SAP MFS for Automated Warehouse Management

SAP MFS: Efficient Integration of Automated Warehouse Technology with SAP EWM

Companies today are looking to implement lean, harmonized processes to improve the resilience of their supply chains. The SAP Material Flow System, or SAP MFS for short, is a component in SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) that is designed to efficiently control material flow in automated warehouses. SAP MFS enables the seamless integration of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and other automation components with SAP EWM. The integration of automated warehouse and materials handling technology into logistics processes opens up numerous possibilities for optimizing material flows and managing stock, enabling companies to shorten lead times and increase process flexibility while at the same time reducing operating costs.

With SAP MFS, companies can optimally manage their partially or fully automated warehouses by ensuring a smooth flow of materials. The system ensures that the various warehouse processes managed by automated systems are seamlessly integrated with the warehouse management features of SAP EWM, enabling companies to maximize warehouse efficiency, maintain an overview of their stocks, and keep tight control over their warehouse processes. It is ideal for companies with complex warehouse structures and automated warehouse management systems.

What are the Main Features of EWM for Automated Warehouse Management?

The integration of a material flow system in SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) enables the efficient management of fully automated warehouse systems. The integration of EWM and MFS is seamless and direct, without requiring external interfaces or a separate warehouse management computer.

Connecting materials handling technology to the EWM system and mapping this information enables various SAP EWM MFS features to be used. These features comprehensively support goods receipt, goods issue, picking and consolidation/deconsolidation processes and enable integrated processing of the resulting warehouse tasks.

The warehouse management monitor in SAP EWM enables transparent monitoring, reporting, and further processing of status and data from the material flow system.

From the warehouse monitor, you can perform the following activities:

How Does EWM Use the MFS to Communicate with the Automated Warehouse Technology Components?

Materials handling systems can be efficiently connected to the standard SAP software using a programmable logic controller (PLC) in the material flow system. Complete integration is facilitated by SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) and the SAP Material Flow System (SAP MFS).

Every control unit that is used to control machines and trigger activities or processes in EWM MFS must be defined as a PLC. The activities of a PLC can include, for example, the conveyance of goods between different communication points, lifting/lowering processes, or scanner activities.

SAP MFS is used to exchange information between SAP EWM and a programmable logic controller (PLC). To enable this communication, specific communication channels must be defined for each PLC.

Information is exchanged between SAP EWM and the PLC at predefined communication points located along the materials handling system. MFS telegrams are used to send data records, such as capacities, warehouse tasks, HU numbers, and interim destinations, that are recorded at these communication points to EWM.

EWM interprets the telegram content and communication point types and triggers the necessary actions. The resulting information is sent back to the PLC in a new telegram. The PLC then controls conveyance of the goods to the next communication point. Once the goods have arrived, the PLC sends a new telegram to EWM.

How does EWM Support Material Flow Optimization in an Automated Warehouse?

MFS integration offers extensive configuration options to support the real-time control of materials handling technology components. It includes technical settings for various PLC interface types and permits the definition of communication channels and capacities for materials handling segments. These configurations not only achieve fast response times, but also enable seamless synchronization of the material flow systems.

SAP EWM MFS organizes the MFS processes to ensure the optimum use of resources and capacities depending on automation technology complexity, material flow strategy, and the number of connected control systems. It includes flexible and bidirectional communication processes, simple protocols, and the rapid detection and rectification of faults.

Furthermore, the configuration permits the definition of a maximum number of processes to start in parallel to the processing of an EWM order at a communication point. Material flows can thus be optimized without impairing downstream processes or telegram processing.

Would you like to learn more about the different options for integrating a material flow system with SAP EWM MFS?
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