Overcome Challenges with Unit of Measure Conversion During Transformations

  • by Gary Nolan, SAP BI Strategic Architect, Sapiex Associates LLC
  • September 27, 2010
Unit of measure (UoM) conversion functionality can add significant flexibility and enhanced analysis capabilities. Instead of having to create custom ABAP programs, you can use the new standard functionality in SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0. Here are the steps to implement UoM conversions in transformations.
Key Concept
Unit of measure (UoM) conversion refers to the act of converting quantity key figure values into other units of measure for analysis purposes. For example, orders might be taken and stored in UoMs, such as each, case, and pallet. If you try to add the values without regard for UoM, the total is meaningless. To provide a meaningful sales total, you must convert the values from the multiple source UoMs to one common UoM for analysis. The UoM conversion functionality within SAP NetWeaver BW provides this capability.

Unit of measure (UoM) conversion has always cause challenges in BI reporting. Unlike currency conversion, which applies a common multiplier to various key figure values, UoM conversion typically requires much more complex logic because each material can differ in its conversion multiplier. For example, when converting from each to case, material A has 10 eaches in a case and material B has 24 eaches in a case. The system must apply the multiplier for materials A and B based on both the individual UoM and material conversion rate for the associated material. 

In SAP BW 3.x, the typical method of UoM conversion involved writing custom ABAP user exits and formula variables to provide this functionality because there was no standard functionality in SAP BW to allow automated UoM conversion. SAP now provides this functionality standard in the SAP NetWeaver BW 7.x.

You can use UoM conversion mainly in two areas: during a transformation (i.e., moving data from one structure in SAP NetWeaver BW to another in the back end) and during query processing. In this article, I discuss the transformation scenarios.

Gary Nolan

Gary Nolan is an SAP NetWeaver BW-certified consultant and author of Efficient SAP NetWeaver BW Implementation and Upgrade Guide and Efficient SAP NetWeaver BI Implementation and Project Management. Gary specializes in gathering and evaluating requirements, configuring SAP NetWeaver BW, and providing project management, performance management, and data architecture and data modeling expertise. A former platinum consultant with SAP America, Inc., Gary has more than 20 years of SAP experience, working with SAP NetWeaver BW since version 1.2B.

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