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Sales area bundling is another one of those confusing terminologies in SAP CRM, where different concepts are thought of, when it is brought up. However, through this blog, I hope to clear most of the confusion and discuss the topic in as much detail as is possible.

So, let’s dive right in. What is Sales Area Bundling? Simply put, it’s the name given to SAP CRM’s counterpart for the concept in ECC, referred to as “Common Distribution Channels” and “Common Divisions”.

Let us first try and understand the essence of this idea that originates from Sales and Distribution.

In ECC, it is possible that your business scenario consists of several product divisions that can be dealt in several other distribution channels. This is typical of large manufacturing organizations, dealing in diverse product portfolios across markets that span many geographies. Therefore, in ECC, you end up with a lot of combinations of distribution channels and divisions for the same sales organization, or in other words, many sales areas.

Take for instance, High Tech Co., which has a Sales Organization in USA, which deals with Desktops, Laptops and Servers sold over the Internet and through Direct Sales. This means for a single sales organization you now have Sales data that looks like the following:

Sales Organization

HT USA = 0001

Distribution Channels

Direct Sales = 01

Internet = 02

Division

Desktops = 01

Laptops = 02

Servers = 03

So now, you have the possible combinations of Sales areas, that would equal =  1 * 2 * 3 = 6.

Now imagine that there are 2000 products and 200 customers who are concerned with these products. It is quite obvious that the amount of maintenance is quite high across these different sales areas.

This is especially true if the distribution channels or divisions share some common features in terms of the sales area data that they contain.

Say, the Currency data for Distribution Channel 01 and 02, is the same in the entire of USA, i.e. for Sales Org 0001. Also, say that the default Distribution plant for both Desktops and Laptops is the same for products that are sold within the USA, hence, for 0001. This would mean that the data maintenance is quite repetitive across these different sales areas, in spite of them sharing some common values.

It is precisely for the above pattern of data which shares common features, that SAP ECC provides the concept of “Common Distribution Channels” and “Common Division”.

Therefore, in Customizing in ECC, it is possible to define for a Sales Organization, a Common Distribution Channel for Material master data, for Customers, Price Conditions etc., Similarly, you have the same for Division as well.

So, how does this work?

Continuing our example, take the Distribution Channels 01 and 02 that share the common attribute – Currency. In this case, in ECC, we will define a common distribution channel, say DC, which is the Common Distribution Channel for 01 and 02 for the Sales Org – 0001.

Hence, now if you would like to maintain the values for currency for 200 customers who deal with 0001 for 01 & 02, we would just maintain the Currency data in the common distribution channel DC, instead of 01 and 02. So, for 200 customers, earlier the maintenance would have been = 200 * 2 (0001 01 & 0001 02), but now, maintenance has dropped by 50%, since maintaining it for DC automatically assigns the values for 01 and 02.

Effectively, if you consider the division 01, the currency now needs to be maintained only for the sales area = 0001 DC 01, instead of 0001 01 01 and 0001 02 01 separately.

Similarly, if you would like to maintain the default delivering location for a products that fall in divisions 01 & 02, we simply create a common division DV, and make it the common division for 0001 for divisions 01 and 02.

Again, if you combine this with the above concept of common distribution channel, the plant data now needs to be maintained only for the sales area = 0001 DC DV, instead of 0001 01 01, 0001 01 02, 0001 02 01 and 0001 02 02 separately.

Thus, we have effectively cut down the master data maintenance time for sales areas for customers and materials, using the concept of common distribution channels and common divisions.

Now, how does this work in sales transactions?

Well, let us say, that you are trying to create a quotation for Customers in USA for Desktops, to be sold over the Internet. This would mean that your sales area is 0001 02 01. So, when you enter the sales area for the transaction,

1. The system automatically will first check if the customer has any sales area data maintained specifically for the sales area 0001 02 01.

2. If not, it checks if the sales org in question has any common distribution channels and/or common divisions for Customer data.

3. If yes, then it automatically constructs the sales area, based on the common data maintained, i.e. 0001 DC DV, and picks up all the data from there.

4. Alternately, this means that if a customer has sales area data maintained for 0001 DC DV, he effectively has the possibility to create sales transactions in sales areas, 0001 01 01, 0001 01 02, 0001 02 01 and 0001 02 02.

So, it is simply an way of accessing the data maintained, for a customer, and it does not mean that the data is copied into all the different sales areas.

This logic applies in case of Common Divisions as well, for materials, price conditions etc.,

In the next part of this blog, we shall see how this concept of ECC is mapped and applied in SAP CRM, in a CRM-ERP integrated sales scenario.

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