As one of the primary merits of SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM), the Warehouse Order creation is a vital part of the complete work optimization process in the warehouse. Besides easing the categorization of the labor, in the background there is a running mechanism that is looking for the optimum output in return of this labor with the help of a set of business rules. Before getting into details of the warehouse order creation, it’s better to talk about the definition of the warehouse orders and the places they are used.
What is a Warehouse Order and where does it take place in an end-to-end SAP EWM Flow?
Basically, a warehouse order is a worker’s responsibility that can be fulfilled in a certain amount of time. Most of the time, the warehouse orders are simply groups of warehouse tasks which are gathered up by SAP EWM, and this happens based on configured creation rules. For instance, in an outbound flow with wave picking, as it is also shown on the diagram below, when an Outbound Delivery Order is received, the corresponding Warehouse Request gets created automatically in background (Process Step 1). According to the user’s preference, the Warehouse Request get assigned either manually or automatically to a wave as a wave item and this wave gets ready to be released (Process Step 2). As soon as the wave is released, the system forms the Warehouse tasks (Process Step 3).
On this point, those warehouse tasks get automatically bunched up into warehouse orders (Process Step 4). SAP EWM uses specific creation rules (WOCR) for this process which are configured depending on the user’s needs and constraints.
A warehouse order can contain warehouse tasks, such as put away, picking, etc., from one or more than one delivery. So that, SAP EWM can optimize the sequence of the work that should be done in a time slot and it does this on the level of a single task rather than a delivery order. Consequently, this optimization brings some opportunities and makes various continuous and interwoven scenarios possible.
How do Warehouse Orders get Created?
As stated above, the system gathers warehouse tasks and forms warehouse orders. While warehouse orders getting created, they pass through the steps of the warehouse order creation process, which can be aligned as Grouping, Sorting, Filtering and Consolidating.
When a picking wave is released or a warehouse task is created in another process, the warehouse order creation process begins and the first thing that these warehouse tasks undergo is Grouping according to their Activity Areas. The reason behind this is that the WOCRs are picked depending the Activity Code in the Warehouse Process Type or the corresponding Activity Area.
Then the grouped tasks get sorted according to the rule of Inbound Sorting. This sorting process gets done according to defined Sort Rules and they are kept in Sorting Profiles which can hold up to 15 different rules such as Pick-Path Sorting or Sorting according to the Consolidation group. In addition, another option here is that the rules like Sort according to the Consolidation group are applicable in the final form of the Warehouse orders at the end of the whole creation process.
Filtering can be applied both on the item and the subtotal level and, according to defined filters, some specific warehouse tasks can be removed from the groups. For instance, a user wants to create a specific warehouse order creation rule in a specific activity area for the goods that can be prepared for the next step in a quick way. Using a filter for the Processing Times would be good approach to follow. By this way, if SAP EWM comes across a warehouse task that can consume too much time, it can directly continue to the next task that is in the queue while not processing the task at issue.
Lastly, determining consolidation groups gets in process contingent upon the customization. This customizing foreshows not only the products that may or should packed together, but also the pieces, pallets, Handling Units, etc. that will shipped jointly. The warehouse orders take their last shape according to their consolidation groups, however, between this consolidation process, some other processes can get involved such as Subtotal Level Filtering or WO Sorting.
All these process steps could be exemplified in a Business Case as following; during a picking activity of a warehouse that is assumed, it is required to make the layering according the weights of the goods in a Handling Unit. In addition, the picking tasks that take more than two minutes should not be performed together with the tasks that can be completed in a quicker way. Moreover, in this warehouse, order combinations (for example two orders going to the same ship-to party get packed together) do not take place during a picking activity.
For this example, the Warehouse Order Creation Rule that should be applied for the picking Warehouse Tasks (which are grouped by their Activity Area) basically need to have a Inbound Sorting by Weight in descending order, a Filtering by Processing Time and Consolidating by Consolidation Groups which differ from Outbound Delivery Order to Outbound Delivery Order.
What is the benefit?
Creation rules of warehouse orders allow users having a great flexibility. By using different Inbound Sortings and Warehouse Order Sortings, the sequence of the tasks can be adjusted according to various operational scenarios. Different sequencings can be done for different areas or according to different attributes of the tasks or the goods itself. With this amount of different possibilities, the users can get a set of assignments that are optimized in a much better way than any kind of manual scheduling. By using filter and limit parameters, it is easy to create multifarious and target-specific warehouse orders. Pick-HU and Shipping- HU Packing profiles can be defined diversified. So that, SAP EWM can optimize the portion of the goods to be packed into an HU. Furthermore, by having an accurate creation rule, the users can use the assets possessed efficiently. Especially, if the activity areas or maybe the activity types are defined in consideration of the possible Warehouse Order creation rules, different employees and resources can work in the most efficient way in their reach and responsibility. By this way, the process flows get accelerated and the downtimes can be minimized.
In conclusion, with the help of Warehouse Order Creation Rules, SAP EWM classifies the labor in a better way and, by case-specific customization of the process steps of WOCRs, it optimizes not only the work division according to classification made but also the way of making this work.