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Former Member

Alternative Items in BOM


Is there an option in SAP, wherein when there is no stock of one component, the system automatically selects an alternative material that is available?

I know that we have the concept of alternative items in BOMs and also the discontinuation function in the material master, but these are not what my client requires. I have noticed that the alternative function works only with usage probability and I if give the usage probability of both components as 100, then it selects the complete quantity of both the materials. My requirement is that if there is not enough stock of item A then it should select the balance quantity from item B.

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Edited by: Man Man on Oct 17, 2008 6:26 AM

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3 Answers

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    Former Member
    Oct 17, 2008 at 04:40 AM


    Pls find the following procedure for maintaining Alternate Item in BOM :

    Maintaining Alternative Items


    Before you maintain alternative items, decide the following points for MRP and withdrawal postings:

    Do you want to assign the same item number to all alternative items in an alternative item group?

    Which character string do you want to use to group alternative items together in an alternative item group?

    What is the usage probability for the individual alternative items in the assembly?

    What are the priorities of items in an alternative item group?

    Which strategy do you want to use for withdrawal postings?


    To maintain alternative item data:

    1.Select the tab page Material in the item overview.

    You will find it easier to use the same item number for all the items in an alternative group. Change the item numbers if necessary.

    2.Select the items that you want to group together in an alternative item group.

    3.Click Details

    The item detail screen of the first item selected appears.

    4.On the Basic data tab page, enter the alternative item group in the group frame General Data and click .

    You see the Alternative item data dialog box, in which you enter the following data:

    u2013 Priority

    u2013 Strategy

    Enter the same strategy for all alternative items in an alternative item group.

    u2013 Usage Probability

    If you enter a usage probability, then the alternative item serves as information. In this case, the system displays an appropriate warning message.

    5.Confirm your entries.

    The system goes back to the item detail screen. The button is displayed alongside the AltItemGrp field. By clicking on this button you can later change the data.

    6.By clicking on next, the next alternative item appears. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each alternative item.

    HOpe this helps.



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    • Former Member Former Member

      Oh, Man

      Your client's requirement smells like APO 😊

      Using plain SAP I am sure that this is not possible.

      I have faced similar problem like you, and I have decided to use alternative BOMs. This, of course, requires additional pre-planning (choosing alternative BOM in case some component in the original one is missing), but ... with no APO - that is the solution 😊

      Hope it'll help 😊

  • Dec 02, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    Dear Man Man,

    Alternative items concept can be mainatined only in BOM.

    If you are talking about discontinuation indicator then this can be set at material level itself.

    Check whether this can help you,

    concept of alternative items



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    Former Member
    Apr 07, 2011 at 05:40 PM


    I am also facing same problem.

    In the BOM, I tried to use alternate items with priority. But it doesn't work. Ex.

    Priority 1: Item A,

    Priority 2: Item B and

    Priority 3: Item C.

    If item A is not available, then system should choose automatically Item B or If Item A quantity is not sufficient with the actual requirement then the system should select Item A and Item B. I dont want to maintain PROBABILITY in the alternate items. Kindly suggest your valuable ideas.

    With Regards,


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    • Dear Umashankar,

      In my understanding the system does not picks the alternative items as per the priority defined and the stock availability.

      Priority is defined for the reservation of components,in which sequence the should read the items.

      Correct me if I'm wrong.