Multi-step Putaway Process in a SAP EWM-managed Warehouse

In our article titled as „Managed placing into storage process in the SAP EWM Warehouse Management System”, we described how the system derives the optimal target storage bin in the final storage type during the putaway storage process.

Process-oriented storage control

However, in larger, complex warehouses, several steps may be required between unloading the truck and putaway into the final storage bin. These can be explained by the characteristics of the given products, administrative aspects and the technological design of the warehouse.

In SAP EWM, it is possible to map these multi-step processes which provides a possibility for process-oriented storage control. In the process-oriented function, we define the mapping of a given physical process, parts of which EWM calls an external process step. Each external step we define in a process, must be performed before the handling unit is moved to its destination.

It is possible to define different processes for different warehouse products. For example, there may be products that may be put away into the Warehouse directly after unloading, while other products may require, among other things, washing, quality control, deconsolidation, or counting.

Multi-step putaway process - Process oriented storage control

Layout-oriented storage control

In some cases, it may also be necessary to create warehouse tasks not between two points directly, but through an intermediate point.

This is made possible by layout-oriented storage control in SAP EWM. It often happens that a resource (warehouse or material handling machine) cannot perform a putaway warehouse task directly due to the physical characteristics of the warehouse, so it is absolutely necessary to break up the original warehouse task. In this case, both the warehouse task pointing to the transfer point and the warehouse task pointing to the final storage location are created at once, from which the second is in waiting status. After acknowledging the warehouse task pointing to the transfer point, the next warehouse task opens and thus the next resource has the opportunity to perform the placing into storage.

Another typical example of a layout-oriented operation is the putaway process in an automated warehouse, where the handling units travel on conveyors to the stacker cranes.

Multi-step putaway process - Layout oriented storage control

EWM first determines the putaway storage process based on the process-oriented storage control, and then examines each warehouse task, whether they need to be broken up according to the layout-oriented storage control settings. The combined operation of the two storage control methods is illustrated in the following diagram showing the putaway storage process:

Combined putaway process

All external steps set in the process-oriented control must be performed before the stack can be placed onto the rack in its final destination bin.

EWM is able to cover even the most complex customer needs; the function is presented through a simple process.

The goods receipt from the supplier begins with the unloading, during which the products sent by the supplier can be inspected and the physical receipt of the goods can take place.

It is then possible to define different multi-step putaway process depending on the warehouse product master. As shown in the figure, for items subject to quality control, the second external step must also be performed, while for other products, the final putaway may follow right away.

However, due to the layout-oriented storage control, the handling unit (pallet) cannot be moved directly between the second and third external steps. A transfer point is also required for the physical execution of the putaway process, so the system breaks up the warehouse tasks marked by dashed lines. In this case, two warehouse tasks are created, from which the second is in waiting status, which opens up after the warehouse task created towards the transfer point is confirmed, and then the warehouse resource has the possibility to perform the task, i.e. to post to the final storage.

Pásztor Péter

Multi-step Putaway Process in a SAP EWM-managed Warehouse

Author: Péter Pásztor

SAP Warehouse and Transport Logistics Competence Centre

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