I meet with a lot of clients who ask this question. They believe in the best of the breed systems and a proven history of operating warehouses successfully. In the past I used to give detailed answers about how great EWM features are, how it can support the business, etc. Now I smile and begin my round of questions with “Why wouldn’t you like EWM?”
- Don’t you want to reduce operational costs?
- Don’t you want to improve customer delivery performance?
- Don’t you want to improve inventory visibility?
- Don’t you want to improve fill rates and provide real time delivery status to your customer?
- How about empowering your people with data on how they are performing?
- How about taking your decisions by leveraging data on how your network is performing?
The list is long but typically 2-3 questions are enough for my clients to understand what SAP EWM can do for their business.
The logic is “simplicity with complexity”. With cost containment pressures and fluctuating demand, supply chain executives are looking for systems that will be simple to install, simple for people to follow, while still supporting complex processes.
Simplicity - unlike other BOB systems, SAP EWM does not require bolt-ons for labor management, slotting, yard / dock management, kitting, cross-docking, MHE management and many other processes. Having these capabilities in a single platform reduces IT cost and provides one system for Business to learn and operate.
Simplicity extended – EWM is scalable from small warehouses to large warehouses. An entire supply chain can now operate on a common backbone thereby improving information sharing.
Complexity simplified - “but large warehouses have complex processes that are an over kill for small warehouses. How do we manage that?” Answer is not in the software but in the design of how you operationalize the system with different templates. Further, think of EWM as a supply chain system and not just a warehouse management system. In my previous blog entry, Developing an Integrated Supply Chain, I had highlighted the benefits of an integrated supply chain. EWM integrates your warehouse with front office functions, hence helping you to improve customer experience.
The Myth – “EWM is expensive to implement.” This statement was true not too long ago. 2011 was a remarkable year as cloud technology evolved and industry took a turn. Think of EWM as Software as a Service that reduces your total cost of ownership. And, even with limited skill set there are new ways of accelerating implementation to reduce your CapEx.
Well, I can keep going but you have a business to run. Send me an email if you find yourself in the situation I have described above. You can also meet me at Sapphire Conference (May 14 – May 16, 2013). I will be showcasing how IBM is helping clients to implement SAP EWM successfully!