Warehouse Management

Over the past ten years the warehouse management market has matured greatly, with most major warehouse management vendors offering a full suite of functionality to accommodate a complex and diverse group of industries and business processes.

SAP have a long history of providing warehouse management solutions, starting with the classic SAP Warehouse Management (WM) through to highly sophisticated, best of breed offering known as SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM). SAP have evolved their warehouse management offering to be part of a supply chain execution platform that provides integrated planning, orchestration, execution, & tracking of the physical movement of goods.

Companies looking towards achieving supply chain excellence will often find achieving all of their goals can be challenging due to the existence of process silos, and a common example of this is external/standalone alone Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).

This is where SAP excels by having the SAP EWM solution as part of an integrated Supply Chain Execution platform, allowing tight alignment and process integration throughout, from planning, through orchestration and execution, as well as the management and tracking of the physical movement of goods.

 Conventional WM

SAP has provided warehouse management functionality since Release 2.0 of the SAP R/3 System. It was initially designed to be the link between procurement and distribution and later evolved as logistics execution (LES) with additional functionality to support shipping and transportation processes.

SAP WM was predominantly designed to support simple warehouse operations with basic warehouse processes and incorporates the following five main functions:

  • Inventory Management at storage-bin level
  • Mapping and control of all goods movements (receipts and issues)
  • Monitoring of the processing of any goods movements
  • Connection to mobile data entry as part of the integrated radio frequency (RF) solution
  • Connection to specialist external systems (such as automation systems).
  • The last major developments in for WM were back in 2004 when the logistics functions were extended to provide new functionality for Yard Management, Value Added Services (VAS), Dynamic Cycle Counting and Task and Resource Management (TRM).

SAP WM is currently in maintenance mode, which means it is still supported by SAP but there will be no further development of the software.

Extended Warehouse Management

SAP Extended Warehouse Management was first released in 2005 as EWM 5.0 and although it was not designed as a replacement for the SAP standard Warehouse Management (WM) application, it represented a new generation of SAP warehouse management software.

SAP EWM was a complete redevelopment of the warehouse management platform with new functionality, new system architecture and is designed to be a best of breed WMS that is not just for SAP ERP or SAP WM customers.

SAP was designed to support high performance, high volume warehouse operations and to provide support for comprehensive warehouse processes. It is designed to:

  • Cover all industries
  • Cover distribution centres and production warehouses
  • Support simple and complex high volume operations
  • Provide built in optimization and automation
  • Provide industry-specific support (catch weight, serial number etc.)
  • SAP EWM has continued to evolve through a constant program of annual software releases with each release offering enhanced functionality.

SAP EWM is designed to have the following key capabilities:

  • Quality, efficiency, and performance
  • Flexible modelling of warehouses and processes
  • Stock and process transparency
  • Optimization in process execution with seamless technology integration
  • Integration within the overall SAP logistics solution
  • High integration with other solutions
  • Integration to technical components (RFID/MFS)
  • SAP ERP environment and external software components (SAP NetWeaver)
  • SCM planning integration (e.g., slotting/push deployment)
  • Best-in-class product
  • For all kind of warehouses
  • For all industries and complexities

SAP EWM is part of the strategic investment roadmap for SAP and forms part of the Supply Chain execution platform, along with Transportation Management and Track and Trace.

How Should I choose between WM and EWM

SAP Extended Warehouse Management system is not a replacement for the SAP WM system and the SAP ERP WM system remains a viable alternative for many warehouses.

It is important to understand that SAP WM is not being developed any further by SAP and that SAP EWM is the strategic and ongoing development platform. However EWM is not right for all warehouses, so it is critical you take the time to evaluate your WMS requirements to make a confident and informed choice.

Supply chains are constantly changing and your WMS needs to be able to support your future business growth. It is vital that you consider the total cost of ownership (TCO) of, and the total benefits that can be achieved from, your platform selection.

The below diagram shows some high level functional and strategic differences between SAP WM and SAP EWM:


NextLink has a set of multiple-choice pre-designed questionnaire to help select your WMS platform selection. It has been designed in conjunction with SAP and industry experts and is continually updated to reflect the latest SAP versions and warehousing requirements.

It is designed to help aid informed decisions and to act as a stepping stone to accelerate your WMS selection process by providing a high level overview of which SAP WMS platform is best suited to your business requirements.

The questionnaire is sent upon customer request only due to privacy rights. It takes a maximum of 20 minutes to complete it.

The NextLink Way

As a specialized SAP Supply Chain and Logistics partner NextLink Solutions has a long, successful track record of delivering successful Warehouse Management implementations. As a result we have an investment and in-depth understanding of the level of complexity and variation found in warehouse management projects. Our methodology is built with a focus on real world, physical projects, rather than typical ERP data projects.

We deliver fit for purpose solutions using the SAP Warehouse Management platforms, integrating technology to drive accuracy, throughput and resource efficiency, with a strong emphasis on usability and ease of operational management.

NextLink will:

  • Help you select the right warehouse management solution
  • Support you in defining requirements to ensure proper costing aligned to software selection
  • Provide structured feasibility studies or a rapid proof of concept
  • Provide benchmark ROI calculations in line with the system benefits
  • Carry out and manage the implementation once the platform is selected
  • Improved warehouse management efficiency
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Enhanced business process optimization
  • Better management reporting and operation analytics
  • Ability to offer higher service levels to new customers
  • Integration with SAP Business Suite applications
  • Integration with leading edge warehouse technology
  • High degree of flexibility and adaptability
  • Multiple deployment options including within the cloud