Handle Vendor Returns Smoothly with Message Determination

  • by Gaetano Altavilla, Senior SAP Practice Manager
  • January 14, 2010
Learn about the main customizing settings to set in the materials management (MM) module to activate message determination functionalities.
Key Concept
Output is a form of media from a business to one of its business partners. The possible media forms are printouts, faxes, telexes, emails, and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). The output can be sent to any of the partners defined in a business document or to an internal organization. Outputs are usually in the form of order confirmations, delivery notes, good receipts, invoices, and shipping notifications. The message determination is the prerequisite to generate a message (output) in an SAP system. The message determination is part of the Cross-Application Component (CA-Message Control). The generation of a message is based on the message determination.

A company I once helped wanted to set up a process to handle return deliveries to vendors due to quality reasons. It wanted to be able to send a message to its buyer, who is usually the person who created the purchase order, if an item needed to be returned. An email would go to that buyer after the goods receipt was posted in blocked status in the SAP system, to prepare for a return delivery. The buyer then would check the contractual terms and conditions to see if an extra charge (perhaps due to damages to the company’s production caused by the delay, reimbursement because payment was already made for the item, or reimbursement for the cost of returning the item) to the vendor was included in the agreement.

My client could have used custom tools or systems to generate a message (output) in its SAP system, but I came up with a better idea — use of message determination. It did not require the company to develop custom programs or external systems, such as external interfaces to and from the SAP system. I provided solutions that I had implemented before in production environments for message determination in the case of a vendor’s return delivery in SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) 6.0. The processes also apply to previous versions. The guidelines to customize the Message Control functionalities in materials management (MM) also apply to other SAP modules. In my example, the automatic output type creation is an internal email message to the buyer to follow up on the return delivery

Gaetano Altavilla

Dr. Gaetano Altavilla is a senior SAP practice manager. His focus is on pre-sales, delivery of SAP application solutions for large international corporations, and SAP knowledge management in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

In his 18 years of SAP application experience working for many multinational companies, such as Procter & Gamble and Hewlett-Packard, he has covered a wide range of ERP logistic areas, focusing on the MM, WM, SD, LES, PP, PP-PI, PLM (QM, PM, PS) modules, as welll as CRM (TFM), SRM (EBP), SCM (SAP APO), and MES (ME) components.

Dr. Altavilla holds a degree with first-class honors in mathematics from the University of Naples and is certified in many SAP modules: SAP Logistics Bootcamp, SAP MM, SD, LE (SHP/WM/LE), PP, PLM (PM, QM, PS), SRM, CRM, SCM (APO), SCM (TM), FI, CO, and Solution Manager. He also has experience in ABAP/4 and application link enabling (ALE) and IDocs. He has participated in numerous industry conferences, such as the SAP Skills Conference in Walldorf at SAP SE.

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