Set up behind Article creation in SAP S/4HANA Fashion & Vertical Business (Part 2 of a 3 parts blog)
This blog elaborates on variant characteristics and variant class creation and assignment of it in material group (merchandise category). The key purpose of this blog is to describe the role of fashion business processes while creating and Article. I believe that the solutions available in SAP S/4HANA Fashion & Vertical Business for Article creation has a business requirement behind every step.
This is the second part of the 3-parts blog. Please find the first part from the following link.
Part 1: Set up of Organization Elements – https://blogs.sap.com/2023/05/10/set-up-behind-article-creation-in-sap-s-4hana-fashion-vertical-business-part-1-of-a-3-parts-blog/
Part 3: Article & Fashion BOM creation – https://blogs.sap.com/2023/05/12/article-fashion-bom-creation-in-sap-s-4hana-fashion-vertical-business-part-3-of-a-3-parts-blog/
An article mainly known by three parameters. These are Style number, Colors and sizes. The style number is a unique identification number like material number. The color and sizes are the different variations of a style. Please note that the definition of an article is very detailed and much more complex than this. A merchandise or a fashion product may appear simple to consumer. However, the design parameters of such products are very complex. Thus, the exact details of a merchandise or fashion product (can be found in Tech Pack) is the business requirement behind an article creation. The details are as follows.
- Color and size details and their combinations
- Basic information like Style Number, gross weight, net weight and EAN number.
- Sales information like division, distribution channel, stores related data and sales price
- Purchasing information like Distribution Center related data, planning data, warehouse data and quality management data
- Accounting information like cost price
The majority of these details are covered by the concept of ‘Material creation’ in SAP S/4HANA. The article creation also uses this method and save the data in the same table-filed in SAP. Therefore, we can say that article creation has a foundation laid by material creation. The main key parameters here are colors and sizes to define the variants.
The steps and relevant business requirement to define color and sizes for an article is stated as following. We can segregate the steps into three sections. These are class & characteristics creation, value maintenance and material group creation with class assignment.
Section 1: Variant class & characteristics creation
Business Requirement: Consumer selects a fashion merchandise (for an example garments) based on the color he/she likes it or not and the sizes that fits him/her. On the fashion brand side, in order to make a product sellable to the consumers, they need to predict the trend of fashion. This means when a fashion brand conceptualizes a product, it majorly contains the latest or breakthrough trends of styles with very appealing colors and lastly a whole range of sizes. Thus, association of style, color and size to an article is inseparable. The style can be imagined as a group of all possible combinations of different colors and sizes. The exact physical product is stock keeping unit (SKU) or a variant and the combinations of all these variants is an article number.
Solution: SAP S/4HANA Fashion & Vertical Business uses the methodology of SAP IS Retail to define the variant characteristics and variant class. The detailed steps are as follows.
Step 1: We ca define color or size characteristics through transaction CT04. The step is common variant characteristics creation.
Step 2: The values on these characteristics should be handled through a function module ‘WRF_CHECK_CHAR_VAL’. This is a unique SAP S/4HANA Fashion & Vertical specific step. It handles the multiple business requirements of different color & size codes. It described in the next section.
Step 3: The color and size characteristics should be called out together. Thus, we need to create a variant class of type ‘300’ via transaction CL02.
Section 2: Value maintenance of color & size characteristics
Business Requirement: The colors of an article often known as shade. There is global codification of colors/shades referred by merchandisers. However, a fashion brand can develop a peculiar color combination which may be out of these global standards. Nevertheless, the color is codified with a name. Furthermore, there fashion merchandise (Garments) available which are made of multiple colors. But fashion brands still go with a specific color and call it as ‘main color’. The sizes indicate different range of measurements. For example, one range could be XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL and another one could be 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42 etc. The key here is that the sequence of sizes must be maintained. It means SAP needs to understand that XXS is the first size of the range (XXS…XXL), if written in an array.
Solution: The function module stated above connects the value maintenance with the characteristics created. SAP S/4HANA Fashion & Vertical Business provides the following steps to maintain value of variant characteristics.
Step 1: We can maintain values of colors through transaction WRFCHARVAL.
Please note the first header field indicates color characteristics. Thus, SAP will always know these are color codes & names and store in SAP Tables in color specific fields only. The characteristics vale & description column indicates color codes & color name respectively.
Step 2: We can maintain values of Sizes through transaction WRFCHARVAL.
The first field ensures that these are sizes values and store it in corresponding SAP Table & fields. The second field allows user to mention new sizes or even color values during article creation even if they are not maintained in these table. However, we can stop that by selecting ‘Error if values are not maintained’ in the second field.
Please note that the sort column defines the sorting sequence of sizes. Thus, SAP will always maintain this sorting in every display of article variant grid in every transaction.
Section 3: Create material group and assign variant class
Business Requirement: The color codes vary from different types of articles. The color ranges of a lady’s top cannot be same as men’s shirt. Therefore, while creating an article, merchandisers must see the valid color ranges of that type of article. This also applies to size ranges. Furthermore, size ranges also vary from country to country. This indicates a requirement of different color ranges and size ranges along with an option to group them.
Solution: SAP S/4HANA Fashion and Vertical Business provides direct assignment of variant class (which is a group of specific color & size ranges) to material group. This means we can create different color characteristics and size characteristics and group them via multiple variant class. After that we can assign the right variant class to a material group. It will help merchandisers to get the right set of colors & sizes to create an article. The steps are as following.
Step 1: We can create a material group with basic details via transaction WG21 in SAP S/4HANA Fashion & Vertical Business.
Step 2: We can assign variant class to the newly created material group via transaction WG22.
Please note that the concept of using variant class and its assignment in material group is newly introduced in SAP S/4HANA Fashion & Vertical Business. In SAP IS Retail or SAP Fashion Management Solution of SAP ECC uses the concept of characteristics profile and assignment of it in merchandise category. However, a characteristics profile is as good as variant class and a merchandise category is as good as material group.
The effective usage of SAP S/4HANA Fashion & Vertical Business article creation set up can be ensured if we are able to connect it with proper business requirement. Fashion industry operates with enormous challenge of product development to grow the business. A proper article creation process set up will help fashion business house to leverage true benefits of SAP.
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