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Author's profile photo Arvind KULKARNI

Implementing Permit to Work in SAP S/4HANA – Part 2

Permit to Work process is a critical and mandatory process for asset intensive industry such as Oil and Gas, Utilities, Chemicals etc. The process ensures safety of maintenance workers while performing tasks in hazardous environment.

In the SAP S/4HANA world, this topic falls under Asset Management – Environment Health and Safety.

This blog post guides the SAP S/4HANA project team to implement Permit to Work processes using SAP work clearance management (WCM) module. Please note that this is not a detailed configuration guide nor a complete product information document. The focus of the blog post is to take you through a typical business process in oil and gas sector and understand the key configuration aspects to model the business process in SAP and lastly have a brief look at the user experience of WCM in SAP S/4HANA version 1809. SAP work clearance management will be referred to as SAP WCM in this blog post.

This blog post series is split into following parts:

  • Typical business process for permit to work (covered in part 1)
  • Key WCM Configuration to model the business process in SAP S/4HANA 1909 (covered in this blog post)
  • WCM User experience with SAP S/4HANA 1909 and beyond (to be covered in the third part)


Key WCM Configuration to model the business process in SAP S/4HANA 1909

Here’s a recap of the business process we want to configure:

There is a malfunction in a pump in a refinery plant. To perform the maintenance activity (which includes welding) on a pump, a notification and order is created by maintenance department. Since the work is in an operational refinery complex, the maintenance team requires a work permit – which is a mandatory document to be issued before starting the work on pump. As per safety procedures, the pump has to be electrically isolated. Before job execution, safety controls should be implemented to ensure adherence to safety policies and standards.


This is what we need from a business point of view:


The above architecture is what we need to meet the business requirement for permit to work. Since maintenance activity involves welding job – Hot work permit will be required. Also, Isolations are required hence the need for Isolation Certificate.

System Architecture: This is how the system will be configured to meet the above setup:



The above architecture shows the technical setup for WCM to meet the business requirement.

Some important configuration rules to setup the above architecture:

  • Use WCM model “Enhanced model:

    In this IMG activity, you choose the model you want to use for your WCM. You can choose one model for each maintenance planning plant.

  • Use option ” working with work permit”: Work permit management assumes the enhanced model
  • In WCM, Permits are technically named “Work Clearance Application” and Certificates are named “Work Clearance Document”. Define the descriptions for permit and certificates to meet the business meaning
  • Set up WCM “Usages” to segregate types of permit and types of certificate:

Setup Work permit types:

Setup Certificate types



The above setup enables the configuration required to meet the process requirement. Apart from the above configuration, here are some other important concepts in configuration:


Since this maintenance activity involves welding with isolation –  let’s try to setup a multi level approval (meaning multiple users need to approve) for permit due to high risk involved in welding. Also, need to ensure that the permit cannot be activated unless isolations are executed. The below picture shows what we want to achieve:



The system configuration for the above requirement involves the following setup:

Cross document approval hierarchy: To enable the control between Isolation certificate and Work Permit, we will use this configuration. Essentially, we are trying to create a dependency between the approval in isolation certificate (meaning the isolation has been completed – approval step: “CONF1”) and the final issue in work permit – approval step “ACTIVATED”. This is how the setup looks in WCM configuration:


It is also possible to automate the approval steps – for example in this scenario it makes sense to automatically issue the approval step “CONF1” in isolation certificate based on the system status “TAGGED” for the isolation item. This is how the setup looks:

IN this example, approval step: “CONF1″ in Isolation Certificate will be automatically set based on system status ” TAGGED”


To conclude, this is second part of the blog post series on Implementing Permit to Work with SAP WCM in SAP S/4HANA. The above configuration gives the permit to-work SAP S/4HANA project team members insights into technical settings related to the complex business process of welding activity.

The third part of this blog post series will focus on the WCM User experience with SAP S/4HANA 1909


Source of images: all pictures and images created by the author. System screen shots taken from SAP demo landscape. 

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      Author's profile photo James RABEMANANTSOA

      Excellente explanation for the approval automation, the upward direction is fully covered by the standard. Thanks!

      Also for the reverse direction, when permits are active while a change on the associated isolation in place is required, for e.g. add of missing isolation points, a control to ensure that issued permits are all suspended prior to isolation change is mandatory.

      Author's profile photo Arvind KULKARNI
      Arvind KULKARNI
      Blog Post Author

      Hi James,

      would be interested to understand how to suspend issued permits - is it through enhancements? feel free to email me as well

      Author's profile photo James RABEMANANTSOA

      Hi Arvind

      Suspension consists of handing back the issued permits from the receiving authority to the issuing authority (for example: the job is for several days and at the end of the day shift, the permit is given back because the workers leave the work place). During the previous step, the issue of permits, you did the action “Handout Work Permit” in the op.WCA that activated the system status WPHO (Work Permit Handed Out). Then, to suspend the Permit, you need to do the action “Return Work Permit” which will deactivate the system status WPHO.

      But for filtering purpose, I used to add an user status WPRT Work Permit Returned or WPSP Work Permit Suspended and configure it to be automatically set when doing the business function “Return Work Permit”.

      P.S: “Handout Work Permit” and “Return Work Permit” are available by right click in the SAPGUI screen.

      In addition, if you have more steps, such as a mandatory entry of reason for suspension, then you need to implement enhancements.

      Author's profile photo Ramakrishna Potluri
      Ramakrishna Potluri

      Dear Arvind,

      Excellently explained the WCM in 2 parts ! Very useful !

      Author's profile photo Mohit Kumar
      Mohit Kumar

      When would you publish the 3rd Part ?

      Author's profile photo Arvind KULKARNI
      Arvind KULKARNI
      Blog Post Author

      very soon Mohit. will keep you updated

      Author's profile photo Muhammad Haris Khan
      Muhammad Haris Khan

      Hi Arvind,

      The articles are very informative and helpful, can you please guide me how to setup the view profile with respect to WCM.

      I explored the configuration nodes but did not find the view profile configuration nodes in 1909.

      Similarly the Fiori apps you have attached in the part 3 are different from the standard Fiori apps.

      Please suggest. Thanks.

      Author's profile photo Jawwad Ahmed Khan
      Jawwad Ahmed Khan

      Dear Arvind,

      When we are assigning the Work Application Usage Type by selecting the usage type as an operational, to assign the view profile it is give the below error. Please suggest.

      We have activated Following Business Functions:




      Dedicated usage types must be specified consistently (plant xxxx) 

      Message no. I4431

      Author's profile photo Muhammad Sharfuddin
      Muhammad Sharfuddin

      It seems this is WPM not WCM

      Could you let me know more what are pre requisites for activating WPM