Implement ATP and Stock Transfer Flows for Virtual Distribution Plants in SAP ECC 6.0

  • by Amir Ashfaq Hussain, Technology Lead, Infosys Technologies Limited
  • April 13, 2012
In business scenarios in which virtual plants are created within SAP ERP systems for administrative purposes, managing available-to-promise (ATP) checks and stock transfers presents challenges. SAP provides two options that address plant-to-plant transfer issues in virtual plants. Based on North American or European business scenarios, these lessons learned help you foresee the challenges in mapping similar business processes in your SAP system.
Key Concept
When moving stock from one plant to another, you can carry out the goods issue at one plant and a goods receipt at another. Alternatively, you can issue goods with reference to the stock transport order and set the goods receipt to be done automatically upon goods issue. The latter approach of completing the stock transfer in a single transaction is called a one-step stock transfer.

Businesses with global supply chains often need to create virtual organizational elements (i.e., virtual plants) in their SAP ERP systems to better manage demand and supply and to effectively segregate the responsibilities of production and logistics planners. Such a need might arise, for instance, when an organization is divided into two different business units that cater to wholesale and retail customers and when these business units plan independently for their customers’ demands. In this case, a warehouse is shared between these units so that the organization can manage and issue its stock from a central location.

Therefore, the movement of goods between these different plants becomes a transactional necessity in an SAP ERP system, even though physically the stock is in the same warehouse and not moved anywhere. Furthermore, in this virtual plant scenario, production happens in one of these plants; namely, the physical production or processing plant. This physical production or processing plant serves as a source that supplies the stock to the virtual distribution plants upon the completion of the production.

For an organization using this business scenario, a critical problem arises when a distribution plant receives a sales order during ongoing production in the production plant. Because the distribution plant does not contain any stock at that moment, the available-to-promise (ATP) check fails, and the sales order is not confirmed even though the production is ongoing in the production plant.

Drawing on experience from one of my projects, I detail the business problem and the solution of implementing a planning solution and stock transfer flow for a processing company in the agricultural domain. The scenario was deployed in North America and Europe and is applicable across the globe.

I address the following topics:

  • An organizational structure in which this business scenario is valid
  • How material requirements planning (MRP) in an SAP system helps to link a virtual distribution plant and the production plant to bring the demand to the production plant and the supply to the virtual distribution plant without any physical stock movement
  • Settings in the ATP where the stated problem of the failing ATP occurs (i.e., the settings as implemented in my project)
  • The two options available within an SAP system to overcome the problem of the failing ATP: using a stock transfer reservation or converting a stock transport requisition to a stock transport order

Note
To gain the most from this article, you need a basic understanding of an SAP system’s organizational structure for inventory or warehouse management and the configuration within SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) for the ATP checking rule.

Amir Ashfaq Hussain

Amir Ashfaq Hussain is a technology lead from Infosys Technologies, Limited. He has worked on SAP projects for the past seven-and-a-half years and has been involved in various rollout, maintenance, and upgrade projects. His primary areas of expertise are SAP PP, SAP PP-PI, and ABAP. He is currently providing consulting in the space of integrated planning in the process industry.

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