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 Warehouse Management Guide 

Computer support for the organization and management of warehouses has become imperative for timely, effective processing of logistic requirements within a company. The SAP Warehouse Management (WM) application provides flexible, automated support to assist you in processing all goods movements and in maintaining current stock inventories in your warehousing complex.

WM supports warehousing processes by making it possible for you to

  • Define and manage complex warehousing structures
  • Optimize material flow using advanced putaway and picking techniques
  • Process goods receipts, goods issues and stock transfers quickly and easily

Selection Criteria

Although it is possible for you to manage warehouse inventories using the Inventory Management (IM) application component, the primary difference between managing stock in WM and in IM is that in IM, the system can only display the total stock of a material for a storage location. If a warehouse is small and easily manageable, then the use of IM may be sufficient to fulfill your needs.

WM, on the other hand, offers the capability to manage stock quantities in each individual storage bin in highly complex storage facilities. This means that, with WM, you can optimize the use of all storage bins, mix pallets belonging to several owners in randomly slotted warehouses and know exactly where a particular material is located in the warehousing complex at all times.


The Warehouse Management application is fully integrated into the SAP R/3 system. Transactions that are initiated in other SAP components result in corresponding tasks in WM which activate the actual physical transfers within the warehouse.

A few of these activities include:

  • Material movements and changes in material status, such as releasing goods from inspection
  • Material staging to production supply areas
  • Picking and shipping goods for sales orders

Most activities that take place within WM are initiated in Inventory Management. For example, most goods receipts, goods issues and posting changes are initiated in IM and subsequently processed in WM.

WM is also interfaced to Sales and Distribution (SD) through the Shipping module to process delivery documents for both the integrated WM application and the decentralized WM system.

The WM interface to Quality Management (QM) allows warehouse administrators to track and manage inspection lots that are stored in the warehouse.

WM is also interfaced to the Production Planning (PP) system to assist in providing materials to supply areas in production.


WM provides several features that support warehousing activities. These include the following:

Warehouse Structure

  • Management of complex warehousing facilities to include automatic warehouses, custom-designed storage areas, high rack storage, bulk storage, fixed bin storage and all other commonly used storage areas
  • Definition and adaptation of a limitless variety of storage bins for use in your specific warehousing complex
  • Goods Movements

    • Processing of all relevant warehousing activities, such as goods receipts, goods issues, deliveries, internal and external stock transfers, automatic replenishment of fixed bins, material staging to production areas and stock difference handling
    • Utilization of random slotting for multiple owners of goods
    • Implementation of a variety of putaway and picking strategies including self-designed strategies
    • Processing of multiple goods movements with transfer requirements and deliveries simultaneously
    • Storage and retrieval of hazardous materials and all other goods that require special handling
    • Setup of "forward pick" areas and production supply areas with automated replenishment from case or reserve storage when stock quantities reach a certain threshold
    • Controlling

      • Optimization of capacity and material flow utilizing storage units in the warehouse
      • Monitoring and display of stocks on hand and summary evaluations of all goods movements via warehouse controlling tasks
      • Inventory

        • Capability to maintain up-to-the-minute inventory records with the aid of stock transfer confirmation
        • Archiving of records of all goods movements and inventory activity
        • With its inventory functions, WM ensures that book inventories in Inventory Management match the stock in the warehouse at any time. Because SAP components are fully integrated, you do not need separate interface programs between IM and WM.

          Printing Tasks

          • Printing (of pallet slips, move orders, delivery slips, inventory documents, and so on) is available for all relevant transactions
          • Although it is possible to print material documents for each separate transaction in the warehouse, WM facilitates automatic flowthrough warehousing tasks that are virtually paperless.

            Interface to External Systems

            • Support for the use of bar code scanners, RF technology, AS/RS and automated forklift systems for all stock movements through an automated ALE warehouse control interface
            • Lean WM

              • This warehousing structure makes it possible to create transfer orders for deliveries when no storage bins are managed in the system. For Lean WM, no goods receipts or goods issues are processed as a subsequent process in WM. This means that no bin data and no stock is updated at the storage bin level using quants. Instead, this transaction takes place at the storage location level. It is used primarily to handle pick orders for deliveries.
              • See also:

                Using a Transfer Order as a Pick Order in Lean WM

                R/2-R/3 Link

                • Interface to an SAP R/2 host system using the decentral R/3 system’s user-friendly screens and menus
                • For users who already have the SAP R/2 System, it is possible to install the R/3 WM user interface so that WM functions can be carried out independent of the availability of the R/2 host system.

                  See also:

                  R/2-R/3 Link

                  Storage Unit Management

                  • Management and control of material flow utilizing storage units within the warehouse.
                  • See also:

                    Storage Unit Management

                    Decentralized Warehouse Management System

                    • The Warehouse Management System (WMS) as a decentralized stand-alone system that is operated separately from a centrally operated ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. The WMS functions not only to store goods but encompasses other related logistics processes and functions independently of the central ERP system.
                    • See also:

                      Decentralized Warehouse Management System