Output management is one of the inevitable features of Procurement. In a nutshell, output management involves managing and processing output functions such as printing, sending e-mails, or maintaining form templates for any purchasing document. In the central procurement scenario, providing the output management capability to the centralized hub user would make the process more streamlined, since it would be a one-stop for determining the forms and the rules for output generation for multiple connected systems. This blog would discuss in detail how output management has been enabled and how it can be used in the “Manage Purchase Orders Centrally” application.
SAP S/4HANA Output Management
Output management for centrally managed purchase orders has been implemented by the SAP S/4HANA output management (based on BRF+ technology). This approach enables extensibility, multi-tenancy, and easy configuration. Unlike the condition-based output management (NAST-based output), SAP S/4HANA output management is based on a configuration model, where all the rules necessary for creating an output instance, can be configured in the Output Parameter Determination application, which is a user interface provided by SAP. The supported channels for output generation are Print, Email, and EDI. Let’s get in detail regarding the integration of SAP S/4HANA output management to the Manage Purchase Orders Centrally application.
Manage Purchase Orders Centrally
In the application “Manage Purchase Order Centrally” application, we have enabled output management, so that there can be a centralized location for the output generation. The motivation behind integration is that the purchase orders in multiple connected systems, which are relevant for the output processing in the hub system can be managed centrally. For the purchase orders which are automatically approved during extraction (or if they are in the active status), output instances would be created during extraction itself. On the contrary, if a purchase order goes for approval in the hub system after extraction, the output instances would be created only after the approval is completed for the document (if there is a multi-level approval, the output instance would be created only after all the approval is complete).
Output Parameter Determination
When a document is relevant for output, the output parameters (i.e. output channels, form templates, email recipient, etc.) are automatically determined in the background. This is done by the output parameter determination application. The output parameter determination application can be used to define default output settings for centrally managed purchase orders. The benefits of using output parameter determination in SAP S/4HANA output control are:
- You can send multiple messages to multiple recipients using multiple channels simultaneously
- You can configure output parameter determination to suit your needs in Customizing under Cross-Application Components -> Output Control -> Define Business Rules for Output Determination. In the cloud, we can use the application “Output Parameter Determination”
- You can base each determination step on application-specific fields that can be extended
- Extensibility via CDS is supported
The determination steps for the corresponding rule type define the conditions relevant for generating output items. Let’s have a look at some of the determination steps provided by the Output Parameter Determination application to have a better understanding. 😊
There are two possible dispatch times for the output instance dispatch to the respective recipients, i.e. immediate and scheduled. If an instance is configured for immediate dispatch, then immediately after the output instance is created, and if there is no error (if the output instance is in to be output status), then the framework would automatically trigger the output to the recipients/print queue. Scheduled instances on the other hand would not be triggered automatically by the framework after the creation. Rather, the hub user would have to manually trigger the output for external communication. This can be done with the help of the “Schedule Output for Centrally Managed Purchase Orders Application”. Since this is a standard job template-based application, so it can be manually triggered or scheduled to run in intervals.
This would pick up the output instances in the to be output status, for the channel, application object type, and output type, and trigger the external communication. Additional filter options are enabled for limiting the purchase order(s) the end-user wants to trigger output for.
For the Manage Purchase Orders Centrally application, we have enabled three channels for output management, Print, Email, and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). The Print channel is used to print the document (pdf) to the corresponding print queue. We can set the number of copies also in the Output Parameter Determination application (OPD). The Email channel is used to trigger an email (along with the generated print form) to the required recipient. The content of the email will be fetched by the email template assigned to the object. The sender address, receiver address, email template, etc. can be configured in the OPD. EDI on the other hand is used to trigger XML data to the desired recipient. All the channels can be configured for any dispatch time.
Output Item Status
After an instance is created and processed for a purchase order output item, a status is assigned to it. Status is a meaningful code that represents which state the output item is at, and what all actions it is allowed to perform. Below are the statues available for the output items and the corresponding actions possible for them.
|Status of Output Item||Possible Actions|
The output item is sent via the specified channel.
To be output
No actions possible
Your output item has been marked for output and is processed according to the defined dispatch time.
You can retry the output for an erroneous output item.
Set to Completed
You can also set an erroneous output item to complete. This finalizes the item and prevents any further processing.
You can duplicate completed output items. The duplicated output item can then be sent again.
How it looks in the UI
In the object page of the Manage Purchase Orders Centrally application, a new facet has been added to display the output management relevant data for the purchase order. There are four action buttons available, i.e. Send output, Duplicate, Retry and Set to Completed. The actions will be enabled based on the status of the output instance (as mentioned above). The item id column will show the instance number of the output. The logs button can be used to display the details of the output instance, like the channel, user data, output id, and output type. This can also be used for troubleshooting; in case the output instance goes into an error state.
In the column list, we can see that the status of the output instance, the dispatch time, output type, channel, etc. are also visible. There is also an option to display the document in case the channel is email or print, which would display the rendered document. A preview is only possible if the output format is PDF. You can set PDF as the output format in the print queue for saved documents in the Print channel. For channel Email, a preview is always possible. For channel EDI, a preview is never possible. The output details button shows the details of the output instance (e.g. in the Print channel, it would show the print queue and the number of copies, and in an email output item, it would show the sender address, receiver address, and the email code).
This is how output management has been integrated for Manage Purchase Orders Centrally. Hope this article was informative to you. 😊 If I have missed covering anything which you were looking for, kindly let me know in the comments. Also, feel free to use the forum in case you want to post any questions.
For more information on SAP S/4HANA for Central Procurement, check out the below links:
Disclaimer: All views expressed in this blog are my own, it may also subject to change.