Variant Config Considerations

  1. For inbound sales orders, the recent ORDERS IDoc types do allow for specification of material characterstics, etc. necessary for configuration.
  2. If your customers reference a particular configuration using their customer material number (or another value), then you have a couple options to enable this:
    1. Create a material variant for each referenced item and load customer material info records to tie the material variant back to the customer material number.
    2. Within the EDI subsystem, associate the customer material number with that configuration's characteristics. Generate the configuration segments prior to handing the IDoc to SAP.
    3. If the customer does not provide the SAP material number; but rather sends a code (defined by you) as the material number, then things get interesting. You'll need to do a few things:
      1. Option 1: Reverse Configure in the EDI Solution
        1. This is basically option 2. In the EDI solution you'll use the code you defined to lookup the configuration's characteristics and write these into the IDoc.
      2. Option 2: Reverse Configure in SAP
        1. Define a characteristic within the product that corresponds to the code you defined.
        2. Write a program that determines the remaining characteristics from this code you defined (maybe by parsing the code apart or looking it up in a table).
        3. On the EDI Solution side, you'll need a list of these codes you've defined along with their SAP corresponding material numbers. When you see an inbound material referencing this code, replace the code with the material number and write one characteristic -- the one for the code you've defined.
        4. On outbound (invoices, confirmations, ASNs, etc), you'll need to read the IDocs in reverse order, look for the characteristic that includes your code, and replace the SAP material number with it in the IDoc.
      3. Note: This assumes you've probably added a field to the material master and have modified the inbound sales orders IDoc interface to lookup material number based on this code.
      4. Note: There's a fair amount of complexity here because you want to send the code back to the customer on outbound since that's what he's ordering with. If you just send back the material number, then your customer may begin ordering his favorite items using just the material number (which doesn't have configuration details)... and your CSRs will be on the phone asking how they want their items configured. D'oh!