Implement Configurable Material to Optimize the Procurement Process

  • by Jawad Akhtar, Head of SAP Delivery, AbacusConsulting
  • April 11, 2014
The variant configuration functionality in SAP ERP enables companies to manage a large number of a product’s variants efficiently without maintaining massive master data. However, a lesser-known and lesser-used derivative of variant configuration is configurable material, which enables a procurement person to procure different variants or variations of the same material without the need for a separate material master code for every individual variant of the material.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article you will learn how to:

  • Set up the necessary master data to create configurable material
  • Create a configuration profile
  • Run the procurement process to see how using configurable material optimizes the business process
Key Concept
Configurable material is a functionality within variant configuration that takes advantage of some of the features of variant configuration. It eliminates or reduces the need to maintain a material master for each different variant of a product. It uses classification functionality, specifically class type 300 (variants), to provide business process owners the option to select the desired attributes or characteristic values of the product.

Because of the versatility of options it offers, variant configuration is used extensively in several discrete manufacturing industries. Variant configuration can map not just the sales process in SAP ERP, but also the corresponding production process.

A configurable material enables the business process owner to define and specify the different variants of a single product. For example, consider a whiteboard marker that is an inventory item in a company. Instead of creating a new material master for each of the different colors (variants) such as black, red, green, or blue, it makes sense to create just one material master code for it and manage the various colors as variants. This approach not only saves time required in creating new master data each time a new variant is added, but also the process owner can quickly make changes or update the variants’ information.

To set up configurable material with variants, follow these steps:

  • Create a configurable material type
  • Assign configurable material
  • Create a configuration profile

Configurable Material Master

SAP ERP offers standard   material type KMAT to create configurable materials in the system. In my example, I use material type KMAT and create a new material. The material number of this configurable material is 1820. In this material, you maintain two basic data, classification, purchasing, plant, and costing views of the material. Maintaining these views ensures that the business process owner is able to run the procurement process. You maintain settings that are specific to configurable material in the Basic data 2 view and in the Classification views of the material master. Now proceed to update material 1820 with settings that enable the procurement process using configuration options. To make changes or update the settings in the material master, follow menu path Logistics > Materials Management > Material Master > Change > Immediately or use transaction code MM02 (Figure 1).


Jawad Akhtar

Jawad Akhtar earned his chemical engineering degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology. He has 17 years of professional experience, of which nine years are in SAP. He has completed eight end-to-end SAP project implementation lifecycles in the areas of PP, QM, MM, PM, and DMS in the steel, automobile, chemical, fertilizer, FMCG, and building products industries. He also has worked as an SAP integration manager and an SAP project manager. He has been proactively involved in a business development and solution architect role for seven years. He is the author of Production Planning and Control with SAP ERP, it's filled with in-depth infomation on discrete, process, and repetitive manufacturing types. His profile on LinkedIn is at You may follow Jawad on Twitter @jawadahl. Currently, he is associated with AbacusConsulting as Head of SAP Delivery.

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