Serializing and Unserializing Processes in SAP ERP

  • by Srivathsan Narayanan, Principal Consultant, Dreamweavers LLC
  • May 3, 2010
In this excerpt from Srivathsan Narayanan’s book, Optimizing Reverse Logistics in SAP ERP, learn how to process transactions by deactivating serialization requirements in SAP ERP when a serial number isn’t provided.
Key Concept

Serialization is the process of enabling serial number tracking for materials. With serial numbers, materials can be tracked across all business processes, capturing and recording important information regarding quality, warranty, and other information in the system. In SAP ERP, serial number management is enabled in the configuration, where you can define the serial number management processes and how the serial numbers will be used across the network.

Even though serialization mostly requires parts to be serialized through the whole network, there are certain occasions where a serial number isn’t provided when transactions or goods movement are performed.

For example, when the company’s stock is stored in a customer location and the data regarding transactions are provided after the fact using an interface from the customer or in the form of a file, the serial number isn’t provided at the time of performing the transaction.

Another example in which serial numbers aren’t provided for serialized parts is when a service engineer is responsible for performing a service on the equipment using the company’s stock stored at the customer site. He would remove the stock and record the removal, but not the serial number. The customer reports the serial number later in the form of an interface or in a file.

To perform this transaction without providing a serial number (even though the material number has a serial number profile attached to it), the best solution is to deactivate serialization requirements at the movement type level. You can define this in plant maintenance (PM) by following menu path Plant Maintenance and Customer Service > Technical Objects > Serial Number Management > Define Serialization Attributes for Movement Types.

In this configuration, there are two options:

  • Define flow type groups
  • Assign the movement type group to the movement type

 For the define flow type groups, you’ll configure movement type groups for a serial number profile and define the serialization use and equipment master creation requirement with serial numbers.

Even though the same field is defined at the serial number profile configuration, the movement type group setting takes precedence over the serial number profile setting for serial number use. Figure 1 shows the definition of the flow type groups.

Srivathsan Narayanan

Srivathsan Narayanan is a principal consultant with the SAP group in Dreamweavers LLC, specializing in logistics execution and RFID integration and is based in San Jose, CA. With more than 10 years of experience in information systems, he has successfully implemented and managed several projects in the SAP MM, SD, and WM modules. He holds a BS degree in engineering and is the author of the SAP PRESS book Optimizing Reverse Logistics in SAP ERP (

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