SAP Number Range Shenanigans

The shenanigans of alphanumeric SAP Number Ranges are a surprise even to seasoned experts.

You’re likely well aquatinted with the mundane task of maintaining numeric number ranges for most business objects. The behavior is easily understood because the SAP system straightforwardly considers them as, well … numbers. Adding alpha characters to the mix is less common, and the resultant behavior is significantly less intuitive.

Commodity Code Conundrum

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.

3 Paths to S/4HANA, not 2!

You’ll hear “greenfield” and “brownfield” used in common conversation about transitioning from ECC 6.0 ERP to S/4HANA. These two words — and too few words — cause more confusion than clarity.

To be clear, there are three scenarios for moving to SAP S/4HANA:

  • New Implementation
  • System Conversion
  • Selective Data Transition

The first two receive wide attention, but the last is thought provoking.

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.

Sharing is Caring

Red Green, Man of Wisdom

One of my seven granddaughters — Charlotte, the three-year-old — cheerfully reminded me of this truth. As they say, out of the mouths of babes!

Through example and repetition, her mother — my daughter — is teaching her daughter a foundational lesson. One that most humans learn to their unending profit. But, oddly, without an explanation rooted in self-interest (We never explained it quite that way to our children).

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.