WM Interface to Inventory Management (IM) - SAP WM

The most important system component that is linked to WM is the Inventory Management (IM) application component. Most activities that take place within WM are initiated in IM.

Interim Storage Areas
The Inventory Management component communicates with WM through interim storage types. When you process a goods receipt in IM that is posted to a WM-managed storage location, the quantity is automatically posted to an interim storage area (goods receipt area). When this happens, a quant is created in a storage bin in the interim storage area. Afterwards, WM posts the goods to a storage bin in the warehouse.

This second step can take place automatically. This increases the total stock quantity in both IM and WM. When you process a goods issue, the system posts a quantity to an interim storage area (goods issue area or shipping zone). This time, however, a quant with a negative quantity is created since the IM posting reduces the total stock quantity.

It is through the interim storage areas that the stock quantities remain constant in both IM and WM. The total sum of the stock of all the WM storage areas for a warehouse number, both physical and logical, should always be identical to the sum of the stock in the IM storage location.

How many interim storage areas do I need?
You need to decide how many and the types of interim storage areas to define and use. Generally, you need at least four:

  • Goods receipt area
  • Goods issue area
  • Interim storage area for differences
  • Posting change area

The interim storage area for differences manages stock differences that occur during stock movements. Data pertaining to stock differences (such as overages, shortages, and damages) is kept in the interim storage area until the conditions that led to the differences are resolved. Stock differences are cleared with a difference posting from the WM interim storage area to the IM component.

Additional Interim Storage Areas
You can also set up several interim storage areas for goods receipt and goods issue, depending on the requirements in your company. For example, you could define the following additional interim storage areas:

  • Goods receipt interim storage area for purchase orders
  • Goods receipt interim storage area for production orders
  • Goods issue interim storage area for delivery documents
  • Interim storage area for posting changes
  • Goods issue interim storage area for cost centers

This would make it possible for you to keep a record of each of the different types of documents and compartments completely separate at the storage type level.

How do I define an interim storage area?
You define interim storage areas the same way you define any other storage type in WM. You use the Customizing application to set up the storage types for each warehouse. Then you define the characteristics for each storage type.

Interim Storage Bins
When you define the interim storage area, you also specify the type of coordinate that will be used to identify the storage bins within the interim storage area. Storage bins for an interim storage area can have:

  • Predefined coordinates
  • Dynamic coordinates
  • Fixed coordinates

The following graphic illustrates the use of all three types of interim storage bins.

three types of interim storage bins

Predefined Coordinates
For each interim storage area, you can define one or several storage bins with fixed coordinates. For example, for the goods receipt area, you can create a fixed storage bin with the coordinates GR-AREA. You then assign a separate movement type to each storage bin in the interim storage area. You do this by entering the storage bin coordinates into the movement type record when you define the movement type. Before you can post stock movements using movement types containing storage bin coordinates, you must first create the corresponding interim storage bin in WM.

When you post a goods receipt in the IM component, the system uses the movement type to select which interim storage bin will receive the stock quantity in the interim storage area. On the other hand, when you post a goods issue, the system uses the movement type to determine from which storage bin in the interim storage area the stock will be removed.

Dynamic Coordinates
When you define a movement type, you can set up the system to create dynamic storage bins in the assigned interim storage area. In this case, the system uses the document number which triggered the stock movement as the coordinates for the interim storage bin.

For example, for a goods receipt, you can set up the system to use the purchase order number as the storage bin coordinates in the interim storage area for goods receipts. These coordinates only exist as long as the quant is in the interim storage bin; afterwards, they are deleted.

Advantage of using Dynamic Coordinates
The advantage of using dynamic coordinates for goods receipts for purchase orders is that when several goods receipts are posted, these postings then create separate quants which can be differentiated using the purchase order numbers as coordinates. If predefined coordinates are used, only the total quantity of the material in the interim storage area is visible.

Fixed Bin Coordinates
For a movement type, you can also assign a fixed storage bin that has been defined in the WM view of the material master record. You enter this storage bin coordinate in the Storage bin field in the storage bin stock section in the material master at the storage type organizational level. In this case, when you define the movement type you have to enter the storage type from the material master as an interim storage area in which the fixed bin has been defined. When the material is received in the warehouse, it is then posted directly to the assigned fixed bin. For the goods receipt posting, the system does not create a transfer requirement. In this case, none is required.

When should I use fixed bin coordinates?
You should use this procedure, for example, for fixed bin picking or in situations in which good system performance is important and when you can do without a return notification of the putaway.

Creating Interim Bins with Predefined Coordinates
Storage bins in interim storage areas must be created the same as bins in other storage types in Warehouse Management. Generally, interim storage bins are created when WM is installed. Later, when you define new movement types to which you want to assign interim storage bins, you can create these bins either manually or you can set up WM to create them automatically. In the latter case, carry out the following procedure.

  1. Choose Logistics Logistics Execution Master Data Warehouse Storage Bin Create For Interim Storage from the SAP menu.
  2. Enter a warehouse number and choose Program Execute. The system checks all movement types in which you have defined an interim storage type and displays two lists. The first list contains storage bins that have not yet been created in WM. The second list contains storage bins that have already been created in WM.
  3. Choose Create bins.

Order of Postings in Integrated WM
We can distinguish between two types of stock movements, depending upon the system that initiates the movement.

  • The goods movement is posted first in IM and then carried out in WM.
  • The goods movement is carried out in WM and subsequently posted in IM. To accomplish these tasks, the system uses interim storage areas for each interim storage area.

Sample Report
Report RLEXIP01 serves as an example to demonstrate how information that has been posted in the WM system can be completed by postings in the IM system.

Posting First in IM
Example: Goods Receipt for a Purchase Order
Physical Process

When goods are received in a company, they are generally not transferred immediately to their final storage bin. Typically, goods are delivered to an interim (temporary) storage bin, such as a marked area on or near the receiving dock, where they are identified and sorted. They remain at that location until a suitable final storage bin can be found in the warehouse.

Process in the System

  1. In the SAP System, you post the delivery of goods as a goods receipt in the IM system.
  2. The system posts the stock to a storage location and creates a goods receipt document. This IM posting automatically updates the data about the location of the goods.
  3. WM uses the goods receipt document to create a transfer requirement. This takes place automatically. The stock is noted in the system as being in a storage bin within an interim storage area. The quantity of stock recorded in WM is the same as the quantity of stock recorded in the IM system.
  4. Subsequent to the goods receipt, you create a transfer order in WM using information from the transfer requirement. The transfer order initiates the physical stock movement. The goods are then transferred from the interim storage area to storage bins within the warehouse.

Posting First in WM
Example: Goods Receipt from Production
Physical Process
For this example, we use a manufacturer whose production department continuously produces materials on pallets. These are then transferred immediately from production to high rack storage shelves within the warehouse.

Process in the System
In this situation, the IM system is not informed each time a pallet is transferred from production to the warehouse. Instead, a posting that summarizes the goods receipt is made at regular intervals.

  1. In WM you create a transfer order to transfer each individual pallet into the warehouse.
  2. When you create a transfer order, the system posts a negative quantity to the interim storage area that is designated to receive material from production and a positive quantity to the destination storage bins in the warehouse, for example, in high rack storage.
  3. Each time a pallet of the same material is received in the warehouse, the system increases the negative stock posting in the interim storage area (cumulative update).
  4. Subsequently you start a batch program that reads the data from the interim storage area (for example, the quantities and material). This triggers the task for posting a goods receipt in the IM system.
  5. When you post the goods receipt for the production order in the IM system, the system then updates the inventory data in IM and clears the negative quantities from the interim storage area.

Comparing Stock Quantities in WM and IM
The stock comparison function compares stock levels in the Warehouse Management (WM) application with stock levels in the Inventory Management component and searches for differences. To clear differences, you can create a batch input file.

  1. Choose Logistics Logistics Execution Internal Whse Processes Physical Inventory in Warehouse Management Stock comparison from the SAP menu.
  2. In the first section of the initial screen, select data is to be compared for the stock comparison report. Permissible selections include:
    • Plant and storage location
    • Plant and warehouse number
    • Warehouse number only
  3. In the output section of the screen, select one of the following additional fields to determine how the information is to be displayed or processed:
  4. With bin inventory
    If you select this option, the system lists the stock quantities at the bin level for Warehouse Management.

    All material data
    With this option you select all stock records for a material for which a difference is found. These records also include the material number, batch, special stock indicator and supplier combinations that have no differences and whose stock quantity is greater than zero. This detailed information helps in detecting exactly where the error occurred.

    Create batch input file
    If you select this output option, the system generates a batch input file. This batch input session adapts the stock figures in IM to those in WM. The prerequisite for this is that all goods movements to the corresponding warehouse number be blocked. If you only want to see a summary of the differences, we do not recommend using this option. It is best to clarify the causes of the differences first using the output list displayed on the screen before removing them using the batch input file.

  5. Choose Execute.

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