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Author's profile photo Andreas Breitrueck

The mystery of Sales Order Stock

SAP SIGNAVIO Process Insights holds many spectacular insights, some of which can be observed in many customer systems.

Today, let me talk about the mystery of Sales Order Stock : This can be observed at almost all customers that are running make to order processes. It can be described like this

Here comes the mystery : If companies run this process often enough, they will experience that while the sales order is completed, there is still Sales Order Stock.

So what does that mean?

The company produced something for a particular customer order, but did not sell it at the end.

We have seen occurrences where the stock value is in its millions of €. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

How can you find out whether your company suffers from this mystery?

The answer is pretty straight forward: Connect to your SAP SIGNAVIO Process Insights tenant, and navigate to your Lead to Cash area, selecting the Performance Indicators.


This is a screen shot from a Demo System. If you select this Indicator, you are presented the size of the mystery.


So what are possible root causes?

Think of the following example scenario:

A customers orders 2 identical machines in one sales order, due to supply issues only one machine can be produced immediately. It is shipped and billed.

A second production order is in the system to produce the 2nd machine, but it takes time.

Now the customer contacts you, stating that they cannot wait that long and reject the 2nd machine.

The sales person accepts the cancelation, and reduces the order quantity to 1.

Now, the sales order is completed, with one production order remaining, with no more customer demand. Since production is typically decoupled from the sales, production builds the second machine, and posts it into customer stock, where it will remain ….. until you find out with SAP Process Insights.

Arguably, you can imaging many more scenarios which lead to this mystery.

So, if you want to run the analysis in your system, it takes you 3 clicks.

Make sure you exclude sales order stock that was created during the last days to cater for some delay between production end and delivery.

  • Recheck your Process Documentation
  • Discuss with the Process Owner on what needs to be changed to prevent the problem from occuring in the future
  • Setup a strategy to deal with the mystery stock ( case by case decision )
  • Celebrate your process improvement

Follow me in case you find such blogs helpful, and do not hesitate to reach out to me to discuss your thoughts.

So, how large is your Sales Order Mystery Stock ?





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      Author's profile photo Volker von Gloeden
      Volker von Gloeden

      Nicely written Andreas and yes indeed a mystery that can be observed far more often than one would expect. And the same actually applies to Purchase to Order scenarios where the goods receipt from the PO is also posted into sales order item stock and then it is only reserved for this one sales order item that no longer needs it.

      Author's profile photo Andreas Breitrueck
      Andreas Breitrueck
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks for mentioning Volker von Gloeden  - where would I find that ‚mystery’ in Process Insights?

      Author's profile photo Volker von Gloeden
      Volker von Gloeden

      The (obsolete) sales order stock is automatically covered in the same single performance indicator that you described. The sales order stock can come from Make to Order as well as Purchase to Order. The respective process flows Sales order item created (make to order) to invoice and Sales order item created (purchase to order) to invoice also indicate if there is sales order stock reserved for current sales order items.

      Author's profile photo Andreas Breitrueck
      Andreas Breitrueck
      Blog Post Author

      Get it. I would believe that this can be distinguished by selecting the right ‚Item Category‘ (PSTYV) from the sales order, assuming make to order and purchase to order would have different types. 😉🙏