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Just because you’re using SAP’s ERP doesn’t mean their warehouse management solution will be the best option…

Category : VMI, warehouse management, WMS · No Comments · by Dec 17th, 2015

Using SAP?  Need a VMI solution?  Surely SAP’s VMI product is the natural answer, or is it?

Whether you’re buying a new laptop, a VMI solution or your weekly shopping, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees and often you are left trying to compare apples with pears.

Information is given in such different ways that you really have to dig deep to find out whether one product suits your needs better than another.  Well, help is at hand.

Recently, a long-standing customer of Waer’s, who has SAP as their ERP was looking for a VMI solution.  The natural choice would be to go to SAP – they have a warehouse management provision after all – however, the obvious solution is not always the best one.

For this customer’s needs, the SAP solution fell short, and the table below shows just how many advantages our VMI offering has, over SAP’s for this customer: 

Consignment / VMI Using SAP Consignment / VMI Using WAERlinx
Customer and supplier would not be able to use one system. They would each use their own, separate ERP systems, requiring EDI or XML data transfer between the two. Customer and supplier will be using one system, making things far simpler for training and for everyday use.
SAP ideally requires the customer and supplier to be using the same Material Master records. The customer and supplier don’tneed to use the same Material Master records; the Alias feature provides the cross-reference.
The forecast that is output for the supplier is based on customer sales. Usage data is based on manufacturing consumption.
Supplier and customer both need to be using SAP. (Otherwise, the data exchange becomes a lot more complex.) There are no prerequisites over which ERP system is used.
Significant manual input to record material movements. Barcode scanning is used to record material movements.
The concept of ownership does not seem to exist. Ownership  is clearly tracked, at all times.
Uses stock and sales data as the raw planning data. Uses stock and actual consumption in manufacturing.
Stock visibility is not real time. (Needs a scheduled data transfer.) Real time visibility.

In short, SAP Consignment/VMI doesn’t exist as a single, modular entity in the way that it does on WAERlinx.  Rather, SAP requires the customer to go through a convoluted process of using pieces of functionality that are distributed across several SAP modules, before they can say that they are doing Consignment/VMI on SAP.

For a refreshingly different approach to supply chain software, ring David Snelson on 01293 768036 or email dsnelson@waersystems.com.

www.waersystems.com

 

Improve agility and cut costs in manufacturing with enhanced supply chain visibility and control.

It’s a challenging time for manufacturers and yet an exciting one too. Rarely have there been greater opportunities for global trading than there are today, and there is huge potential for growth. In developing markets especially, however, unless these opportunities are managed efficiently, increasing costs – of inventory in particular – make it ever more difficult to protect gross margins.

The never-ending quest for progress demands continuous innovation, yet many of the systems that are in place to support manufacturing operations today are deeply embedded, legacy applications that are difficult either to replace, or to improve in any way that adds real value.

So how do manufacturers gain a competitive advantage under these conditions?

One proven method is to take control of manufacturing by means of improved supply chain visibility, so that human ingenuity and common sense can regain control.

There is a clear and direct link between improving the flow of information and improving the flow of materials. In other words, by keeping your finger on the pulse of change, manufacturers remain agile and in control, and able to manage ever-increasing levels of complexity and variety.

So how do you find a solution provider that will be flexible enough for your manufacturing business’ needs, and what are your constraints?

Cost is often the first consideration and there are many all-singing, all-dancing solutions that would be ideal but unfortunately cost a small fortune.

On the other end of the scale, many of the lower cost options are pretty inflexible and while they may help solve some issues, there’s more often than not, a compromise in terms of functionality.

WAERlinx is a purpose-built suite of applications (Kitting, Kanban, RFID, WMS, VMI, Capacity Management) with a background in the demanding field of Aerospace supply chain management that is flexible by design. Customers can choose the applications that meet their requirements, with no need to change their existing ERP and MES systems in order to get there. WAERlinx simply bolts on, to enhance and improve what already exists.

Features

Improve visibility…

WAERlinx’ purpose-built console of operational and management information, presented using information gathered from multiple systems and facilities within the organisation, helps to:

  • Eliminate spreadsheet dependency
  • Provide clear insight into manufacturing capacity (demonstrated vs. available), sales orders and a consensus forecast, for planning purposes
  • Make use of event-based alerts – for example, production order completions, backflush events, demand shortages, changes to order dates, high-cost transactions etc. – to trigger immediate response actions
  • Highlight material consumption patterns, exposing problems that may have remained hidden. For example, highlight the use of material that may not be on the manufacturing BOM, or which has a lower-cost alternative
  • Keep track of high-value reusable containers, either using RFID or barcode scanning
  • Keep track of quality-related information, for example by integration with an SPC tool
  • Integrate new manufacturing operations and supporting facilities quickly and without risk – In an M&A scenario this is, of course, vital
  • Provide visibility of material in transit using dedicated functions within the application, or by seamless integration with an external transport management system
  • Provide accurate costing of material usage, with a fully-auditable transaction history.


… and reduce costs

  • Take control of complex and dynamic shop floor inventory by means of barcode scanning to track actual consumption, eliminating waste of over- or under-utilised material
  • Kanban replenishment of manufacturing work centres, even in complex multi-site scenarios; the application helps to eliminate the barriers (including inventory ‘buffers’) that can sometimes be caused by physical distance between a point of need and its source of supply
  • Control the flow of inbound material by using proven warehouse management functions, fully integrated with existing ERP or MES systems
  • Make the most of opportunities to utilise existing owned inventory, instead of buying new
  • Highlight the use of expensive, non-standard items when less expensive standard items may be used instead
  • Manage spare parts or aftermarket inventory that may be stored in dedicated locations with different processing rules
  • Provide suppliers with the means to deploy consigned material , and to manage the replenishment of it based on forecast, actual consumption, firm demands, or any combination thereof. Proven features help to ensure stronger long-term relationships with trading partners, by allowing them to act like extended factories within your own organisation
  • Perform light assembly operations, either in the supplying warehouse or another location away from the main production line, and deliver these to their actual point of need on a just-in-time basis, thereby improving the utilisation of skilled assemblers as well as manufacturing cycle time
  • Improve the efficiency of a single piece flow operation, by improving the availability of materials in terms of quality, quantity and time.

Find out more