What was true about Generic Article and Variants in SAP ECC 6.0 has changed from top-to-bottom.
With SAP S/4HANA, in keeping with SAP’s movement of Industry to Core, the implementation of the SAP Retail concept of Generic Article and Variants dramatically changed to align with concepts found in standard Variant Configuration (LO-VC). The result is significant technical change, but also significant business process change, as one would reasonably expect when master data concepts are rearranged.
The SAP lexicon is fun. Similar or same words commonly describe different things, and different words describe the same or similar thing. As such, speaking precisely requires effort, if not blind faith.
This is particularly true in SAP Retail, where a so-called “Retail Text” was historically applied to rename business objects. Materials became Articles, Plants became Sites, and more.
With S/4HANA, Retail Text is no more. The standard labels Material and Plant appear on screens, not Article and Site. But not consistently.
Commodity Code data in SAP S/4HANA are completely different than in ECC 6.0; what you knew to be true in ECC 6.0 is no longer true.
There’s a new data model and new Fiori apps for managing Commodity Codes. The upshot is that your master data processes for Commodity Code require redesign, and master data processes for Material Master require redesign, including inbound interfaces that assign Commodity Codes.
Commodity codes in S/4HANA are now time-dependent, and valid for a material and a country or multiple countries.
The Essence of SAP Retail Master Data — my recent blog post — was all about massively creating product data, location data, and product data that’s location specific. This video goes to the next level.
After you’ve brilliantly orchestrated master data to create master data — perhaps billion of rows — how do you maintain this over time … with least effort?
For that, you need to understand a concept called Reference Handling.
The essence of SAP Retail Master Data is manifested at the intersection of Products and Locations. We also call them Articles and Sites, or Materials and Plants. Take your pick; the SAP lexicon is forever morphing for your enjoyment 🙂
Whatever you call them, the number of Products times the number of Locations is a big number in SAP Retail. It quantifies the Retail Master Data challenge, and billions is the typical unit of measure.
You’ve got to massively create and maintain product data, location data, and product data that’s location specific. Yes, please, and with least effort.
A central concept permeates SAP Retail Master Data to enable master data creation: using master data to create master data. If you get your head around this idea — even at a high level — then you’ll begin to grasp the elegance and uniqueness of SAP Retail Master Data.
Profit Center number decisions that add complexity.
Your decision for Profit Center numbers can add ongoing operation costs and complexity, especially in SAP Retail.
We’re talking strictly about Profit Centers in Material Master that are assigned for each Plant (MARC-PRCTR).
The Best Practice in SAP Retail is that only one Profit Center per Plant (Site) is relevant for all Materials (Articles), and that the Profit Center number is the same as the Plant number.
Profit Center number = Plant number. Simple. But why is this Best Practice? What pitfalls await those who deviate? And how is Best Practice implemented? Spoiler alert: it isn’t standard, and that’s standard!