Variant Configuration – Material Variants Visible in Sales Orders

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I just discovered something interesting that I never noticed before.  During some testing for an upcoming go-live, one of the people in our team noticed that in an plant that uses the material variant, but doesn’t produce it, you can see the configuration within the sales order.  The configuration is completely grayed out, so no changes can occur, but still behavior I didn’t realize.

This little tidbit has some interesting side effects and possible benefits.  The first and most obvious is that your order entry person can easily see the configuration of a material variant if they want to see what options are select.  Now, one of the key things to keep in mind, if you want this behavior, you now need to maintain the characteristics and values in all plants.  This is always a mixed bag in my opinion.  Typically, I encourage clients to only maintain the material variants in plants that produce the material.  The reason is that for any changes to VC logic that impacts the characteristics and values needs to be updated in every material variant/plant combination.  This can quickly become a big data nightmare if you have many plants and variants.  If the number is manageable, it’s not such a big deal, but it is an extra piece of data to maintain.  It also means that you need to be careful if you need to have any plant specific logic incorporated within your materials (again, you hope to avoid this whenever possible in the model).

The short story, it could be a mixed blessing to have Material Variant information available within the sales order.  Potentially valuable, with master data maintenance repercussions 🙂

Thanks, for reading,

As always, thanks for reading and don't forget to check out our SAP Service Management Products at my other company JaveLLin Solutions,

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