Goodbye to Scanning – How ABAP Push Channels (APC) Can Improve Warehouse Performance



Push-based communication streamlines many processes in EWM-controlled warehouses

In the context of the digitalization of warehouse processes, the flow of information between user and warehouse management software plays a major role. How do we ensure that the information for the employees is always up to date? How does this work, especially when there is an initial data pull when an app is opened and circumstances can change at short notice? The solution to this problem is not complicated, it just needs to be considered at the very beginning of an app’s design.  A major added value of UI5 technology is the use of APC. With this, messages can be displayed on the user’s screen in real time, so that there is no delay whatsoever. 

ABAP Push Channels - what is it all about?

ABAP Channels are intended to enable users of an SAP system to receive and send messages with a terminal device. ABAP Push Channels in particular enable ABAP programs to communicate bidirectionally with the Internet. This takes place via WebSockets or TCP sockets. Both are based on the TCP protocol, which, unlike HTTP, which is commonly used on the World Wide Web, also allows push communication. Whereas with the pull principle every response from a server requires a previous request from a client, with the push principle an open connection between client and server is sufficient. This enables communication between the central system, such as SAP EWM, and various end devices such as scanners in the warehouse. 

Interaction of APC and UI5

The communication of UI5 applications and the SAP system normally takes place from the direction of the UI5 application. If the application is opened or an interaction takes place, then communication with the SAP system can occur in response. In UI5 applications, this communication typically takes place via OData services. These services are stateless. This means that the communication channel is taken down again after the data has been exchanged. There is therefore no permanent connection between the user interface and the SAP system.  

If the SAP system now has news for the users, it cannot recognize whether they are currently logged in at all. In the first step, a manual or automatic refresh can now be implemented. So again an action has to happen on the interface for communication to take place. 

But how can we trigger communication from the SAP system? This is where the ABAP Push Channels come into play. These are based on a Web service that, unlike OData services, is not stateless but persists permanently. The SAP system therefore knows all connected end devices. If a change occurs in the SAP system that is of interest to the interfaces, a message can be sent via the APC. The advantages of this solution are obvious:  

  • Avoidance of unnecessary communication (relief of the network and all systems involved) 
  • Prompt notification of the users (virtually in real time) 
  • No interruption of the users in their work (by clicking on the refresh button or automatic refresh) 

Use case from everyday warehouse life: APC in the material flow system

An exciting use case from a current leogistics project can be found in the MFS environment. Here, thanks to the use of APC, the scanning process upon arrival of the pallet at the picking location can be dispensed with and the personnel can start picking immediately. Laborious searching for a label is no longer necessary and performance is improved. Other possible areas of application are, for example, in the environment of deliveries or outbound deliveries. If these are blocked by the dispatch center due to problems and users are currently processing this delivery, they receive a message with the corresponding text directly on their mobile device via APC. Another example: If new key figures or updates are available in the KPI environment, users can also receive a message in real time via APC. 

Use case: improved goods-to-man picking thanks to APC.

In the “goods-to-man” picking method, the WMS provides items in automated racking systems and transports them to the picking location via a conveyor system. The picker(s) remove(s) the items and the container(s) go(s) back to a storage location as an empty or a partially used container. 

Optimization of goods-to-man picking can be achieved through the use of new technologies. The combination of SAP UI5 and ABAP Push Channel enables a scan-free and user-friendly picking process at the conveyor system. The users receive the required information automatically, in real time and clearly displayed in the user interface. 

When a handling unit physically arrives on the conveyor at the workstation, a push notification can be sent to the picking application at the same time as the EWM update, since all the required information is already accessible at this point. As a result, users automatically receive the new work instruction on the screen without long delays and can start processing directly. As a result, performance is optimized because time-consuming and repetitive label scanning is no longer necessary. 

In addition, the UI5 technology allows information to be displayed in a user-friendly manner. Due to the web-based display, important information can be highlighted in order to focus on the essentials. In contrast to classic screen applications, there are significantly fewer restrictions on the display. From optimized display to your own design, there are almost no limits to the graphic design of the screen interfaces. 

We are here for you!

ABAP Push Channels can significantly improve communication in the warehouse and thus reduce many coordination efforts. It is therefore worthwhile to directly consider this possibility during application development in the UI5 environment. Have we piqued your interest? Just contact us at

Julian Richter
Senior Consultant SAP Logistics
Hendrick Hilleckes
Development Architect

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