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Author's profile photo Akshay S

Output Management in Central Procurement – Manage Purchase Orders Centrally

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. 😊

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The output type determination steps decide on the conditions whether the centrally managed purchase order should have an output instance created or not. The customer can decide on the dispatch time, output type, or any other parameters of the purchase order which are exposed in the filter CDS (BRF+) view.

 

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The channels which are necessary for the output generation can be mentioned in the determination step – Channel

 

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The printer settings like the print queue and the number of copies are set in the Printer settings determination step.

 

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The email settings determination step is used to determine the sender’s email address and the email template. Email template is customizable and it defines the content of the email to be sent to the receiver.

 

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The determination step email recipient is used for entering the type code (to, cc, etc.) and the recipient’s email address.

 

The%20form%20template%20determination%20step%20is%20used%20to%20specify%20which%20form%20has%20to%20be%20used%20while%20rendering%20the%20Print%20and%20Email%20output%20items.%20The%20Email%20item%20would%20have%20the%20rendered%20form%20sent%20as%20an%20attachment.%20The%20form%20template%20is%20customizable%20for%20the%20end%20users.

The form template determination step is used to specify which form has to be used while rendering the Print and Email output items. The Email item would have the rendered form sent as an attachment. The form template is customizable for the end-users.

 

Dispatch Times

 

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.

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Selection screen of Schedule Output for Centrally Managed Purchase Orders Application

 

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.

 

Channels

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
In preparation

Send Output

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.

Error

Retry

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.

Completed

Duplicate

You can duplicate completed output items. The duplicated output item can then be sent again.

 

How it looks in the UI

 

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Manage Purchase Orders Centrally – Object Page

 

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.

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The log button displays a short description of the events that had happened during the processing of the output item. This can be used for quick debugging in case of any errors.

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).

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The output details feature in action

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.

Central Procurement Community Page – Ask a question

For more information on SAP S/4HANA for Central Procurement, check out the below links:

SAP Help Portal Product page

Central Procurement Community Page

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this blog are my own, it may also subject to change.

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      7 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Nagesh Kambanavara Srinivasappa
      Nagesh Kambanavara Srinivasappa

      Hi Akshay,

      Good article on "Output management setup from Central Procurement system"

      Is the Output Management in Central Procurement functionality is available for On-premise Central Procurement version?

       

      Thanks

       

      Nagesh S

       

       

      Author's profile photo Akshay S
      Akshay S
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Nagesh!

      It is planned to be available in on-premise systems from the 2021 OP release. You can wait for the official announcement from SAP documentation.

      Thanks,
      AKshay.

      Author's profile photo Georgios Spyropoulos
      Georgios Spyropoulos

      Hi Aksay,

      can I assume that it's working the same for Central Contracts?

       

      Best regards

      Georgios

      Author's profile photo Akshay S
      Akshay S
      Blog Post Author

      Hey Gerogios,

      Central contracts also have output management integrated, and the features like output parameter determination, dispatch times, channels would be the same as mentioned above. The difference would be coming up at the time of the creation of the output instance. For central purchase orders, the output instance would be created on the extraction of the PO from the connected system, but for central contracts, the instance would be created in the hub system once central contracts are saved.

      Thanks,
      AKshay.

      Author's profile photo Arulvel Ramanan N
      Arulvel Ramanan N

      Hi Akshay, We have a customer requirement to generate PO form in XML format with customer specific format changes and customer is in S/4HANA 1909. Is this achievable by configuration? If not, any suggestions?

      Author's profile photo frederick dimmer
      frederick dimmer

      Dear @akshay.s,

      do you have any experience / suggestion on archiving procurement related receipts. Does the BRF+ framework does enable archive link?

      Regards

      Frederick

      Author's profile photo Akshay S
      Akshay S
      Blog Post Author

      Sorry Fredrick! I do not have any experience in archiving procurement-related receipts.. And BRF+ does not enable archive link-based documents for Central Procurement.