Posted by: ahmedashfaque | April 1, 2014

What is variant configuration in SAP MM?


In industries like steel, automobile, chemicals etc. the customer demands specific product with some variations. If all the variations are defined uniquely as finished products then there will be millions of entries in the database. This may create a lot of problems. First of all defining all these products will take a lot of time. Second, the database will become too large and cumbersome to maintain. A simple solution to this problem is by using what is known as variant configuration in SAP.

In SAP MM module a product is defined as a variant product. A set of characteristics is attached with the product definition. These characteristics work like options available with that product. Now when the end user takes some order from a customer then these options can be chosen when the order is being taken. For example, in the system a Ford focus model 2014 car is defined in the system as a variant product. This product is defined with characteristics like automatic gear, fully loaded, manual gear, colors (red/green/yellow/white/black etc.). When the sales representative takes the order from a customer then these options are shown on his screen. He will choose from these options as per customer choice. Once he completes the order, the final price is also calculated depending on the choices selected. Once the order is saved then various information from this order becomes available in the system. The purchasing, manufacturing and assembling departments will get the required information and will purchase parts, manufacture and assemble accordingly. Finally the car with the specific options will be shipped to the customer.

You can see here that only one product was defined in the SAP system (Ford Focus model 2014). If all the available options were taken into consideration and each option was defined as a unique product then there could have been thousands of product definitions in the system due to combination of available options becoming a unique product.

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