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Alternative materials in BOM & Production Order

Dear All,

I would like to share knowledge regarding alternative material’s concept and their usage in BOM & Production Order.

Basic knowledge

Normally, Bill of material (BOM) is maintained for HALB & FERT materials.The materials against which BOM is maintained contains components at different levels along with their quantities, basic unit of measure and production storage location. Once the BOM is defined for material then it further comes into use of production order, MRP and so on. BOM is defined as per instruction of engineering department.

Alternative materials

In BOM, such type of components may also use which are alternatives. For example, there are two materials lets say A & B. Alternative materials have normally almost same description. At a time one material can be activate and other inactive OR both alternative materials may be used with different usage probabilities.

How to define Alternative Materials in BOM?

If you need to add alternative materials in BOM, add them like normally other materials. Alternative materials are differentiated with rest of materials through Group Number ID. As you can, given below is the BOM of FERT material which contains alternative materials. Alternative materials can be combination of ROH & HALB, ROH & ROH, HALB & HALB. Please have a look


Hence it shows that, 1-315 and 2-292 materials are alternative together along with their consumption quantities 2 EA and 1 EA respectively . Group number 1 is assigned to both.

NOTE : For the same nature of materials, same group number is used for making them alternative materials.

But how to see their usage probabilities? Lets have a look

DOUBLE CLICK on item column numbers after selecting these materials.

Lets have a look on material 1-315 material



1-315 material is assigned 100 usage probability means this material is active with 100% usage probability. It is the 100% of the BOM quantity of its component which is 2. If i kept usage probability 70, the resultant quantity which will be used is 1.4. I hope its clear to you now !

Lets have a look on 2-292 material


As you can see, 2-292 material has no usage probability. After this analysis we come to know that, when production order will be open for Fert material 500000000302 for 100 quantity, the component 1-315 will be active with 200 quantity in order, and material 2-292 will be having zero quantity( as this component is having priority less than 1st material and zero usage probability).

Lets have a look on production order of 5-302


As defined earlier in BOM, material # 1-315 is active ( at priority 1 with 100% usage probability) and material # 2-292 is inactive( priority 2 with usage probability zero). If your temporary requirement is to use material 2-292 which is inactive in BOM, You can use it in order by assigning usage probability here in production order.

Double click on item numbers after selecting these materials



The resultant screen is


2-292 has 1 consumption quantity in BOM of 5-302 so when production order for 5-302 is opened for 100 quantity, the quantity of 2-292 is 100.

:: if we kept usage probability of 2-292 –> 50%, then there would be 50 EA quantity in production order for 2-292 material !

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  • Dear Mr. Raheel,

    Great work done.. Please for sharing. Its really helpful for those which are using alternative material scenario.


    Muhammad Umar

  • Hello ahmed,

    That means the "Usage Probability" of a component mentioned in the Production Order overrides that indicated in item level of BOM?. Pls confirm.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • yeah ..whatever usage probability you defined there for alternative material in BOM, you can switch their usage probabilities in production order as per your requirement! but, by default only that material will come with quantity in production order as well as in MRP run which is active in BOM i.e. which has usage probability defined!

  • AOA Raheel,

    Happy to see you sharing your expertise and knowledge with SAP community. Keep up the good work, and please do keep sharing! 🙂
    Wish you good luck.


    • w/salam

      Its an honor for me that you people appreciate like this. Thanks alot. Inshallah i ll keep posting more posts in easy words so that beginners may also get benefit 🙂


      Qazi Raheel 

    • Useful information for alt material usage probabilities,But what will happen to the closing stocks of a particular material components whose Unit of measurement is Nos.If we maintain usage prob as 50% & 50 % for both components(Like Bulbs) & suppose the confirmation qty of Header during production is in Odd nos say 131 then the closing stock of both components will be in decimal places what is the solution for that.


      R Sehgal

      • Dear Rakesh,

        Thanks   Dear. It’s Interesting question. It depends on material to material and its as per company requirements to maintain different usage probabilities for materials. Let’s take an example against your question. Our header material is bicycle & the BOM of bicycle contains 1 Blue light and 1 white light and we are maintaining 50 % prob. usage for both materials in BOM. System will took 0.500 EA requirement for both materials in production order if you have allowed decimal points with unit of measure EA at back end.  Although its illogical to use half qty. of both lights. In such situation, don't make these materials alternative and just enter required qty. in BOM.


        Qazi Raheel

        • Dear Raheel,

          Thanks For the reply,

          then how can i use the standard functionality of SAP usage of alt. items in BOM with probability %age ,My customer is giving me allowance & to use both the components of same specifications but of diff make & diff.supplier) with 50-50 qty usage.



          • Dear Rakesh,

            Thanks for your concern dear. As you know BOM is part of master data & by definition Master data is the data which remains unchanged over long period of time. So, when BOM is maintained it doesn't get changes frequently. Alternative items probability usage is an extra feature by SAP where it come into use in different scenarios. For example, in Refrigerator making industry, Compressor is the part of refrigerator. For example, one vendor is panasonic and other is denfoss & you have inserted both materials as alternatives in BOM. Sometimes production of refrigerator is carried out with panasonic compressor and sometimes with Denfoss compressor as per requirement. 

            NOTE: you can use one compressor in refrigerator at a time.

            So u have to give usage probability 100% to one material and other material with zero usage probability. So one material will be active at a time.

            I hope it makes u clear where we can use usage probability concept.


            Qazi Raheel

          • Thanks for the reply,

            But changing of usage probability also involves the changes in Master Data of BOM(CS02)on every change in demand.


            Rakesh Sehgal

          • Dear Rakesh,

            Yeah that's what i am saying. If there is such a requirement to change usage probabilities frequently, u can change it in production order & keeping the BOM unchanged.


            Qazi Raheel

  • Dear

    I want Know the answer of this issue "

    I have known something about PP alternative Group and alternative item functions,

    but i am not sure whether SAP whether SAP PP supports following business scenario. Anyone 's responses will be highly appreciated.

    Here is the business requirement:

    Material A is a component of FG,

    And material B can be an alternative item for A when A is in a shortage.

    let's say the stock of A is 10, the stock of B is also 10.

    And the requirement for A is 12,

    Can system automatically suggest in production order processing that 10 pieces of A and 2 pieces of B should be used in the prod order?

    PS: if A has enough stock, no reservation for B should be proposed by system.

    Please help. and thanks in advance!

    alternative materials in PP

    i faced same problem now in my business

  • Hi Raheel,

    Great article. But I've one question...

    Can we define alternatives in production BOM(co02) manually without define them in Master BOM(cs02)?

    Your fast response will highly appreciated.

  • Dear Raheel,

    Thank you for sharing the document. It is extremely well written and elaborately explained.

    But I've a few queries WRT the planning aspect.


    I'd like to give my example itself -

    FERT material A has 2 alternate components:

    A1 (Pump 1) - has 100% probability (similar to #1-315; your example)

    A2 (Pump 2) - has 0% probability (similar to #2-292)

    Both are bought out materials and the quantity for both of them in the BOM is 1.


    Now when there is a requirement for 100 Nos for A - and MRP is run then how will be the Purchase Requisitions generated?

    Will all the 100 numbers be raised for A1?
    If yes, how do I ensure that PRs for both the materials are created.


    Thanks in advance.



    Rahul R