Product definition & modeling has always been an important part of implementation projects and is especially tricky in the steel industry. Today, individualization and lot size one are hot topics for most manufacturing industries. For the steel industry, every steel coil has been an “individual” for many years.

For the textile industry, the dye lot defines the color. Colour deviations from one dye lot to another can easily result in customer complaints.

For the cable industry, all logistic processes are based on the length of the material.
A key characteristic of “mill products” is that we are typically not modeling with predefined SKUs (stock keeping units) – but with dimensions, industrial grades, chemical compositions, and many options. The required complexity differs by industry: from a few demand characteristics in the cable industry to hundreds of characteristics in corrugated packaging, and even thousands of manufacturing rules in flat steel.

As technology advances and new tools become available, also modeling approaches progress. SAP partners have enhanced SAP standard tools with own concepts.
The following blogs are a starting point to explore the topic – as any modeling discussion gets quickly customer & business model specific.

Lessons learned from many implementation projects – including recommendations on when to use configurable materials and material variants, and when to introduce material levels

Process flow and hands-on example how to use variant configuration in the steel industry

Why and when to use batch management in mill products – and different kinds of coils

Why and when to use variant configuration in mill products & mining – including examples from steel, mining, furniture and pizza

How does variant configuration work with profitability analysis?

Introducing a newer modeling concept based on SAP business rules with BRFplus (as an alternative to ABAP-code or object dependencies)

Diving deeper into BRFplus with a simple hands-on example from the metals industry

How to proper deal with dimensional products in inventory – and how to avoid rounding issues

Introducing the work in process batch for more visibility & traceability in manufacturing

The archive of past discussions also contains a wealth of information, mainly more detailed questions & answers – for example, how to model pulp manufacturing in SAP.

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