ODTH is creating the warehouse of the future with SAP EWM
ODTH is a Belgian logistics services provider with sustainability at the core of its DNA. Growing every year, the company boasts impressive customer satisfaction rates and aims for continuous improvement. In this light, ODTH wanted to upgrade their warehouse management system (WMS) to a more future-proof solution. SAP EWM turned out to be exactly what they needed.
With warehouses spread over five sites, ODTH needed a sustainable, efficient and fast WMS, that could handle supply chain disruptions and meet new requirements for traceability and sustainability. More than that, they also wanted forecasting and automation capabilities to maintain their competitive advantage in today’s volatile market.
Data-driven warehouse management
“Our existing SAP WMS contained a lot of custom code that became hard to maintain, which led to inefficiencies. Data collection and analysis, for example, was definitely up for improvement,” explains Bart Weymans, Innovation Manager at ODTH. “We wanted a better overview of the warehouse operators’ activities, in order to standardize processes and optimize registration and billing. On top of that, the WMS had to support our growing sustainability and traceability efforts.”
ODTH teamed up with Flexso to meet these requirements. Together, we identified four key guidelines:
- Leverage the power of SAP S/4HANA as a long-term solution to keep innovating
- Migrate the WMS to a new, clean environment that could integrate custom developments and enable tweaking: SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM)
- Only build what is necessary to cover specific needs
- Apply best practices in migrating from SAP WM to SAP EWM
Hear Bart explain how SAP EWM catapulted ODTH to the cutting edge of logistics: check out the video:
The power of integration
Bart Weymans, Innovation Manager at ODTH, explains their choice for SAP S/4HANA and SAP EWM: “A deep integration is critical to face today’s supply chain challenges. Warehouse operations can no longer succeed as a functional silo focusing only on internal procedures. You need an integrated, comprehensive platform allowing you to accelerate order fulfillment cycles, respond quickly to changes and get a real-time view of orders and costs across the logistics chain.”
In short, ODTH needed a platform that integrates beyond internal warehouse processing, which is exactly what SAP S/4HANA offers with SAP Extended Warehouse Management. Integrated into the SAP S/4HANA core, SAP EWM is a single technology logistics platform that helps align all ODTH’s logistics processes to operate as a single unit.
“The migration also included a shift from a custom to a standard solution for both warehouse billing and labor management,” Bart adds. “Thanks to the clean core of the solution, we can now easily create a customer within 24 hours from integration to billing.”
Relevant SAP EWM features include:
- Intelligent inbound processing management
- Direct storage and internal processing
- Finetuned outbound processes to maximize speed and agility
- Goods movements orchestration
- Process automation
- Warehouse automation
- Robotics for flexibility and resilience
- Intralogistics integration
- Analytics specific to warehousing
Best-practice approach to implementing SAP EWM
The partnership between ODTH and Flexso is a long-term, end-to-end collaboration that included phased roll-outs, training, and change management.
“The step-by-step roll-outs allowed us to test new processes and tweak them quickly”, says Bart. “It was also critical to conduct a thorough development scope assessment to determine what’s important as a business. The end goal is to create value, not add extra layers of complexity.”
4 best practices that helped ODTH migrate smoothly to SAP EWM:
- Adopting a lean project approach with a team that has knowledge of both WM and EWM
- Formulating new requirements based on the differences between WM and EWM, and the innovations within EWM
- Applying accelerators in the blueprint and build phases of the project
- Using standard SAP migration tools to quickly import configuration and extract data
Warehouse of the future
With S/4HANA and SAP EWM in place, the road is now paved for future innovations. The next steps include moving towards a digital twin to optimize warehouse operations through simulations, automated document flow, and workforce planning boards that enable ODTH to respond to demand peaks.
“We now have a future-proof solution that meets our specific needs and sets us up for future innovations that will keep us ahead in our increasingly competitive industry,” Bart concludes.