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Former Member

auto material extension to all plants ...pros &cons


I would lik to understand the debate about material extension better.

Could someone help me figure out the pros/ advantages and cons/risks of extending materials automatically to all plants vresus manual extension upon request?

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4 Answers

  • Jan 31, 2017 at 08:17 PM

    if you are anyway planning to create a program for auto extension then I would recommend to do it slightly different. Instead of extending a material automatically to any plant let the user extend the material with a "highway-transaction", the effort is almost equal for a developer.

    Give the user a selection screen, nothing more than material and plant number and an execute button, more is not needed to create the material user driven. The function (probably BAPI) in the background is not different to what needs to be done for extending it to all plants automatically.

    The advantage is that you do not create too much unnecessary data. The highest cost for data is the administration, not the storage, so you can save a lot money if you only create the data that is needed. What you think you save on creation costs and effort you actually spend a multiple times if the lifecycle of a material is over. Just another example from my project last year: People explained that the data is equal in all plants since the materials got created automatically. Of course was this not true for a system running for about 15 years. There are always users who exchange data, and they do it manually, just for one plant, the plant where they currently work with. So it was finally a huge effort (x plants got merged into 1) to determine which data is the valid data and should be used for the migration.

    Honestly - think about the life cycle - the next 10 or 20 years - not just about a few months and 1 or 2 years. Nobody thought that their SAP system get replaced, nobody thought that the entire company gets reorganized from 12 business units into 3, nobody thought that parts of the company will be sold or have to merged into another system with a new aquisition.

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  • Jan 31, 2017 at 02:44 PM

    what is "auto material extension" ?

    To my knowledge this would require a program and equal customizing.

    It can make some sense e.g. if you sell the same service from several different sites.

    We had something similar in place on a legacy system. But it was only a selected group of plants out of more than 700 plants in total.

    And when I had to migrate this data last year to a new system it turned out that most of this auto created data was a waste of resources and effort, was never used and created again a lot effort during the project in data cleansing.

    If you don't use the data then you don't need it. if you may use it 3 years later then your data might be old and you can't be sure that it works right away without checking it in detail again, so you don't really save much. Many processes and organizations change over the years and master data has to be adjusted too.

    This can be quite tough if nobody really feels responsible for the auto created materials which were never touched before.

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  • Jan 31, 2017 at 02:45 PM


    The material can have different details in different plants and its extended only if the material really used in the plant. If you simply extend all materials for each plant, you are simply loading unwated master data in the system. There is no meaning in extending the master data without any valid reason and it may affect the performance of the system, for example in reports.

    I would suggest to guide the user to extend the master data whenever required - either manually or using MMCC (new master data copier) or MM17 or LSMW or through your own upload program.

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    Jan 31, 2017 at 06:55 PM

    thank you very much.

    I see I should have precised a few limitations specific to my case: the roles in charge of this extension have only been awarded single manual extension rights, basically MM01 on each material for each plant. Here we are considering the idea of auto extension to all plants as we need to set preventive maintenance based on tasks planned for said materials.

    The maintenance post extension surely is an issue but having materials immediately available (as opposed to errors raised for missing extensions) whenever their task is up is more critical that to have material xxx extended to plant 0001 without ever being used. This is mainly due to the level of access and resources allocated to material master maintenance.

    Can anyone see any strong argument against or even for auto extension, in light of these details? I can only think of the risks related to orderring a material on the wrong plant, which surely can be avoided by only creating source list for materials active in the plant, or am i wrong?

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