Retailer implements Extended Warehouse Management in the cloud
If it were up to vidaXL, the whole world would turn purple. The online retailer is determined to become the global market leader in slow-moving consumer goods. This ambition requires a solid warehouse management platform. Reason enough for the Venlo-based company to migrate to SAP S/4HANA Extended Warehouse Management (EWM), in the Google Cloud.
vidaXL offers everything for home, garden, garage and the do-it-yourselfer. “We offer more than 90,000 different products, from garden sets and dining tables to sheep shaving sets,” explains Raoul Crutzen, Product Owner Logistics and Supply Chain Management at vidaXL. “In doing so, we try to do as much as possible ourselves, from product procurement to sales and distribution. We want to be in control of everything.”
“We have grown tremendously over the past few years,” Crutzen continues. This is also reflected in the numbers of packages sent to customers from vidaXL’s ‘fulfilment centres’. “In 2018, we sent 100,000 parcels in a busy week. A few years later, it was almost 400,000. Last year, we sent more than 12 million parcels worldwide.”
To facilitate this growth, vidaXL opened new warehouses in recent years in Venlo, Poland, Australia, Japan, Dubai and the United States, among others. In Venlo, the order picking process was also optimised with large sorting machines. “Then you do need a high-performance platform to control all that,” says Erwin Roelofs who, as SAP SCM lead consultant & solution architect, was closely involved in the implementation of a new warehouse management system.
“On our technical roadmap, we had a dot on the horizon: with SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) to the hyperscaler environment,” explains Crutzen. “We no longer want to have systems on-premises. To facilitate further growth and not run into limits during peak times, we need the scalability of a hyperscaler like Google. Such a hyperscaler also gives us the capabilities for backups, failover and disaster recovery. If a system goes down for any reason, we are up and running again in no time with the same system in another data centre.”
EWM on SAP S/4HANA
The dot on the horizon outlined by Crutzen was fast approaching when vidaXL took the decision in 2020 to open a number of new warehouses in the near future. “Exactly at that time, SAP made available a migration path to EWM as a decentralised application based on SAP S/4HANA,” says Roelofs. That basis simplified the move to the cloud.
“We then worked out a plan to migrate all warehouses to EWM on SAP S/4HANA in a relatively short time,” Crutzen outlines. “In February 2021, we took the decision to migrate our EWM 9.5 system bluefield to EWM on SAP S/4HANA in Google’s cloud. In July 2021, this system was ready for use and in October 2021 we implemented our new warehouses in Poland and on the east coast of the United States on this new platform. We were one of the first companies to move to the Google cloud with SAP S/4HANA EWM.”
Innovation out of the box
Currently, all warehouses are running on S/4HANA Extended Warehouse Management except Venlo. By the end of 2022, Venlo, currently still running on EWM 9.5, should also be over to SAP S/HANA EWM on the Google Cloud Platform. “Then we can make the most of the innovation that SAP S/4HANA out of the box has to offer,” he says.
“When all warehouses are on one platform, management becomes even more efficient,” concludes Roelofs. “We then also take full advantage of the performance and scalability of the cloud. With this platform, we are prepared for growth. Even if we add twenty warehouses, that won’t be a problem.”