How Delphi Saved Significant Warehouse Resources by Using Customer-Specific Inventory Levels in a Customized SAP MDE Environment

  • by Carmen Parasca, Architecture and Infrastructure Solution Design, DELPHI Information Technology
  • September 9, 2010
Discover how Delphi’s easy-to-implement, customized mobile data entry solution can reduce warehouse resources consumption and increase visibility by automating picking decisions and enabling control at a customer-specific inventory level.

With a footprint of almost 300 sites and 140,000 employees in 32 countries, Delphi Corporation is a global supplier of mobile electronics and transportation systems for original equipment and the aftermarket. Delphi’s portfolio includes diverse products, including powertrain, thermal, controls and security systems, electrical/electronic architecture, and in-car entertainment and communication technologies. All these different product lines are structured into several divisions, operate in many different markets, use different currencies, and follow different sets of laws and regulations. The multitude of information systems and applications used for manufacturing execution by Delphi introduce complex challenges in managing materials.

Delphi’s plants use its customers’ forecast information to schedule and plan production while conforming to manufacturing best practices and obtaining high efficiency in resource use. When materials are produced, they are also packaged and labeled according to the customers’ specifications. The materials are then stored in the warehouse and later picked to satisfy the deliveries. When the same material is shared by multiple customers, it may end up being stored in the warehouse in different packaging and labeling configurations.

However, SAP inventory levels do not recognize packaging and labeling differences. These differences are stored in a customized version of SAP Mobile Data Entry (SAP MDE), which is invisible to standard SAP transactions. Therefore, when a transfer order is created for a delivery to a specific customer, material that is packaged and labeled for a different customer might be reserved for the current customer. This depends on the picking strategy, such as in a first in, first out (FIFO) order. When a product is switched to a different customer, labor intensive relabeling or repackaging has to occur in the warehouse before the material can be shipped.

This article describes how Delphi came up with a solution to better manage customer-specific inventory levels in a customized SAP MDE environment by merging customized SAP MDE data into SAP’s standard functionality with minimal development and process impact. More specifically, in a warehouse management (WM) environment, the transfer order (TO) creation process is changed to only recognize as available inventory the serial numbers already packed and labeled according to the delivery’s customer specifications.

Carmen Parasca

Carmen Parasca started at Delphi Automotive in the company’s Global SAP Competency Center. She is currently a solutions architect in the IT organization’s global solutions team. She is based in Troy, Michigan.

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