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In my earlier post on How long should be a Vendor number in SAP?, I concluded saying that commonly the vendor number length is between 5 to 8 characters. The same parallel could be drawn for SAP Customer Number length as well.

Having said that, Plants/Sites in SAP also are assigned Customer/Vendor Numbers. These Plant/Site Customer/Vendor Numbers are used for MM/SD processes such as inter-company stock transfers, inter-company sales, movement of stock between Plants or Sites etc. These processes post financial postings which in-turn use Plant/Site Customer Vendor numbers similar to FI-AR or FI-AP postings. Given this feature in SAP, the question that comes up is “Should SAP Plant/Site Customer/Vendor Number be same as the Plant/Site Number?”.

The answer to this question is valuable because it dictates the amount of pre-work to be done in the legacy systems. This pre-work could be cleansing the legacy vendor master data and bringing on-board all the affected vendors with the upcoming changes, if any, and to pave the path for successful implementation of SAP processes.

I have seen that the Consulting community is split between two schools of thought:

  • One opinion is that SAP Plant/Site Customer/Vendor number should be same as the Plant/Site number. This is the most supported and common school of thought. The basis for this opinion and the often stated reasons are:
  • keeping the numbers same will yield in better process efficiencies in terms of
  • end-user experience
  • ease of reporting/analytics
  • harmonization of Master Data

This opinion is also supported by SAP. But one main drawback of this opinion is that it does not explain why should we restrict Plant/Site vendor number to be same as Plant/Site number knowing that SAP has no systemic limitation.

  • Other opinion is that SAP Plant/Site Customer/Vendor number could be different from the Plant/Site number. This opinion hinges on the following facts:
  • standard SAP does allow for these numbers to be different
  • no known systemic limitations

It would be interesting to see if there were any specific examples (both technical and functional) where each of these options worked better or had issues.

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  1. Kaushik Choudhury
    I have seen few client maintain plant as 4589 & vendor P4589 or some other prefix followed by plant name. Hence when viewing  the orders or reports end user can quickly identify whether it is external vendor or internal plant which is maintained as vendor .

    The impression I got from businesses that these kind of smart numbering saves time and improves productivity on day to day work .

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