Posted by: ahmedashfaque | April 17, 2014

Batch management in SAP MM


Batch concept is very important for material management. In discrete industries, where each material during entire production cycle is unique, each work in process material can be easily identified and accounting of the material is done without any problem. For example, if a manufacturing unit is making nut and bolts, each nut and bolt can be counted and each of them can have a unique material specification like bolt – 2 inch length – 0.5 mm diameter.

Contrary to discrete industries, in process industries; any material is in form of bulk quantity. for example, coal is stored and handled in form of heaps or piles. You can not order or handle 4 pieces of coal unlike when you can order or handle 4 pieces of bolts. Coal will always be handled in terms of kilograms or tonnes etc.

In all process industries like chemical, steel, pharmaceutical, food, petroleum etc. the unit of measure of any material is never in terms of number of pieces. At the same time, during production the material is processed in some fixed bulk quantity. For example, when a medicine is produced, then in the production process, some input material is processed in some quantity and some work in process material ia produced. This work in process material is further processed at some other processing step and another material comes out of this production step.

Since each of the materials during production processing can not be identified as individual unique pieces, we need to find out a solution so that materials can be tracked as well as production rate can be measured. To take care of tracking of the materials in the production process, we use the concept of batches. The entire bulk quantity of any material during one production process step is treated as one batch. Since all of this material has gone in the production process together, the quality of the material is the same. No matter from where you take a sample from the pile of the material from the same batch, the quality will be the same.

In SAP, batches are given a unique identity number (batch number) so that all the material of the same batch can be tracked at any time. For example, if some material is sold and later the customer makes a complaint about quality then the quality personnel at the manufacturing plant can track the entire history of the manufacturing process from the batch number and find out from production log as to why the quality has gone wrong. It is specially very important in pharmaceutical. food. beverage industries.

In my next post I will talk about the configuration steps of batch management in SAP.

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