Warehouse in a Box – What Could Be Easier?

February 18, 2004 by admin

Imagine you’re at the office Christmas party and there’s a neatly wrapped box for you underneath the tree. You open it and find a CD, a label printer, a wireless scanning device, a wedge scanner and a wireless access point.. It’s your very own distribution package, just what you need to make your SAP Business One solution even more powerful.
Looking to replace your aging hardware? Can’t be bothered installing a CD? No problem. Your gift box will be bigger – an IBM e-Server x-Series server with the solution pre-installed – and shipped to your door.

Does this sound like your distribution process?

Here’s how simple it is to fill orders with SAP Business One – The American Express Edition for Wholesale Distribution:

  • Orders are automatically entered via EDI, from an online store, from a trading partner, via a flat file such as a spreadsheet or manually.
  • After being approved, orders are transmitted to the warehouse automatically.
  • Shipping labels are printed automatically.
  • Orders are scanned using a handheld device and physically picked and packed.
  • Orders are shipped and an Advanced Shipping Notification (ASN) is sent to the appropriate person automatically.
  • Invoices are produced.

Think about your current process. How many of your steps are 100 percent automated? 50 percent? 25 percent? None? Are you hiring more people to handle routine, data entry tasks when you could be making a one-time expenditure that’s going to deliver all the flexibility you need and significant productivity gains?

What’s in the box?

SAP Business One is coming out of the box with rich functionality around sales, full CRM capabilities, financials, management controls and inventory management. The American Express Edition enhances SAP Business One with:

  • Advanced warehouse management with support for barcodes and wireless devices
  • Enhanced sales tax processing, including availability of tax forms for all 50 states and business and tax rules based on product and sales type (retail, wholesale, or resale)
  • Credit card authorization and settlement
  • Document management
  • Electronic data interchange (EDI)

Customer service

Are your employees spending their time chasing paper instead of shipping products and invoicing customers? Then look to document management functions for help. Outbound documents and forms such as order confirmations, invoices and packing lists are automatically stored in an electronic file cabinet. Advanced versions of the American Express Edition allow inbound documents such as purchase orders and signed bills of loading to be scanned and stored.
All documents are routed to the appropriate employee for processing and approval via workflow rules. And whenever there’s a question, all documents are now available to every user – accounting clerk, customer service rep or warehouse manager. What’s more, documents can be easily and electronically forwarded to customers in whatever format they desire.

Accuracy

When an order is imported, the system checks the price, inventory and credit status. If necessary, it creates an inbound error log. An order can be suspended or amended on-the-fly, any time before it hits the loading dock. To stop it at the loading dock, an alert would be sent. At the packing stage, the order can be scanned and checked again for accuracy.
You can choose from one of three models for credit card authorization and settlement, picking the one that suits your business processes. You can opt for authorization on order, shipment or delivery – with settlement at invoice.

Productivity gains

If you don’t have a warehouse management system or if your warehouse management system isn’t integrated with your core operations, you may see impressive productivity gains when you implement SAP Business One – The American Express Edition, such as:

  • Reducing order errors by automating data entry
  • Processing up to 100 orders per second with EDI
  • Experiencing up to a 10-fold increase in picking efficiency
  • Accurately and automatically determining sales taxes

Fully integrated, single point of contact solution

SAP Business One – The American Express Edition has the same interface, i.e. the same look and feel, as SAP Business One. It looks like and acts like one system. There’s no additional learning curve. As Gadi Shamia, Vice President of SAP Business One, states, “This approach minimizes any risk of investment and reduces total cost of ownership.”
The close partnership between SAP and American Express means that you have just one phone number for sales, installation, training and support. You don’t waste time being passed from sales rep to technical consultant to account manager and back. One call and that’s it.

Reduced maintenance

This is a solution that’s easy to buy (single source for all components), easy to implement (fully integrated and available pre-installed) and easy to learn and use. But even more important, it’s easy to support and maintain.
Regardless of your requirements, you only have to make one phone call – for technical support, operational issues, upgrades or new business challenges. Gary Lacombe, Senior Manager of Application Development at American Express, mentions the dial-in support for updating or modifying EDI templates as an example of “almost zero maintenance.” And like other partners, American Express is responsible for upgrading its software to meet any upgrade of SAP Business One.

No growing pains

Depending on your needs, you can start with paper-based picking and one RF device. As your needs – and number of warehouses – expand, you can upgrade your edition. But unlike other packaged solutions, The American Express Edition offers the ultimate upgrade experience – one module at a time. You can upgrade EDI and leave document management or sales tax processing alone. A few months later, you can upgrade credit card processing.
SAP and American Express deliver a solution that’s tailored expressly to your company’s needs. You pay for what you need today and then expand when the situation demands more power.
The upgrade path is similar for SAP Business One. As your company grows, you have an array of options, including mySAP All-in-One, mySAP ERP and mySAP Business Suite.

Ready for the future

Almost every company that distributes products is affected by what the industry calls the Wal-Mart Mandate. In November 2003, Wal-Mart made public its order to its largest suppliers to put radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on all boxes and pallets within 16 months. This means suppliers will have to be EPC-ready (electronic product code) by January 2005. EPC, the next generation of UPC, works with RFID technology.
This affects your company too, wherever you are on the distribution chain. Hardware and software developers in the RFID space as well as end users of the technology are waiting for the RFID standards for hardware and software to be solidified.
Aware of the RFID mandate for months, Lacombe states that American Express will ensure that SAP Business One – The American Express Edition is RFID-ready before the function is needed.

Brenda Mackay

Brenda Mackay

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