Projects often struggle with the creation of scenarios, when they require lots of master data. There are different ways to solve this starting from a pure manual process (But hey, we are in the software business, aren’t we?). A level better, automate the process using standard SAP BAPIs for the master data objects. And probably most preferred: SAP delivers some standard generation function. Well, the challenge comes from the fact, that customer scenarios are actually different and sometimes even the data basis is missing for a standard function. Checking out a specific customer scenario and talking to the responsible consultant, we often find a solution that can be implemented with little effort. To scale it up to standard – not so easy.
Today I would like to quickly point to a small function in the area of Transportation Zones kind of demonstrating how such an automated generation could look like. For Transportation Zones it is possible to generate country or country/region zones based on a standard NetWeaver customizing.
Go to the SAP TM Transportation Zone maintenance (/SCMTMS/ZONE). In the menu you find under Extras function ‘Create Zones’.
A screen comes up enabling the selection of countries, for which the zones shall be created, and the definition of a prefix used in the zone IDs. Finally you can select if only country zones or country/region zones shall be created. When executing the function the input is validated and a popup comes up informing how many zones shall be created. Last chance to quit. 🙂
Result can be checked in the zone maintenance by searching using the selected prefix. In my example I generated zones for each US state.
Actually I have implemented this very small feature to show how a first step into SAP standard network generation could look like and how it will be received by consultants and customers.
Most of our customers use transportation zones with postal code definitions and here it gets tricky: While for countries and regions there is a definition in NetWeaver, there is nothing alike for postal codes. There is a country specific format validation available, but no data. Making it almost impossible to have something in standard. I can come up with something for Germany, and maybe the US. But postal codes are so different from country to country that even a kind of pattern approach (3 digit zip codes, 5 digit zip codes) does not work everywhere.
But for the above function it would be great to have an automatic zone hierarchy creation in place… 🙂