Decentralized WMS Serves 24x7 Requirements

  • by Ashish Saxena, Senior Manager, Supply Chain Execution, Amazon
  • May 15, 2008
Identify the differences between centralized SAP Warehouse Management (SAP WM) and decentralized WM. Examine key considerations for implementing a decentralized warehouse management system for your company.
Key Concept
Traditionally, users implement SAP Warehouse Management (SAP WM) as part of SAP R/3 Release 4.5 and higher. The decentralized Warehouse Management system (decentralized WMS) provides the option to implement SAP WM as a standalone system integrated with either an SAP ERP system or a non-SAP ERP system.

As complex supply chains evolve, supply chain processes are becoming more integrated. Warehouse operations are an essential part of this integrated supply chain. Companies aim to increase efficiency and responsiveness. As a result, it is not uncommon to see 24x7 operations that require a reliable warehouse management system available at all times.

Although SAP Warehouse Management (SAP WM) has supported operational requirements for several years, you have another option. As of R/3 4.5, you can run SAP WM as an independent system, referred to as decentralized Warehouse Management (decentralized WMS). Decentralized WMS can accommodate these needs through faster processing, 24x7 operations, and compatibility with different ERP systems.

So, what does it mean to be an independent system? A separate server hosts decentralized WMS, unlike traditional centralized SAP WM, which runs on the same server as the ERP system. The decentralized WMS executes warehouse processes independently from ERP processes. These two systems have very distinct roles — ERP is the planning system and decentralized WMS is the execution system. The ERP system carries out functions such as material planning, inventory management, and sales and purchase orders processing, while the decentralized WMS performs the warehouse operations, including stock management, goods receipt, goods issue, planning, and monitoring. I’ll discuss several functional features available in the decentralized WMS and then provide helpful configuration advice.

Ashish Saxena

Ashish Saxena is senior manager, supply chain execution, at Amazon. He was previously a senior director at Cognizant Technology Solutions and associate partner at IBM’s Supply Chain practice. He has more than 14 years of experience, including working in supply chain strategy, planning, execution, and technology in multiple industries.

An SAP SCM planning and execution subject matter expert, Ashish has been working with SAP for more than10 years, and has successfully delivered several large-scale global SAP projects. He has helped transform supply chains in wide range of industries, including automotive, retail, energy, consumer products, third-party logistics, and pharmaceutical sectors. His most recent focus is on supply chain digitization and analytics. 

In addition to advising and contributing to SCM Expert, Ashish is a regular speaker at the SAPinsider SCM conference. For information on other SAPinsider conferences, click here.

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