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The Inventory Management ES bundle provides a core set of reusable enterprise services that complement the inventory-related functionality offered by many more specialized ES bundles shown. The Inventory Management ES bundle:

  • Enables a model-driven approach to inventory management processes (goods movements, physical inventory, and stock information)
  • Helps to optimize processes and simplify the existing IT landscape (enabling integration of inventory along the supply chain to be tracked using SAP ERP via the enterprise services in this bundle)
  • Reduces operational and overhead costs
  • Can be used to create new composites
  • Provides flexibility in designing new processes

It's important to understand what this bundle does relative to other ES bundles. Inventory Management provides foundational functionality related to handling inventory. In addition to the existing generic functions that are reused and bundled here, this ES bundle provides new functions related to physical inventory processing as well as other inventory-related services. More specific inventory functionality is provided by other complementary bundles. For example, the Integration of Warehouse Management System ES bundle specifically relates to managing warehouses. In fact, the Invemtory Management ES bundle is currently related to some 20 other bundles.

Inventory Management (click to enlarge)

The Inventory Management ES bundle leverages enterprise SOA through between SAP ERP and composite applications using enterprise services.

Audience

Nearly all companies must deal with inventory at some level, even if only in the realm of office supplies. This ES bundle offers services that can support general inventory management functionality for organizations with a need to track inventory in specific contexts that would benefit from targeted, role-based composite applications rather than a full-blown inventory management solution. For example, warehouse workers and others may require full functionality, but other areas of an organization may have a need for a lean approach to inventory management, such as that discussed in use case 3, which offers the example of a department that sends out product samples and keeps the samples in a stock closet.

For details on Service Operations, Business Objects and Process Components, please check the ES Workplace.


The Inventory Management ES bundle at the center of related bundles (click to enlarge)


How To Use This ES Bundle

Many SAP customers, particularly those with a strong logistics focus, have highly integrated inventory management processes. But access to inventory data is limited, as is the ability to update it. Composites based on this ES bundle could enable greater visibility into inventory as well as flexibility as updating it through a thin user interface, such as a mobile device. Infrequent users can proactively update inventory information, rather than asking inventory experts to update it on their behalf. This helps such users achieve ownership of inventory-related functions without requiring them to have expertise in using an enterprise application; a targeted user interface helps infrequent users make timely updates quickly and easily.

The following sections explore three use cases for the Inventory Management ES bundle. Each is intended to provide a concrete example for the types of functions the bundle supports and shows how different outcomes can be achieved by using the enterprise services in different combinations.

While these use cases demonstrate a few ways the bundle can be used, they are designed to highlight the flexibility and reusability of the business objects and enterprise service operations so as to impart a clearer understanding of how they can be deployed in your customer's business environment.

This wiki is also the space for readers to share knowledge and collaborate with others who are implementing the Inventory Management ES bundle.

Use Case 1: Accounting for Goods Damaged in the Warehouse

In most small warehouses (indeed in most large warehouses), stock is damaged from time to time. This use case assumes that there is no dedicated warehouse management system in place. A forklift driver has knocked over a few cases of glassware and much of it is broken. This stock must be accounted for, so the forklift driver counts the number of intact cases and scans their barcode number using a handheld scanner, which invokes the Find Material by Identifying Elements enterprise service operation, followed by Read Material Inventory Handling. The composite brings up a screen that prefills numerous elements for the forklift driver, including the location (this warehouse) and the item (drawn from the barcode reader input), as well as details about this particular item (coming from the Material business object), including how it is packaged in the warehouse (for example, by package, case, or pallet). Pallets always contain 10 cases. First, the driver must make it clear which material was damaged, so the composite invokes Create Physical Inventory Count for the entire pallet of glassware. The driver reports that there are now 4 intact cases, which invokes Change Physical Inventory Count, automatically calculating the number of damaged cases (in this instance, 6) and forwarding this information to SAP ERP.

Because the interface of the composite is highly targeted, it takes the operator only seconds to enter this information, which in turn updates the inventory valuation in the backend system. It will take much longer to clean up the broken glass.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The forklift driver damages some cases of glassware

(No enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 2: The forklift driver starts a composite application that handles such issues

(No enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 3: Using a handheld scanner that communicates with the computer running the composite, the driver scans the bar code of an intact case of goods

Find Material by Identifying Elements

Step 4: The composite application prefills numerous elements of the interface for the forklift driver, including the location

Read Material Inventory Handling
Find Inventory Management Location by Site

Step 5: The forklist driver reviews the data including material

Create Physical Inventory Count

Step 6: The forklift driver enters the number of cases that are intact, and the composite calculates the number of cases that were damaged

Change Physical Inventory Count

Use Case 2: Physical Inventory

Composite applications running on handheld devices have eased the task of performing a physical inventory count. Today, instead of a clipboard with many sheets of paper, the person taking inventory - typically a warehouse clerk - often carries a portable device equipped with a barcode reader.

In this use case, the portable device is running a composite application. The device can access the relevant data on the backend via wireless technology. This includes information about the area of the store or warehouse where the worker is supposed to take physical inventory. The inventory information that has to be verified by physical counting is either created in the ERP backend or by using the Create Physical Inventory Count enterprise service operation. This worklist is retrieved by invoking the Find Physical Inventory Count By Material and Location enterprise service operation, which returns the information about the items housed on the shelves that this clerk is responsible for counting.

Here's an example of a screen that could provide input to the Find Physical Inventory Count By Material and Location enterprise service operation.

The composite then displays a list of results, as illustrated in the following example screen:

The clerk begins the physical count by selecting one document (which invokes Read Physical Inventory Count) and starting with an item on the list, counts the item, and enters the count on her tablet.

Here's an example of a screen that could be used for this:

The composite application invokes the Change Physical Inventory Count enterprise service operation to update the quantities in the backend. The clerk repeats this task for all the items on her list.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The clerk logs on via the handheld device and retrieves the list of relevant documents

Find Physical Inventory Count By Material And Location

Step 2: The clerk selects one document and begins the physical count, typically starting with the first item on the list

Read Physical Inventory Count

Step 3: The clerk counts the items on the shelf and enters the number in the handheld device

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 4: If any goods are damaged or otherwise unsaleable, the clerk notes that on the device as well, and selects
a reason code, such as damaged or spoiled

Change Physical Inventory Count

Step 5: The clerk repeats steps 2 through 4 for the area for which he or she is responsible for performing physical inventory.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Simple Sample App available

If you are looking for best practices in consuming enterprise services from the Inventory Management ES bundle, please refer to the Simple Sample App Manage Inventory Count as a ready-to-run example, including testing data for immediate use.

Use Case 3: Handling of Product Samples

In this use case, a group within the organization is tasked with sending out samples to customers. As such, they must keep on hand a small inventory of samples, transfer goods from in some cases barrels of a certain substance to the sample stockroom, and replenish their supplies from a warehouse.

The product sample department creates sales orders for product samples and, depending on the organization's business process, can also confirm those sales orders, which triggers a goods movement.

To start with, the clerk in the product sample department determines whether the requested material is available at this location by invoking Read Material Inventory Handling enterprise service. A search for this material at this location returns results that show that this material has never yet been available from the product sample department. Before the material can be requested, the material master data must be modified to add the product sample department stock room as a storage location for this material. To modify the material master, the clerk can copy the data from the material master by filling in the Material ID in the Copy From section of a screen similar to the following:

This copies the relevant material. The clerk then enters the plant and location where this material will be stored, which invokes the Change Material Inventory Handling enterprise service operation. Now this is a valid location for this material.

The clerk now requests that some of that material be moved to his location by invoking the Create Goods Movement_v1 service.

Once the material is received, the clerk receives the material by invoking the Confirm Goods Movement_v1 service.

The clerk receives the material, extracts enough for three samples, then returns the rest to the original storage location. To have the excess material picked up, the clerk creates a Goods Movement, which invokes the Create Goods Movement_v1 enterprise service operation.

The inventory now reflects that the product sampling location has three samples, and the remainder is sent back to stock.

Now the clerk finds the sales order for this sample, by invoking the Find Sales Order Basic Data by Elements enterprise service operation and confirms the sales order, invoking Create Outbound Delivery With Reference To Sales Order and sending out one sample to the customer.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The clerk in the product sample department receives a sales order for a product sample

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 2: The clerk checks to see whether the sample ordered has ever existed at this location.

Read Material Inventory Handling

Step 3: Since the material has never been stored in this location, this location must be added to the material master data.

Change Material Inventory Handling

Step 4: The clerk requests a transfer of some material to this location.

Create Goods Movement_v1

Step 5: The clerk extracts the samples

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 6: When the material arrives, the clerk confirms the goods movement.

Confirm Goods Movement_v1

Step 7: The clerk extracts enough for three samples, then sends the rest back.

Create Goods Movement_v1

Step 8: The clerk looks up the sales order that precipitated this process.

Find Sales Order Basic Data by Elements

Step 9: The clerk confirms the sales order.

Create Outbound Delivery With Reference To Sales Order

Simple Sample App available

If you are looking for best practices in consuming enterprise services from the Inventory Management ES bundle, please refer to the Simple Sample App Create Goods Movement as a ready-to-run example, including testing data for immediate use.

Future Directions

Future directions for this ES bundle will be market-driven.

System Requirements

Related ES Bundles

End-to-end Processes Where This ES Bundle Is Used

SOA Homepage on SDN

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