First I will like to tell my audience that it is my endeavor to provide insight into subjects which are a tad difficult to master in areas covering SAP MM, software project management and software testing. I have worked in these areas for last 25 years and have come across many concepts which are a bit difficult to master.
You may get information about many concepts on internet sites, books and other media, covering these areas. There are many ways in which the same concepts can be explained. But the best way to present a concept is to present it in the easiest way. This is what I try to do in my communication with you.
Release strategy in SAP is one such subject which is difficult to master. Let me explain it in an easy way.
When any organization decides to do purchase of some goods or services, it will create a purchase requisition. This purchase requisition contains information about the goods or services, delivery date required, quantity etc. This purchase requisition is then sent to the purchase department. The purchase department then can make a purchase order and send it to a vendor. The vendor then can deliver the goods or services. The vendor will also send invoice and the purchase department can forward this invoice to the finance department. The fiance department can then make payment to the vendor. This is the common purchase cycle.
Now the most important question in doing any purchase is whether the goods or service is being purchased at right price and whether cost of the purchase is authorized by concerned department line managers and finance department. This is done to check stoppage of any unnecessary purchase and at the time to ensure that the organization has the required budget to pay for the purchase.
To take care of this aspect, there is a functionality known as release procedure in SAP. This release procedure is available for all types of purchase documents including purchase requisitions, purchase orders, request for quotations, outline agreements etc.
The steps involved in creating a release strategy is that a release strategy is created. Off course, you need to create things like release codes, release indicators, release prerequisites etc. You also need to link release codes to workflow if workflow is required. Only then this release strategy will work. Also you will need to create characteristics and classes and attach them to the release strategy.
Once your release strategy is ready then whenever a purchase requisition or any other purchasing document is created and posted, the release strategy will invoke a flag for authorization. The concerned person will then have to release it. If there are more than one authorizations required then the purchase document may need to be released by the next person. This chain of authorizations continue until the last person to authorize it authorizes the document. Only then the document is completely released and is ready for further processing.
Let us see an example. The engineering department of a company has made a purchase requisition to purchase forging die blocks. The cost of the purchase amounts to $11000. Since any purchase of more than $5000 need to be authorized by the line manager, the purchase requisition can not be processed further until the line manager releases it. Once the line manager releases it, it is ready for further processing by the purchase department. At purchase department, it turns out that the purchase manager need to authorize any purchase of value exceeding $8000. Once he / she releases it then the purchase requisition is ready for further processing. Since there are no more authorizations required as per release procedure set, the purchase requisition can now be converted into a purchase order and the purchase department now can send the purchase order to concerned vendor.