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Third part Scenarios are  quite common in SAP. There are defined procedures and ways to configure the System to deal with it. My experience with third part scenarios is not unique but different. I will first explain the requirement and then get to the design.In the requirement section I will explain the genesis or need. I will explain this whole process of Inquiry creation to Invoice generation into three series Blog.This is my first blog of the series and I will talk about the Inquiry creation and availability check and management of common parts across the companies[Group companies ].This Scenario present below may not be the best solution but a diffrent solution.

Need : As we know a lot of Merger and acquisitions are happening globally and most of these are in common business areas.This is a reality of today’s business world and you would also agree that most of the companies are already having well defined IT infrastructure and ERP procedures to deal with  existing customers. After the Mergers there ERP procedures often need a readjustment to integrate there systems including SAP .This Integration first happens at the business process level and later flows down to system integration.It brings up a challenge of common customers, Common parts they produce and Common locations from where they can ship and may other things.There will be some difference, as well where they have there own unique parts, unique customers and unique business processes .Integrating the SAP system while preserving the uniqueness and exploiting the common space is very important. If we see the major driver of the acquisitions it is primarly to have a footprint over the globe and it saves a lot when you can ship a product  to customer from the nearest location( Specially in Manufacturing). It may not be possible that Company A has presence there but B may have and hence it results into better profit.

Scenario: . If a customer raises an enquiry  for part 1 to company B and Part 1 can be supplied from company A then it makes absolute sense to check the Availability in Company A before confirmingthe result of  the customer as A can deliver it Faster.I am trying to present a simple but realtime solution to the problem.Both Company A and B uses ECC for there business and they have there business running in productive enviornment.The Acquistion has happened few months back and they need a quick solution before they get centralized.

What it takes to achieve it ?

1, An Interface between Customer and company B for Inquiry creation.

2. An Interface between Company A and Company B for real time availability check/ Availability Simulation .

3. An Interface between Company B and Customer to answer the enquiry .

VA11 Is the transaction where we create inquiry.Orders Related IDOC or BAPI to create the Sales Order can be used to create the Inquiry.We should have an Exit inside inquiry creation of company B ERP system which should simulate the Sales Order in Company A ERP system.The Sales Order Simulation  or even the Material availabilty RFC’s can be used for this purpose .This Exit should store the Result returned by successfully creating the Inquiry with the  along with the information of quantities available in the Company B which will be returned from Company B. At this Point customer may/may not be informed about the actual shipping point.The points to ponder would be

Functional perspective :

1. We need a mechanism to identify the parts which are common or unique .This can be done by either using the Material Group in Material master or Material type or Item category and Item category Group .This can help us determine whether the Sales Order Simulation in company A is required or not for this particular part for which inquiry is being done.

2. Mapping of parts/plants  between company A and B. Usually Availability check in SAP is a function of Material, Quantity and plant from where we raise the  Order.The solution would be to have a central system from which Parts are redistributed in company A and B so that you would not have a difference in part numbers or a mapping table in Company B system to find the equivalent part from A .

3. Usually when Customer raises an Inquiry he is more interested in our capabilty to cater him (at fixed price and fixed quantity at fixed date) and not the location. Internally(Within Company A and B) it may not be a good Idea to check the availability in location Z of Company A when the customer(Ship to ) is near the location A. So it may be worthwhile to have the check based on the mapping of ship to and shipping points . For example, Check availability at Plant A when the customer is from country A.

Technical perspective .

1. Have the Inbound message type defined for ORDERS05 to create an Inquiry .

2. Use the MV45AFZZ and any Text Determination routine (If you want capture the result of Availability check into one of the Texts)or any other Sales related exit to call the RFC BAPI_SALESORDER_SIMULATE destination Company A to do the availability check.

3.Create few X ref tables to map above Functional requirements or Build an Interface To update the Material Master from Common Database if Company A and B have agreed to use one.

4. Receive the confirmed quantity and schedule date and create the Inquiry.

5. Trigger another Outbound IDOCS ORDERS05 to confirm the Inquiry creation and Availability check reults back to customer. 

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As I start working on my next blog,I will be delighted ifi  hear back your experiences in business process like this.

To learn more about Third part scenario SAP Library – Managing Special Stocks (MM-IM).

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