Skip to Content

Exploring Special Procurement Types: Phantom Assemblies


For a plant, the term ‘procurement’ refers to the process of getting inventory of a particular material. In a simple and broad classification, procurements can be:

  • In-house production
  • External procurement

In the simplest case of External procurement, an order is placed to a supplier for a material, and the supplier supplies it.

In the simplest case of In-house production, a product is manufactured in a plant location (work center) based on a Routing and a Bill of Material.

In practice, the procurement process can be more complex. The procurement type of a material may not be ‘the simplest in-house production’ or ‘the simplest external procurement’. In SAP, these complex procurement types are addressed by ‘special procurement types’ ‘that more closely defines the process of procurement’.


The special procurement keys are defined in OMD9 configuration. The configuration is stored in T460A configuration table. You can call this configuration alternatively by calling transaction SM30 and maintaining view V460A.


In this document we will try to explore special procurement type ’50’ Phantom Assemblies.

The special procurement type is maintained in Material Master MRP2 view (MARC – SOBSL). This is a plant level data field.


Phantom Assemblies:

Phantom assemblies are ‘logical groupings’ of components, and they are ‘fictitious assemblies’ that never get produced. Their components are integrated with the higher level product. The basic reasons of the popular use of phantom assemblies are:

  • Grouping by a logical process and creation of a ‘nomenclature’
  • Simplicity in the BOM structure for a complex in-house product containing thousands of materials as BOM components.

Configuration setting for the special procurement type ‘Phantom Assemblies’:


Regarding master data difference of a phantom assembly and a real assembly is: a phantom assembly does not need a Routing, since it is not going to be produced. This derives the following consequences:

  • There are no planned orders/ production orders for the phantom assemblies.
  • There are no stocks of the phantom assemblies.

A phantom assembly, when used as a BOM component inside a superior assembly, system automatically updates the ‘phantom’ indicator in the BOM General Item view, as well as component detail data view.



The BOM of the phantom assembly is already exploded in the Routing component allocation screen, as well as inside Production order component overview:

The phantom assemblies are listed there for information purpose, and the indicators for phantom items are duly updated.



The MD04 list for the Phantom Assembly remains empty:


The components of the phantom assembly although shows the dependent requirements for the Phantom Assembly.


Multilevel Phantom assemblies are supported in the system.

Further Controls:

If it is required that an assembly will be considered as phantom for one superior assembly, while it will be treated as a real assembly for another superior assembly; that flexibility can be controlled in the following two methods. Routing will be necessary since it is going to be treated as a real assembly.

  • Defining the assembly as a real assembly in material master (procurement type E and no special procurement type), and mentioning it as a phantom assembly in BOM component details screen. To do the same, maintain the special procurement type for phantom assembly in the BOM component general data tab.
  • Defining the phantom assembly as a phantom assembly, and use the explosion type configuration inside BOM component general data tab.


The ‘explosion type’ is configured in:




Accordingly, the consequences like ‘creation of planned orders by MRP’ will follow since it is being treated as a real assembly.

Thanks for viewing the document.


You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • Hi Rajen,

    Good Document.

    You may wish to include a note/caution that a material set with the Phanton indicator in SAP(Special Procurement Key = 50) must be set up with a valid BOM as well

    Otherwise we will hit errors while running the Cost Estimates for a higher assemblies (e.g, error msg: BOM not found for material XYZ(Phantom material)).



    • Hi Senthil,

      Many thanks for the feedback, I'll do it. Besides, I'll add up excerpt from the note that mentions that phantoms without a BOM are considered as raw materials.

      Best Regards,


      • hi Rajen,

        Excellent document!!!

        can you please explain if we 'switch off Phantom Assembly'  using indicator 2. 

        Is it is like a regular material we will have planned orders and we can maintain stock etc.?? my assumption was still this is non stockable item as material level you have set it as Phantom? Can you please share your thoughts on this.

        • Yes, it will be treated like a regular assembly. E.g., suppose BOM of material A contains material B which has been defined as phantom in material master, and you have a BOM for material B. But inside the BOM of material A, you have maintained the explosion type as '02' for B as in my example (one which has indicator 'phantom assembly off').

          Now you can test the following two cases:

          (a) Create a production order for material A, in the component overview, you will see material B, not the components present inside the BOM of B (which normally happens due to the explosion of phantom assembly).

          (b) Run MRP, you will note planned order generation of material B due to the dependent requirements/ reservations generated from the receipts of A.

          To sum up, the assembly B will be treated as a 'real assembly' whenever the requirement is generated from A, i.e., BOM explosion of A takes place. In other cases, it will be treated as a phantom assembly.

          You can test these points in your test system.



  • Good document Rajen. Couple of pointers:

    1. In real business scenarios there are many levels of phantom assemblies one below the other in a BOM hierarchy and the way to look at the hierarchy is via what we call as Order level/Order path as seen in Routing or Prod Order. Business users look for this info to understand the actual phantom level in the hierarchy. May be you can touch upon this info in the document.

    2. Also include the basic info operation/component assignment related to phantoms:

    What happens if you assign the phantom assembly to an operation and what happens if the components inside do not have any assignment?

    And what if you have assigned individual material components from the phantom assembly to various operations without also actually allocating the phantom assembly?

  • Hi Rajen,

    I stay having some doubts abaout the Phantom operation with my PP products.

    I made all those configurations inside BOM plant SAP but I can't see the results.

    I don't know what I made wrong?

    Can you have any more information about the functionality of Phantom Assembly?

    Thank you for help me.