A bit of an unusual MKS today as I would like to explain recent changes around the Supply Chain Execution Package Builder component (SCM-BAS-PAK-PB). The following is relevant for SAP Transportation Management 9.4 and 9.5 and SAP Extended Warehouse Management 9.5. In those 3 application releases the SCE PB version coming from the SCM Basis 7.14 is integrated. This PB version undergoes a significant re-factoring. Of course all of this is done carefully to minimize negative side effects, but nevertheless there can be unexpected side effects especially for projects having modified the PB. There are 2 (good) reasons for the changes: First of all we wanted to improve the so far not released feature of creating a package hierarchy (product -> carton -> pallet). This was structurally possible already, but did not consolidate very well with different carton types, or scenarios including cartonized and not cartonized products ending up on the same pallet. As this was requested by multiple project during ramp-up, it was decided to improve this. Second reason is that this refactoring enables the next evolution step of the PB – detailed package building. This will come with the next TM release, so I can’t yet talk much about it. But detailed means having exact positions for products to be put onto a mixed pallet.
Due to the architecture of SAP’s software layers for SAP applications like SAP TM and SAP EWM, the core PB has always been developed in maintenance mode being delivered via notes. So this is nothing new. But this time the changes are so significant, that I would like to give as much information to running projects as possible as the number of live customers for the component has grown a lot.
What does not change?
- Of course all solved scenarios should stay unchanged including all of the provided features. The PB should package products like before respecting all definitions and constraints. Currently the PB ensures this functional stability by verifying more than 300 different scenarios and feature automatically using unit tests. This has grown even more with the improvements and developments ongoing.
- All enhancement spot methods (/SCMB/IF_EX_PACKAGE_BUILDER) are still in place and supported. They might have moved in the internal sequence of processing, but from a functional point of view they should provide exactly the options like before.
What changes? What is critical?
Basically all internal data structures of main class /SCMB/CL_PB. A lot of method names and method sequences. Many definitions in /SCMB/IF_PB. So customer projects having modified based on this will face efforts to adjust. In general the PB was developed to provides standard enhancement spot methods wherever required and I did so far not encounter reasons to modify. But as always: not all scenarios and solutions can be foreseen.
And here is for me the most critical point: Almost any – even in case minor – correction of the SCE PB will from now on require all of the here described notes as pre-requisite. So either you have a bulletproof scenario and are sure you never ever need any correction for the PB – you are safe and can ignore the PB changes until an application release upgrade. Or you are in the boat.
How do the changes / improvements come to customers?
The changes are available as standard notes. Those notes are really huge, but we tried to minimize the number of manual steps required. In addition, we setup a project to internally test the note implementation trying to improve the notes as much as possible. The notes also include adjustments of DDIC elements delivered via UDO reports.
For some of the notes it is already confirmed by front-runner customers that they did implement the notes successfully.
- 2620564 – Package hierarchy consolidation improvements: This note lays the foundation of the re-factoring, but also improves the package hierarchy.
- 2580233 – Product Orientation Profile
- 2625369 – Enhancements of SCM product master data
- 2642747 – New Package Builder Constraints
- 2668725 – Package Building Profile Adjustments
- 2622572 – Detailed Package Building using Package Building Optimizer
All of the changes will be included in Support Package 11 of SCMB 7.14 (Release to Customer 10.10.2018).
What needs to be done for running projects?
Here is the list of recommendations from my point of view:
- Do NOT start a project where the PB is relevant based on an outdated PB version! Either upgrade to SCMB 7.14 SP11 or invest the effort to implement the notes. You do NOT want to invest time into scenario setup, analysis, and enhancement code not on the go-to PB version.
- For live customers or projects short before go-live:
- Only ignore the PB changes if you expect no need for corrections (maybe you anyway plan to upgrade next year)
- If in any way possible upgrade to SCMB SP 11 as soon as available. Typically SP upgrades are a big deal, but in the SCMB really, really only few changes occur. I can see it in the system.
- If no SP upgrade is possible – invest the effort to implement the notes NOW even if you currently need no correction. Now you now, now you are aware of how critical it is. If you don’t do it now, a later correction will drag in the complexity more or less hidden.
- Retest scenarios using the PB as good as possible.
- In case you need to implement the notes: Assign your best skilled expert to this task – it is not a usual straight forward note implementation! As soon as you encounter an issue using SNote – stop and report the issue! Don’t trial and error! Don’t try to fix anything manually!
Where do I report issues?
Application component: SCM-BAS-PAK-PB
How is S4 HANA affected?
Not as much as the application releases. The changes are included in S4_1809, so only affect projects upgrading from 1709 to 1809.
In the meanwhile, the following further notes are available improving the ‘new’ Package Builder:
2713231, 2712432, 2701453, 2696053, 2695516, 2693676, 2680497
It is highly recommended to also implement those notes.