures that warehouse staff can always rely on accurate bookings and information about available stock levels.
The IT infrastructure in the warehouse must be secured so that mobile devices can always access SAP via WLAN, while ensuring that the closed system cannot be breached.
The employee structure in the warehouse is extremely diverse, with employees of different age groups. When implementing the guided processes, care was taken to make the dialogs as simple as possible, while still displaying all essential information for processing. A validation of the entries in the dialog was carried out at every step in the SAP system to ensure that any errors could be detected and corrected immediately.
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