Warehouse creation with SAP EWM.
As part of a major strategic shift, food wholesaler Aarnio has implemented SAP EWM. A major project was carried out with the support of the consulting company Westernacher.
Aarnio, part of the Wihuri group, is one of the largest food wholesalers in Finland, with a 25% market share. It supplies around 30,000 customers daily, from restaurants to distribution chains and service stations. The group has 23 distribution centers in Finland and employs around 400 people.
A few years ago, the food distribution market in Finland underwent a major transformation cycle. “Acquisitions by major players led to a strong transformation of the sector,” explains Aki Pousar, Director of Development at Aarnio. The company, which until then had used a shared logistics platform, decided to build its own distribution warehouse in order to adapt to market developments. “We wanted to internalize all logistics processes so that we could operate them ourselves from start to finish. The objective was to be able to offer a higher level of service to our customers in the highly competitive food market,” says Pousar.
Managing the new logistics warehouse.
A long-time SAP customer, the company was already using an SAP ECC 6.0 system to manage sales and pricing, distribution, finance, customer database and e-commerce. It was therefore natural for Aarnio to turn to SAP for this new project, in line with the scope already covered by the company’s solutions. In parallel with the installation of SAP EWM, the group decided to also implement new processes for supply management and order processing, based on the ERP system in place.
To set these processes in motion, Aarnio decided to deploy the warehouse management solution SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM). “We had many ambitions for the warehouse management system: it had to be able to support modern, voice-driven processes. The support of mobile terminals was also part of our requirements,” explains Pousar.
distribution centers in Finland
customers are supplied daily
Combining expertise and partnership.
As soon as the solution was chosen, the company started looking for a partner to support them in the deployment phase. “SAP EWM is still a rare solution in Finland: it was difficult to find resources at the local level,” says Pousar. Aarnio therefore extended its research field to the European level. After an initial selection of 12 integrators, only three remained on a short-list. Finally, Aarnio decided to call on Westernacher. “Many of the processes we wanted to develop were new to us: we needed a competent and experienced partner to support us, especially for the supply chain and logistics warehouse management part,” says Pousar. The company also wanted to establish a real partner relationship with the integrator, based on a community of interest. Moreover, the group had invested a significant amount of money in the project. As a result, it put all the appropriate conditions in place to achieve a return on investment quickly.
Once the project started, the company faced greater complexity than expected, particularly due to the aging of some of its systems, which had been in place for a long time. Along the way, Aarnio had to realign resources to reposition them according to each person’s areas of expertise. Westernacher then focused on the logistics area, while Aarnio finalized the supply management part. Westernacher’s commitment facilitated this reorganization. About 10 collaborators participated in the project on the Aarnio side, and between ten and twenty on the Westernacher side depending on development phases.
Our project was quite unique, with many challenges. We are convinced that we have made the right choices, both on the SAP platform and on the partner level.
Aki Pousar, Director of Development at Aarnio
A solution fully integrated with the existing information system.
The SAP EWM solution has been operational since the end of 2018. The system manages the new warehouse based in Vantaa, which has a surface area of 25,000sqm. SAP EWM is connected to the ERP on the one hand, and to a third-party demand forecasting solution published by Relex on the other. Westernacher has also developed a specific module to collect and integrate GS1 data directly into SAP environments. “The solution makes it possible to recognize new products and changes in product reference data, and then transfer this information to our order booking system,” explains Pousar.
Now that the platform is in place, Aarnio plans to continue optimizing its various processes. “Our project was quite unique, with many challenges. We are convinced that we have made the right choices, both on the SAP platform and on the partner level,” concludes Pousar.
MDI GDS tool for SAP ECC and S/4HANA.
Find out how to import GS1 product data completely automatically and how to maintain it in your SAP environment.
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