Category: SAP Retail

SAP Retail for SAP (non-Retail) Experts

SAP (non-Retail) experts often encounter skepticism when joining an SAP Retail project.

If that’s you, then you’re likely thinking:  Hey, I’m an expert in FI, IM, MM, SD, or whatever. How much different could “Retail” be?

You got this, right? Well, maybe. Maybe not.

This quick read is first aid for mitigating healthy skepticism.

And it applies for both SAP S/4HANA Retail for Merchandise Management and SAP S/4HANA for Fashion and Vertical Business. I use SAP Retail as shorthand to mean both applications. Activating either Business Function brings foundational master data differences into play, and that’s where the skepticism begins.

The Secret of SAP Retail Master Data

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.

Merchandise Category Hierarchy: WHY (Business View)

Merchandise Categories classify Products, but in SAP Retail that’s a small part of the story.

Merchandise Category Hierarchy is relevant both for SAP S/4HANA Retail for Merchandise Management and SAP S/4HANA for Fashion and Vertical Business. SAP Retail is used in this document as a shortcut to mean both applications.

As context, let’s first differentiate between the two main product hierarchies that you’ll find in SAP Retail:

Merchandise Category Hierarchy vs Article Hierarchy.

The Essence of SAP Retail Master Data

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.

Simple eCATT Data Migration Example

My first experience with Extended Computer Aided Test Tool (eCATT) wasn’t much fun. In fact, I still cringe when I hear or say “eCATT.”

You don’t have to be a techno-wizard to take advantage of eCATT basics.

It would be fair to say that I still dislike eCATT. But the best SAP Functional folks are the best, in part, because they’re aware of every tool in their kit. And sometimes eCATT is the right tool for the job. In rare cases, it’s the only tool for the job.

You should know a bit about eCATT, even if you plan to avoid it, as I do.

Master Data makes SAP Retail special

It’s a self-serving notion with the added benefit of being true!

Sure, it’s the unique business processes of Retail and Fashion Vertical Business that prompt these Industry solutions. But if you get the foundation wrong — if you fail to grasp what’s special about SAP Retail master data — then you can forget about effectively executing business processes.

Implementing and running SAP Retail requires experienced SAP Retail Master Data experts. That’s not snobbery. It’s a quest for competence worthy of all Master Data Aficionados.

Site Master Data Migration: What, When, and How To.

Creating master data (and customizing, without customizing requests!) is a serious matter. Your data migration process better be executed properly and accurately. For one thing, it’s a tedious mess to clean up (archive) if things goes awry. Of course, as a Master Data Aficionado reading this article, you now have a plan for success.

Let’s begin by recognizing that your Site Master business process design dictates where and when you’ll be executing Site Master data migration.

Site Master Distribution is Best Practice in S/4HANA. If you’ve adopted that architecture then plan to execute Site Master data migration only in your Development Customizing Golden client. Then use Site Master Distribution to distribute those Site Masters to downstream systems-clients that require Site Masters.

Profit Center Number Complexity

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!

Best Practice for Site Numbers

A best practice in SAP Retail is that the following objects all have the same 4-character number:

This is true for all Sites: Stores, Distribution Centers, and Reference Sites of all flavors.

But this isn’t a system-constraint! Like many things that are described as a “Best Practice,” you can choose otherwise … and pay a price 🙂