Address Change of Referenced Sales Document Affects Original Document
In SAP S/4HANA, it is common for end user to create a sales document with reference from preceding document (e.g., creation of sales quotation with reference from inquiry, and creation of sales order with reference from quotation), so that great efforts can be saved to avoiding the input of same data from the reference document. Also, there is no doubt that this will lower the possibility to input wrong data than copy with reference manually. In this way, data from original document can be accurately copied to subsequent document. Address information of partner function is one kind of the data to be referred.
However, in some cases, end user may hope to change the address details of certain partner function for the specific document. Given that, user is allowed to change the address details of each partner function when creating or changing a sales document, then the Doc Specific Address flag will be marked.
This blog is to clarify the standard design that one attempts to change address of referenced document with document specific address flag, then the address of original document will be affected. The following figure takes creation of sales order with reference from quotation as an example to illustrate the steps to reproduce this scenario.
Step 1: Create a quotation
In this step, once end user inputs customer as sold-to party, the addresses of partner functions will be determined according to the configuration information from master data of this customer.
Step 2: Change the address of ship-to party manually in header or item
User wants to change the address name of ship-to party for this specific quotation. Doc. Specific Address flag is marked to indicate this address has been changed.
Step 3: Create a sales order with reference from quotation
User is able to create a sales order with reference from the preceding quotation. The address information is copied from quotation.
Step 4: Change the address of ship-to party in order
User wants to change the address name of ship-to party for this specific order.
After the steps above, when user comes back to check the address of ship-to party in the quotation, it is found that it has been changed to that maintained in order.
This standard design is to keep the manual addresses within a document chain the same, which is available in S4/HANA Cloud and OP.
In case that you want to differentiate manual addresses between these two kinds of documents, you can re-enter the partner ID, then change the address information, so address in preceding document will not be affected.
One point added is if there is no step 2 above, that means no manual address in preceding document, address change in referenced document will also not trigger the affection.
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It's not some new S/4HANA thing, that's how it worked all along in ECC. There is quite an old SAP Note that explains why it happens, something to do with the address ID in VBPA. Sorry, I'm too lazy to search, but it exists. Had to dig it up many years ago for the business users when they ran into this issue. They weren't super happy about this and no one found this explanation or design logical.
It's rather sad that SAP just continues with the same design without stopping to think how to make it better. Maybe at least show a message like "hey, buddy, what you're about to change is going to affect X and Y".
Surely you must have heard that "UX is like a joke: if you have to explain it, it's not good". Seems exactly the case here. If you have to explain the design...
Thanks for your feedback. It is true that this behavior has been existed for a long time, you could find it here 1457857 - How the Address Chain works in the SD module. - SAP ONE Support Launchpad.
This blog is to cover this scenario in S4/HANA which is not included in the past. Detailed explanations are provided here for user to understand it better.
At the same time, your comment really makes sense and we will take you suggestion into account for further discussion with our PM. We are glad to hear the voice of customer about this scenario. What is the main impacts on customer business process, like tax, print or something else? Is same feedback also from many other customers or just a small group?
It's been more than 5 years ago but, from what I remember, the sales reps frequently created documents with reference to another document. The customers would sometimes call and ask to change a ship-to address for a specific order/delivery, as an exception.(For background, the customers could be large utility companies dealing with natural disaster recovery, so materials would need to be shipped to a warehouse close to the disaster area vs their usual distribution center.)
The sales reps would just go and change the address in the document in question without knowing that it would update the original document where it was created from.
Later, when they wanted to print/email some documents from the previous document, it'd have an incorrect address. Also, the new documents created with reference, would have the "exception" address too.
Regarding "many other customers or just a small group"... sigh...What is the threshold beyond which SAP will start to care? Y'all created an SAP note and now a blog to explain this. I venture to guess this wasn't just a "small group" asking about it.
Thanks for sharing Steven.
However I think it would be beneficial to provide a "switch", maybe in partner configuration that allows the customer to control how the address should behave. Some customers might not want the update to be propagated back as described. Why not take the opportunity to improve the behavior instead of just copying existing/old functionality if the user experience can be improved.
User exit EXIT_SAPLV09A_001 is for deciding whether a manual address used in other documents (and therefore referenced) should remain referenced or created again when it is changed.