Improve SAP CRM Processes with Customer-Material Information Records

  • by Gil Magana, Principal Consultant, Intelligroup
  • July 20, 2010
In a business-to-business scenario, distributors or resellers typically place orders using their own material numbers — not those of the manufacturer. This feature is often overlooked on most Web sites, but it is a touch of personalization that allows customers to transact more quickly online due to their familiarity with their own products. Enabling customers to search for and place orders using their own product numbers not only increases productivity but also improves customer satisfaction. Find out how you can use customer-material information records to streamline SAP CRM processes such as order entry and product searches if you have sales-area-dependent customer part numbers.
Key Concept
Customer-material information records are cross-references of your customer’s material numbers and descriptions to your system part numbers. These records are found in SAP ERP Central Component, but you can use them in SAP CRM processes such as product search and order entry. These records enable the use of the customer-material number, which is interpreted by the SAP system and mapped to a corresponding SAP material master record.

Customer-material information records (also known as partner product numbers) are commonly used in order management scenarios in which customers can place orders using their own part numbers, as opposed to your company’s numbers. However, this functionality isn’t exclusive to order management. Agents can also use this functionality when looking for products in the system using the customer’s part number.

SAP CRM has two methods you can use to maintain customer part numbers. These methods are similar, but the area where they differ is in their use (or lack thereof) of the distribution chain, also known as the sales area. Whether your customer part numbers are sales-area dependent dictates which table (table COMM_IL_PRDCPN versus table COMM_IL_PRDSCP) is used. Table COMM_IL_PRDCPN is not sales-area dependent.  Given that customer-material information records in SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) are in fact sales-area dependent, I will focus on the integration between SAP CRM and SAP ECC in this regard. If your customer part numbers are not sales-area dependent or you do not have customer-material information records created in SAP ECC, the steps in this article are not relevant for you.

Otherwise, the following steps help you synchronize the customer-material information records between SAP ECC and SAP CRM so you can use this data in product master and order processing scenarios. Furthermore, I discuss how this solution works with alternative IDs. These IDs tie everything together. They are substitute sources of identification that can be used for the product master, thereby allowing companies flexibility in setting up multiple associated views for a single product.


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