By Sven Jacques
Quinaptis is a specialist in the field of SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM). We develop solutions to improve warehouses’ efficiency and innovative concepts to enhance the logistics flows of our customers. Quinaptis was chosen by Arvesta as a partner to work together on their SAP logistics future. Let’s start at the beginning of this success story written by Quinaptis.
The goal of this project was to setup one core warehouse in the EWM system that can serve as a template for all the possible roll outs. Hence it was called ‘the Core project’. Based on the needs of each warehouse, functionalities could be added or removed from the template in the EWM system. Following this approach, there would always be a ready-to-use system for each warehouse separately that covers the different business functionalities. The complete design and configuration are based on a dedicated focus to use SAP’s best practices and standard functionalities as much as possible.
In such a template solution it is key to gather all the business requirements and to match those with SAP solutions. Quinaptis took the lead during the Prepare and Explore phase of the project to collect the required information and discuss the logistical flows in the warehouses. Workshops were planned to deep dive in all the different processes of the different entities. This well-prepared and organized way of working resulted in an overview of all the business requirements and decisions that the core template should cover. The next step was to build the SAP EWM template warehouse that we called the CORE warehouse. The latter is the foundation for the first physical warehouse, the pilot and was realized thanks to strong craftsmanship.
The following phase was called the ‘Pilot’ and via a bucket approach we went into more detail, expanding the template with new template functionalities and adding necessary localizations, such as the warehouse structure. A bucket consisted of a list of functionalities that should be realized within that bucket. Regarding testing, each bucket contained unit testing, integration testing and of course user acceptance testing which had to be completed. In this way, we made sure that a close connection was held between reality and business expectations. For all those tests, a development system, a quality system and a pre-production system were set up. Once all functionalities and buckets were behind us, the key users were trained and requested to participate in the final UAT. Meanwhile, the cutover activities towards the first actual go-live were ongoing. To ensure a smooth path towards go-live, a well-built cutover plan was used and followed.
Simultaneously, the migration of all master data objects was ongoing to transfer data from the legacy system to SAP EWM specific master data. In concrete terms, this covers EWM product warehouse data, packaging specifications, storage bins, fixed bin assignment, and stock uploads. These uploads were also tested in the quality and pre-production systems.
To prepare the end-users for a smooth go-live, a dedicated training phase was planned. To start, there was extensive theoretical training to cover all the terms and functionalities within the new system. Additionally, SAP Enable Now was used to support the training.
Using SAP Enable Now, users were able perform various flows multiple times, improving the adoption of and transition to the new system. To even make it more hands-on, a mini-warehouse was created so the warehouse clerks could practice all the flows via the RF devices in real life. Practice makes perfect.
January 11th, the day a new journey started for the Arvesta organization, more specifically in their warehouse located in Sint-Truiden. This warehouse was the first in line to support their daily business operations with a new SAP S/4HANA EWM system. This warehouse, specialized in the distribution of crop protection products for agriculture and horticulture, will now use the EWM system to improve its logistics experience.
All inbound, outbound and internal processes were executed in the new system as of day 1. These flows were working as expected and no major incidents were logged. Quinaptis provided first- and second-line support to guarantee a smooth start. The first-line support was on site in the warehouse to help the clerks with all possible questions. As you can imagine, not an easy challenge in times of COVID-19. The second-line support did a great job by monitoring and resolving the business requests.
The warehouse located in Sint-Truiden is now capable of performing and monitoring all their warehouse activities in a structured way within SAP S/4HANA EWM. The system supports the packing of all the incoming pallets into handling units (HU), based on their packaging specification. The put-away of these pallets is optimized by a strategy involving HU type, storage bin type, and hazardous rating. This results in very efficient use of available stock places while still complying to legal obligations. An internal activity like physical inventory is now carried out via cycle counting. Based on the A, B or C indicator per material the system flexibly determines how many times the material needs to be counted throughout a year. The outbound flow is optimized by using the following SAP EWM functionalities: wave templates, process-oriented storage control, dynamic printer determination, cartonization and transportation unit management, including an interface to a 3rd party transportation management tool. This is all supported by order-related and planned replenishment to ensure stock availability on the correct location. In addition, an advanced customer return flow has been configured and a returnables solution is set in place to have a clear overview of all the incoming and outgoing returnables per customer and vendor.
To increase the user experience, it was decided to work via the Fiori platform. Based on the roles and responsibilities of end-users, they see a well-ordered overview of all different apps. Each app is linked and placed under a certain process. You can use an app for example to maintain an inbound delivery or to create warehouse tasks.
The clerks in the warehouse will work via handheld and reach truck devices. They can perform all the inbound, internal, and outbound activities via these scanners. This is a benefit to follow up all the activities in the warehouse and optimize where possible. We have implemented state of the art handheld devices, working on Android OS and the latest version of SAP’s RF design.
The start of this journey would only be possible through a combination of knowledge and teamwork. In the past months, a highly motivated team worked dedicated towards one common goal. The close collaboration between Quinaptis, the Arvesta business architects, Accenture and the key users is rewarded with the most desired result: a successful go-live of the business daily activities supported by a smooth-working SAP S/4HANA EWM system. Even during these insecure times with Covid-19 measures and boundaries, Quinaptis was able to deliver a qualitative, innovative, and customer-focused system that will support the business in its goal to harmonize, standardize, and innovate!