Service Management – RA vs. RAS Order Type

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It’s funny, I’ve been doing this for a while, and i’ve always avoided using the RA order types.  I recently got to wondering why I had the bias toward the RAS order type.  So I thought I’d go into the details of the differences.  So, here goes. RA vs. RAS Order type.

It’s actually curious just how similar they are.  The whole concept comes from the “leading material”.  I only recently heard this term and had it stick in my brain.  I was talking to someone from SAP working on an OSS message I had open, and they asked if I was using the leading service material or leading serviceable material.  When I first read this, I sat there with the blank look on my face, wondering exactly what they were asking me.  It finally hit me, depending on what scenario you run, you might “lead” with a DIEN or service material, or you might lead with a “serviceable” material (the think you are fixing.  So, step one is understanding the distinction.

Ok…  so, now we get to the real deal.  Exactly why would I choose leading “service” vs. “Servicable”.  In my opinion, the answer is actually pretty simple.  It all comes down to the processes you have available for any particular material.  Let’s just say you have a material 100.  It’s produced by you and come back for repair.  Now, if the only option is that the customer returns the materials to you, you fix it and send it back, then you either method works great.  BUT, as soon as you introduce some variability, like the service Exchange process, that throws  monkey wrench into the whole deal.  Why?  because of item category determination.  In the back end of SAP, when you use the RA order type, the item category determination works off of the “Serviceable” material.  So it’s all dependent on what you are fixing.  If a particular material is ALWAY fixed the same way, then using the RA is better approach.

Now, as soon as you enter multiple repair procedures into the mix that can be applied to a material, this is when you must go to the leading “Service” material. (RAS order type).  The RAS order type gives you additional flexibility, and also decreased maintenance (in txn OISD) compared to the RA order type.  Now, the RA gives you a more straightforward approach, but in my opinion, it tends to limit your options.  If everything you do is field service, then this becomes less of an issue, but if you ever have the need for multiple repair procedures (or even field service vs. in-house repair), the RAS is truly the way to go.

Thanks for reading,

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4 thoughts on “Service Management – RA vs. RAS Order Type

  1. Hello Mike,

    Although your rationale for choosing RA vs RAS is interesting however it is not the main criteria. Typically at start of a return process one may or may not know how the returned material will be processed. RAS is typically used when the service to be carried out for the returned material is known and it is ‘well defined’ in terms of scope and pricing. Whereas RA suits better when one does not know what exactly will be done to the return material in terms of scope therefore it is not possible to know how much the customer will be charged.

    My clients have typically preferred using RAS because it allows them to sell “well defined” service products at fixed price as well as to sell on a Time and Material basis. RA is very limited in that respect. My clients have demanded even more flexibility for their return processes which I found easier to implement with custom development with RAS than RA.


    Achyut Koulgi

    1. That’s interesting information. I’m curious, beyond the item category/repair procedure, what you mean by “well defined”. To me, it always seemed that if everything was an in-house repair using the same repair procedure, then the RA order type gives you much better definition. You can define a general task list specific to the material, as well as pricing specific to the material. While this does require more master data, to me it seemed like the RA was better suited to a well defined process.
      I would love to hear more about your experiences. I always want to understand this from another perspective.

      1. Let me give you an example of “well defined”. I am currently helping a client to move from RA to RAS. The reason being that within past 3 years they have gained significant business for “Calibration” of their units in addition to the typical “repair” business. RA served them well for the repair business because they always bill the service on time and material basis.

        In calibration business, for each product line, the scope of the work involved for calibrating an unit is fixed, i.e. they know which components are required and they know which operations are performed in this activity. This is what I call “well defined” service or at this client it is called as “packaged service”. Because they know what it takes to perform the service from costs point of view, they can also price the service upfront. This is where RAS fits well. The challenge is however to incorporate the “surprises” that are discovered by the technician during calibration that need to be billed in addition to the calibration. For this I have developed a custom solution so that those surprises are identified at the time of billing and added to the billing document.

        The client can also use RAS for repair business because it also supports time and material billing provided you make the right settings.

        Hope this helps.

        1. Thanks so much Achyut,
          Now I understand where you coming from and I completely agree. I think we are both talking about different sides of the same coin. If you’re going to do calibration and repair on the same serviceable material, you really don’t have a choice other than RAS (at least in my humble opinion). Simple because they are two different “processes” to perform on the material.
          Thanks again,

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