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Variant Configuration – Return Configurable Materials

I’ve been a roll with VC for the blogs, so I’m gonna keep going with it (besides, I’ve been pouring all my SM knowledge into the SM E-course).  Today I want to talk about the configuration needed to handle return configurable materials.  I’m also going to talk a little about the processes you’ll need to consider when you decide to accept configurable returns.

First, the easy part.  the configuration is pretty straight forward.  Most of the work is already done for you out of the box.  The item category REC is meant for configurable materials.  The one major change that I encourage is in the item category configuration.  Being a purest, I’ll always encourage you to copy it and make a ZREC, but that’s your call.  The one field that I change is the Special Stock Indicator.  Why you may ask?  If you don’t set this, when you attempt to do your Post Good Receipt on the configurable item if you don’t change this to be E, you won’t get stock back in the system.  Rather, you will get a confirmation of service when you receive this.  Me, I’m a fan of knowing exactly what is coming into my plant.  In addition, I might be able to strip this part down for components, or maybe even resell it.  What this means is that when you receive the item in, it will be sales order stock for your return sales order.

This brings me to the process process portion of the VC return.  Now in order to use this, you will need to do some material movements.  I’m not going into a MIGO lesson here, but you need to know that you must either issue this directly from the sales order ot another sales order, or you might even need to create a material variant and then transfer the stock.  I’ll talk more about the material variant process in another post…  Anyway, returns in VC can be complicated.  Be sure you’re aware of the process cost.  If your product is cheap enough, it could be worth it to leave the settings as they are, and just throw the item away as soon as it arrives.

Anyway, more to come on VC returns, but this will get you started,

Remember, if you need VC or SM help, please contact me and let me know how I can assist you.



Variant Configuration – Requirement Types

Well, today is a quick lesson that I just relearned.  When you are configuring the sales order/item category for a variant configuration item, one of the big things you have to configure is the requirement types.  Now there are some standard ones, but based on what you need, you’ll probably still tweak.

So let’s start at the beginning… where do you configure this?
Txn: SPRO  Sales and Distribution–>Basic Functions–>Availability Check and Transfer of Requirements–>transfer of requirements

In here, the first 3 pieces are what you generally need to be concerned with.  All the real work happens in the define requirements Classes step.  In here, you can define if the order generates a planned order, a production order, a service order, can it take configuration? the screen shot below shows you the full assortment of items you can control.  Ultimately, you will need to use trial and error to fit your business.  the screen shot is for the standard 040, which works for configurable items.  Certain things like the accounting section will need input from your FICO team, but out of the box, this one will work for you.

Now, once you’ve created or modified your requirement, you’ll need to create the requirement class.  I personally think this step is silly, but you have to do it.  I’ll usually name the class the same as the requirement, but do whatever you like.

Now for the last step.  Assign the requirement to your item category.  use the configuration:  Determination of Requirements Types using Transaction.

Use the search to find your VC item category.  In the second column enter in your requirements class.  Now, the last and final piece, put a 1 in the third column.  This is a subtle thing, but it tells configuration to follow the requirements settings in your sales order, not in the material master.  If you don’t put the 1 in there, you could spin your wheels for a while (like I just did) trying to figure out why it’s ignoring your Sd settings.  Anyway, that’s your tip of the day…

As always, I’m learning the hard way so you don’t have to =)

If you’re in need of consulting or SAP Add-in applications, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’ll soon be releasing several new VC applications, including a history report.

thanks for reading,



Service Order Document Flow – Configuration

In a recent post, I talked about the document flow functionality.  One of the things I wanted to cover is how to turn on the service order document flow.  In the sales side, all of this information is turned automatically.  In SM, you need to manually turn on the pieces you want.  My recommendation is to turn all of these items.

First of all, this is where you go in configuration

Once inside the transaction, this is what you’ll see.

Now, I encourage you to make sure all the components you use are checked.  that’s all there is to service order document flow.

If you have any SM needs, please press the contact us button at the top of this page,

Thanks for reading,


Service Availability

It’s been a while since I talked service, so I thought I’d start posting some simple tips and tricks again.  In case you forgot, and if you read my blog often you might have, I’m actually a functional consultant, not a basis guy =)  Service and VC are favorite areas to work in.  I think they provide an interesting set of challenges and are often areas where it is hard to find good people (which is awesome for me).  Anyway, I’m working on a 5 – 10 part course talking about the basics of service management.  I haven’t decided how long it will end up being, so stay tuned.  I have so much in the hopper, but I want to actually show you guys I do know something about SM, service availability.

Today, I want to talk about Service Availability.  I’ve seen it used sporadically in places, but never very well.  So I want to talk about the how and why.  Now, before I get into the meat of the topic, let me explain why this part is important.  Just as in sales, knowing if all of the components are available is extremely important to managing your workload.  SAP provides the same availability functionality in the service order as it does in the production (except of course, running it in mass…  but for that, check Armory by JaveLLin Solutions. couldn’t help the shameless plug).  Transaction IWBK is actually a good transaction to show you all of the availability associated with a service order, and it even gives you fancy traffic lights to let you know at a glimpse if everything is available.  In addition, the status of the service order itself lets you know if all components are available.

Now, you may be asking, why do I care?  Often you have a decent workload of service orders and you require components in order to begin work on them.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see at a glance if all the components are available to know if you should start working on the order?  Perhaps you released the order to get some MRP requirements out there for parts.  Well, if you don’t know when the parts are available, how do you know when you can start working on the order?  Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for getting this part back to the customer.  Your metrics look worse and worse, all because you don’t know if you have parts to start working on a repair.

Alright, you understand the problem, so what can you do about it?  First thing you need to do is make sure the availability check is configured the way you need it.  Just like the availability for sales and production orders, you can have a unique one for service (or more often you’ll use the same one that production uses).  The screen shot below shows you were to find the configuration to see what in the system.

If you look at the Define Checking Rules, you’ll see the following.  Please note, SM is the default.

Next go the Define Scope of Check…  this is where the real work is done.

Remember, that the scope of check can be different depending on the material availability check.

This example shows 02 – SM

Every one of these options determines things that either availability includes or excludes.  Every organization is different, so I can’t tell you there are default settings to use.  I can tell you that you should experiment with whatever you do select.  Have a service order with some components and make sure your settings do what you expect.  ATP is touchy…  powerful, but touchy…  in my e-class, I’ll go into more details about the exact settings.

finally, you need to assign the availability check to the plant/order.  And you also can change the check for creation vs. release.

Here’s the settings you can control:

Alright, now that you’ve seen where to configure the availability check, you should understand how to run it…

Well, it’s pretty simple.  SAP only offers one place to execute availability.  IW32.

Press this button to availability.  There are several important system status that relate to availability:

MANC – Availability not checked
MSPT – Missing parts
MACM – All parts Available

If you use IW38/IW39 or Iw72/Iw73 and you look at system status, this will give you the quick look to determine if you have components available or not.  Please note, this doesn’t do a hard allocation of the components.  it simply says, based on the availability check (see above) that it is in stock.

I hope this little overview gives you an understanding why availability could be an important piece of service that you’ve overlooked.

Thanks for reading,


OMWD – The key to material cost estimates

After lots of digging and some help from google, I finally found what I was missing to make material cost estimates.  The following transaction all needed some tweaking in order to make my materials finally cost properly.

KA01 – needed to create a bunch of cost elements.
FS00 – needed to create some G/L accounts

the list of things to create, came from:  OBYC & OKTZ.  I had to dig through and use the error message to get to the right area, but for me, it was GBB, and my valuation area was empty, this finally led me to OMWD.  the missing piece of my puzzle.

It’s a relief to finally have that working…  now, on to posting some service order costs.


Configuring the new SAP system – Enterprise Structure

Since I’ve spent so much time working getting my new EHP4 system up and running, I thought I’d talk a little about the configuration you need.  Now if you read my last post, Transports in SAP – reusing dev and config between non-connected systems, you’ll see you can do this once and then move it around.  But, you still have to do it once.
One of the biggest pieces is the enterprise structure.  SAP provides you with one, but in general, you want a more robust structure, so you typically copy the existing one and then make changes.  SAP has an entire menu in the SPRO configuration dedicated to this.  they also have a group of transaction codes:  EC01 – EC16 (I think).  This is the shortcut.
Now to make the bare minimum, here’s what you should consider copying:
Company Code
Plant(usually do at least 2)
Sales Org
Distribution Channel
Division (usually do several of these)
Purchasing Org
Warehouse (if you use WM)
Shipping point (typically 1 or 2 per plant)
Storage Locations

Now keep in mind, even when you copy this stuff, you’ll still need to go into the assignments and make some changes.  For example, when you create a new plant (I encourage you to copy), you’ll still need to go to the enterprise structure Assignment area, and connect the plant to the new company code (same goes for the sales org, purchasing org, etc.)  Pretty much everything you need to worry about is in the enterprise structure configuration folder, but there are some exceptions.

1.  If your company code is in a different country/currency than DE, you might need to maintain the tax classifications for the material and the customer.  (this is in the Sales and Distribution–>basic functions–>tax area).  You’ll also need to turn the company code on for materials management (otherwise you can’t extend a material to the plant if it’s in a new company code).  It’s lots of effort, but when you’re done, it’s worth the work.

happy configuring..


Configuring STMS – Transports you can collect

Anytime you create a new system for SAP development, you need to configure the transport management system (STSM).  I’ve struggled with this in the past, but after enough trial and error I finally figured out what needs to happen.  Please keep in mind, the system that I’ve configured is all about collecting the transport files so I can manually move them to other systems, I do NOT have a multiple system environment.  Configuring STMS isn’t bad, just make sure you hit all the steps.

Start at transaction STMS
Menu:  Overview–>System
Menu: System–>create–>virtual system

give your VS a name
green arrow back when you’re complete.

Menu: overview–>transport routes
Press Pencil to go into change mode
Drag the boxes of the actual system and virtual system into the big working window
Menu: edit–>transport layer–>create

Give your transport layer a name.
Menu: Edit–>transport route–>create

Enter in the Actual System, then the transport layer you just created, then the virtual system.

Finally save, and distribute the changes across all systems.  That’s all there is to configuring STMS.

Good luck