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.