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Author's profile photo Michael Piehl

Service Management – Configuring the Item Categories

Well last week we started talking about the Repair Sales order.  The sales order itself is pretty simple.  Today we’ll talk about the item categories, where the real work happens. 🙂


The obvious place to start is the configuration screen.  So, in SPRO, here’s where you need to do your work.

Like in so many of my posts, you’ll notice that when learning this stuff, it’s easier to start at the bottom.  So let’s jump straight to Assign Item Categories (Reason for Rejection is straight SD, nothing special for Service).


This shot is showing just some of the item category assignments for the order type RAS.  Remember, it still encourage you to create your own copy, but if you copied from RAS.  Now, if you aren’t familiar with the item category process, let me try to walk you through it 🙂 .

  • This table has 4 keys to it, first and foremost is the order type, RAS or ZRAS for example. 
  • Next is the Item category group.  This is assigned to the material master (in the Sales Org 2 screen). 
  • The third column is a little more obscure.  This is the item category usage, and is used heavily in the repair process.  If you go back to my article on the repair procedure, you’ll recognize that the R101, R102 etc…  are the same as the item usage (only with an R in front of it). 
  • The 4th column is the higher level item category.  In service, everything is connected, so that means the first item category is connected to the pieces below it.  The 4th column tells the system what item category to use if it’s connected. 
  • The 5th column is the default item category that will be inserted into the sales order.  The remaining columns are the optional item categories you could pick.

Now you know the basics of the table, but what does it all mean?  The RAS service process, there are 2 types of materials.  The first is the service material, the 2nd is the servicable material.  Each of these will have different item category groups, thus driving to a different entry in the table.  This is because the system needs different item categories for things that are tangible, can be delivered, fixed, etc.  In comparison, the behavior will be different for items that are a service.

Now, you can see how the item categories are selected, but so what?  Let’s go up the next link of the chain to understand the different pieces in more detail.


The next piece is the Define Item Category Usage.  This is nothing more than text, and all these items come standard in the system.  The important thing to notice is the items that start with R all match up with the repair procedure.  The other two items to pay special attention to are SEIN and SENI.  If you use Resource Related Billing, these are the item usages that will be generated.


Next up, Define Item Category Groups.  This again is purely text, but very important.  This is the key that will be added to the material master in order to control the item category determination.  If you notice in the screen shot, I show the 3 groups I created in order to drive the different repair procedures.  ZEXC is for exchange, ZFLD is for on-site service, ZREP is for In-House repair.  But setting these values in the material master, I can directly influence the item category that will be populated on the sales order.


Now we move to the final piece.  Define Item Categories.  First select the item category you wish to look at.


Now, there are a lot of fields on the item category, and many different things you can control.  In order to avoid a huge lesson here, we need to focus on the last 2 sections.  Service management & Control of Resource-related Billing and Creation of Quotations.  These are the sections directly related to the service management process.  The repair procedure is the most obvious field.  Simply enter in the repair procedure you want this item category use.

the remaining section is used for resource related billing.  You can define if it’s Cost (time and materials) or value which is the price.  And you can set the DIP profile to control how the costs are collected.  We’re going into those details today.  I’ll save that for another time.

What I hope you took away from this lesson is:

  1. each step in the repair process will generate a line item on the sales order.
  2. each of line items will have it’s own item category
  3. using the combination of order type, item category group, item category usage & higher level item category, you can tell the system what item category to use.
  4. Everything starts with the item category that has no higher level item category.  That the starts the chain.  Everything else is connected to that, because this item category sets the repair procedure. 

Next time, we’ll talk about how the sales order generates the service order automatically.

If you’re interested in great tips and tricks on SAP service management, variant configuration or production planning, check out my blog at:

There is also a link to some SAP Easy Buttons =)

Thanks for reading,


CTO – JaveLLin Solutions, LLC

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