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Migrating Your SAP Warehouse Module to S/4Hana – Part Two

How long and under what conditions can I still operate my decentralized LES (WM)? Many customers who use a decentralized LES (WM), e.g. for automated warehouses, ask us what they should do with regard to S/4HANA and this is a very specific topic.

What scenarios are there with a decentralized LES?


You can migrate a decentralized SAP Logistic Execution System (LES) that runs on SAP ECC to S/4HANA. However, the decentralized LES, just like the central LE-WM, can only be operated in compatibility mode on S/4HANA until 12/31/2025. Stock room management does not help here either. The decentralized LES scenario is not subject to any usage releases for Stock Room Management. Therefore, it makes little sense to migrate the decentralized LES to S/4HANA.


However, a decentralized LES on SAP ECC can be connected to S/4HANA. SAP offers the corresponding interfaces for this. In this case, it is permitted to operate the decentralized LES on SAP ECC together with an S/4HANA beyond 2027. According to the current state of knowledge, regular support for SAP ECC will be available until the end of 2027 and is even expected to be available until the end of 2030 with extended support at higher support conditions.


There are no functional restrictions in this scenario. Particularly, in contrast to Stock Room Management, it is still permitted to use SAP TRM and the WM-LSR interface in decentralized LES.


So, what needs to be done?


If you want to continue operating the decentralized LES on SAP ECC, you wait until the associated ERP system has been migrated to S/4HANA and connect the decentralized LES to it with the changeover to S/4HANA.


Sooner or later, the point will come at which the advantages of a decentralized SAP EWM should be used. However, switching from a decentralized LES to a decentralized EWM or embedded EWM is like a new project and involves corresponding effort and costs. Most customers will therefore not make the switch without a reason, such as major changes in the warehouse. There is no general answer as to when the right time is. Körber will be happy to advise you based on your specific situation.


Can it make sense to switch from centralized WM to decentralized LES?


The limitations of Stock Room Management in S/4HANA, particularly regarding the connection of automated warehouses, make some customers inventive.


If customers have programmed a lot (dialogues, strategies, ...) to optimize the warehouse processes in a central WM, they want to keep the optimizations if possible. They also know that the likelihood of such optimizations being included as standard in a new WMS is low. This also applies to EWM. This means that when switching from LE-WM to EWM, they would not only have to manage the task of implementing EWM, but also the additional programming for optimizing warehouse processes.


In this situation, customers should consider migrating the central LE-WM to a decentralized LES (dec. LE-WM), which is usually possible with much less effort than introducing a new EWM. The aim of this consideration is to connect the decentralized LES to S/4HANA so that it can continue to be used after 2027, but at most until the end of 2030 according to current knowledge.


However, this approach would involve spending a lot of money to maintain an old solution. It is doubtful whether this is strategically wise. However, in the case of strongly cost-oriented decisions with a rather short view of the future, this path may well be an option.


This article is part two of a series written by Körber’s SAP expert, Dr. Karten Fuchs, on the topic of migrating your SAP warehouse module to S4/HANA. Read Part One and Part Three on the Körber blog.

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