Because EWM is connected to an ERP system, there are organizational units, which we must consider to be in both (ERP and EWM). Inventory management takes place in the ERP system and stock is stored in a plant at storage location level.
A plant is a location where goods are produced (manufacturing plant) or stored (distribution center) and where services are provided. A plant is assigned to a company code based on a Financial Accounting organization unit. Storage locations are assigned to a plant and keep the stock in view of inventory management. Because of this, at least one storage location is necessary.
Storage Locations in a Plant
Various storage locations in a plant allow you to do the following:
- Differentiate between the various stocks of material in a plant
- Differentiate between the physical storage characteristics
- Classify the quantities of material in a plant to indicate their use (for example, available for sale) or perhaps their logical location (for example, at a third-party logistics provider)
Although EWM has nothing to do with the SAP Warehouse Management application, both use a "warehouse number" to represent the physical warehouse where materials are stored and managed. This warehouse number must be created in ERP customizing. A substructure does not need to be configured for this warehouse in ERP. It will be activated as an EWM warehouse. In the ERP system, the warehouse number is a three-character field but in EWM, it is a four-character field.
Organizational Units for EWM
To activate warehouse management in the ERP system, a plant and a storage location (for that plant) is linked with the respective warehouse number.
In our training course the following two different storage locations are used:
- 101D (Received on Dock)
- 101S (Available for Sale)
101D is used to track stock that is in the process of putaway, for example, those quantities are not yet physically available. When the product is finally stored in its destination storage bin, a transfer posting changes the stock storage location from 101D to storage location 101S. In the following sections, we will cover the EWM-specific organizational units.
Organizational Units in SAP EWM
The warehouse number is the highest level of organizational unit in warehouse management. In practice, the warehouse number usually corresponds to a physical building or distribution center. Each warehouse number has a substructure that maps the spatial relationship in the warehouse complex in detail.
There are different forms where products are physically stored in a warehouse. These forms, called Storage Types include the following:
- Various types of racks
- Any open storage space
- Goods receipt areas
- Goods issue areas
Storage types are represented as a group of warehouse bins with similar characteristics. Storage types are defined on the basis of their spatial or organizational features.
Storage sections are subdivisions of a storage type. A storage section represents a group of bins that have a common attribute, for example bins that are used to store fast-moving items. Storage sections are used when determining the putaway storage bin.
Storage bins are the lowest level of organizational structure. They are assigned to a storage type and a storage section (if one exists). Storage bins represent the physical location where the goods are stored in the warehouse.
When you store a product in your warehouse, you will need to know exactly where it is stored i.e. the storage bin. The coordinates of the storage bin indicate the precise position in the warehouse. Storage bins are master data.
Storage bins, independent of their storage type, are logically grouped in activity areas. You define an activity area for each activity:
- Physical inventory
Activity areas are used do define bin sorting when warehouse orders are created. According to the activity, the same storage bin can be assigned to multiple activity areas.
If stock is kept in a storage bin, the quantity of stock in that bin is represented as a "quant". A quant is the content of a storage bin and it is used for inventory management of a product in a storage bin.