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Sep 22, 2019 at 09:22 AM

How to manage unique item variants with many possible combinations ?



I'm working with SAP business one 9.3 patch level 5. Our company mainly resells industrial products. Those are highly configurable and their part numbers are build around their configurations.

I'll take a car as an example. It has two configurations : the color (2 options) and the engine (2 options).

  • The colors are : B : Blue or R : Red
  • The engines are L : 150 bhp and H : 220 bhp

The item codes for that cat would be:

  • CAR-B-L
  • CAR-B-H
  • CAR-R-L
  • CAR-R-H

Now here is our problem, our products can have up to 10 variants, each with up to 8 options. That's over a billion item codes for one product. Moreover, different options have different prices which all have to be maintained. Our suppliers use custom built ERPs that don't store an item table like OITM so they couldn't help much.

We are currently handling this issue by having a few generic part numbers like CAR-Premium and CAR-Economy in our sales orders, then renaming the item description in the purchase order to the right code. Apart from being tedious to do, we are not able to stock any of those items as their differences are unknown to SAP.

So far, we have been only able to set the serial numbers in the sales order when receiving the items from our suppliers to tell them apart.

We've been searching a solution for this issue for a while now (included or add-ons) and even considered developing a software threw DIAPI to generate and manage the massive amount of item codes (prices / translations / etc...). Although possible, this last solution seems to be tackling the problem the wrong way, we are not even shure if our database will be able to handle billions of items. We've also heard that an item reservation feature was being developed by SAP and should be released in PL12 or 13 though we've seen no official announcements for it. It could potentially help in stocking those items.

Thank you for your help.