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Author's profile photo Marcus Zahn

Monday Knowledge Snippet (MKS) – 108 S/4HANA 2020 Package Building: Alternative Package Type Assignment

With the last blog (MKS107 Package Type Assignment based on Package Content) I explained an enhancement of the package type assignment (adjust the to be used package material based on WHAT is in the carton). Today’s topic falls into the same category as I want to show the new feature to use alternative package types. The background of this is that especially for scenarios including cartons, the requirement exists to use different package materials depending on HOW MUCH is in the carton.

Pallets with cartonized products


Before I start: The new feature is no optimized selection of target package materials for a set of to be packaged items (comparable with TM Load Consolidation to optimize the usage of resources).

The logic now available is the following: The PB packages a single or multiple items following the already existing packaging modes respecting the target package type assignments. When this is done, it can optionally check for an alternative (smaller) package material following a specified sequence.

Basic idea behind this was that the PB fills as many large cartons as possible (until it reaches the defined volume / weight limit). For the very last carton for such an item group it checks then if the content can be placed into a smaller carton. I used to call this ‘downsizing’.

So here is how it works: First of all, I have 2 products:


Those are assigned to a reference material (under tab ‘WM Packaging’ field ‘Reference Product for Package Building’):

In addition, I have 3 closed package materials (tab ‘Sales: General/Plant’ indicator ‘Closed’). The limits for the packaging are defined on tab ‘WM Packaging’:

For the products, I defined the largest carton as target package material based on the reference material:

In addition, the defined under ‘Alternative Package Materials’:

As you can see, the key for those definitions is very similar to the package type assignment and can be location, business partner, equipment, and product specific. It is possible to define the sequence number, the minimum threshold value + unit of measure and relevant quantity. For the relevant quantity the options ‘Absolute Volume’, ‘Absolute Weight’, and ‘Base Unit of Measure’ are available.

What happens now is that I expect my products to be packaged into ZMA_CARTON_LARGE. Then the PB enters the sequence of the alternative package materials and checks if the threshold is fulfilled. If that is the case, the package is taken over as final result package (if can of course be packaged further, for example put onto a pallet). If not, the PB checks the next level package material, in my example ZMA_CARTON_MEDIUM. And so on, until either the threshold is fulfilled or no further package material is defined.

So here are a few PB runs using report /SCMB/TEST_PB:

1. Single product with single piece: no threshold fulfilled until smallest carton reached

2. Single Product fulfilling threshold of medium carton

3. Single Product fulfilling threshold of large carton

4. Both products filling medium carton

5. Both products filling large carton

So now the PB offers the following options to adjust the target package material:

  1. Differentiate between full quantity (stock carton) and consolidation package material (pick carton)
  2. Adjust target package material based on what type of product(s) is in the carton
  3. Adjust target package material based on how much is in the carton

I explained the feature focusing on a product -> carton scenario (closed package material) as this is probably the most common scenario where this would be used, but in general it works on any level and type of package material.

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      Author's profile photo Marcus Zahn
      Marcus Zahn
      Blog Post Author

      Here is the link to the LinkedIn discussion:

      Author's profile photo Sudhir Gulati
      Sudhir Gulati

      Hi Marcus Zahn, 

      As always thank you for your detailed MKS's.

      1. I tried running the above set up and I observed that system adopts CARTON_SMALL for all qts until threshold for CARTON_LARGE is reached. (From 1 EA of PRODUCT A to 59 Qty of PRODUCT A, system proposes CARTON_SMALL, at 60 EA, CARTON_LARGE is determined. In effect, CARTON_MEDIUM is not getting determined at all. Can you think of potential issues?
      2. In further investigation, I find system suggests that it has adopted the maximum height of 400,00000 from packaging material CARTON_LARGE for all Qts of PRODUCT A. Is that intended design of this functionality? I wonder if using the max. height from CARTON_LARGE increases the volume that can be fit CARTON_SMALL and influences the results.
      3. The dimensions used in CARTON(All 3 Packaging material master data) were not given. I have used the same max. dimensions given in screenshots as the dimensions at the Addition data> UOM Master data level.