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The Availability Issue Resolution and Backorder Processing ES bundle helps streamline handling of backorders. By connecting those enterprise departments that handle backorders – departments with titles such as customer service, expediting group, backorder action services or procurements service – with each other and the rest of the company, critical data necessary to ascertain status of backorders or availability of products can be retrieved faster.

The bundle effectively enables companies to improve their fulfillment and backorder rates, substantially improving their overall service level.
The Availability Issue Resolution and Backorder Processing ES bundle can be used to list backorders for the purpose of analysis and resolution by the user. A list of backorders for manual processing is created and then specific entries retrieved for processing. Sources for products can be located and products (for example spare parts) can be shifted from one order to another using services in this bundle.
Services in this ES bundle also check availability of specific products. Using this bundle, the ATP check can be run in a few different ways: * First, it can provide preselection functionality, in which the ATP check lists locations where a given product or possible substitutes are available and then the user selects a product and location from this preselection to make a reservation. (It's possible to select multiple products or locations as well.) This preselection functionality is provided by the enterprise services in this ES bundle.

  • Second, the ATP check can be run in such a way that the ATP check itself selects a location where the product is available in the specified quantity and based on date requirements.

This second type of ATP check can be run in two ways, normal and simulative. The normal ATP check will reserve the quantity. A simulative ATP check can be run instead, which simply checks availability without reserving the quantity.

Availability Issue Resolution and Backorder Processing (click to enlarge)

Deployment Scenarios

The Availability Issue Resolution and Backorder Processing ES bundle is by nature a cross-component ES bundle, integrating two applications in the SAP Business Suite and enabling them to work together to effectively handle the problem of expediting backorders in order to improve customer satisfaction.

As such, you can think of the system landscape for this ES bundle as including a planning system and an execution system.

The Planning System

The planning system can be SAP SCM or SAP ERP.

SAP SCM as the Planning System

In SAP SCM, sophisticated backorder functionality is available, including the ability to:

  • Provide clerks with an order due list that prioritizes backorders (use cases 1, 2, and 3)
  • Handle ATP checks with preselection, in which the ATP check selects possible sources and substitutes (use case 2)
  • Provide third-party order processing to handle drop shipment of products from a third-party to a customer (see use cases 6 and 8)

SAP ERP as the Planning System

When using SAP ERP as the planning system, only simple ATP checks are available. This scenario currently offers no support for preselections and order due lists. See use cases 9 and 10.

The Execution System

The execution system can be either SAP CRM or SAP ERP. Each of these choices offers particular advantages.

SAP CRM as the Execution System

Customers could also develop their own composite application that uses CRM as the execution system using services from this bundle as well as services available in SAP CRM 7.0.

SAP ERP as the Execution System

As of Enhancement Package 4, SAP ERP can function as the execution system in this scenario.

Table of Contents


Using SAP ERP as the execution system provides the following capabilities and advantages:

  • It allows further research to be conducted on backorders using the Order Tracking View business object. This business object enables customer service representatives to see into the details of all the documents related to sales orders so that they can tell whether an order shipped and when. If it hasn't shipped yet and some scarce product is on that order, perhaps it can be reallocated to a higher priority order to fill an emergency request for a product.
  • When looking at third parties to fulfill back orders (third party order processing), a view into the ERP business object Product Procurement Arrangement provides pricing information that is not available in SCM. Some of the information from Product Procurement Arrangement is mirrored in the SCM business object Source of Supply, but the ERP business object provides complete details.
  • It allows customer service representatives to look at the Purchasing Contract for a particular business partner. This information is not available in SCM at this time.

Note that as of Enhancement Package 4, SAP ERP can handle simple ATP checks as described in use cases 9 and 10, taking on a small measure of the role of the planning system. In future releases, additional capabilities may be available.

The Availability Issue Resolution and Backorder Processing ES bundle leverages enterprise SOA by providing enterprise service-based communications between the planning system (SAP SCM) and the execution system (SAP ERP or SAP CRM).

Audience

Any company that sells products that are sometimes backordered or substituted will find this ES bundle of value for handling backend tasks. All employees involved in customer service will have immediate access to the company's knowledge base regarding production, warehousing and outside suppliers, increasing efficiency in order fulfillment that will in turn increase customer satisfaction.

For details on Service Operations, Business Objects and Process Components, please check the ES Workplace.


How to Use This ES Bundle

Many companies that sell spare parts still rely on the intuition and experience of staff members to ensure that customers receive parts and assemblies in the shortest time possible following processing of a request. The Availability Issue Resolution and Backorder Processing ES bundle increases the amount of critical data immediately available to staff members tracking pending backorder lines and helps them to find parts in the distribution network to fulfill pending orders. By expediting backorder processing, the bundle will increase efficiency and improve customer satisfaction.

The following series of use cases for the Availability Issue Resolution and Backorder Processing ES bundle shows how different outcomes can be achieved by using the enterprise services in different combinations. While these examples illustrate a few of the ways that this ES bundle could be used, the intention is to show the flexibility and reusability of these business objects and enterprise service operations so that you will have a clearer understanding of how to best deploy them in your own environment. This wiki is also a space for you to share knowledge and collaborate with others who are implementing the Availability Issue Resolution and Backorder Processing ES bundle.

Use Cases with SAP SCM as Planning System and Either SAP CRM or SAP ERP as the Execution System

Use Case 1: Manual Backorder Processing – Worklist

A customer service representative needs to attend to backorders and try to fulfill them in some way. The first step is to create the list of backorders by invoking the Find List Property by Type Code enterprise service, which uses the Order Due List (SCM) business object.

Order due lists may be filtered by product, by order type, by priority, and by other criteria, according to the approach the company wishes to take.

The Read Order Due List enterprise service is then invoked so that the customer service representative can see the list of backorders that need to be processed. The next step, outlined in the following use cases, is to resolve the backorders by finding a way to fulfill the orders.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The composite application searches for backorders assigned to this particular customer service rep

Find List Property by Type Code

Step 2: The composite application displays the backorder list for the user

Read Order Due List

Use Case 2: Manual Backorder Processing - Resolution by Internal Source

To help resolve backorders resulting from sales orders that have not been fully confirmed, the customer service representative can run a special ATP check by invoking the Create Preselection enterprise service, which uses the Product Availability Preselection (SCM) business object. This rule-based ATP check looks up available quantities in various locations. The customer service representative can then select the most suitable option for fulfilling the order. This service can explore availability of and report on products that can be substituted or interchanged with the original requested products, as well as the locations of such alternative products. Furthermore, the service lists all locations, with their available quantities, even if there are currently no items in stock at that location. In this way, stock from multiple locations can be combined to fill an order.

The customer service representative can then choose a product and location combination or combinations from the resulting list that bests applies to the sales order in question. (This functionality is very flexible; multiple products can be selected from multiple locations.) Making this selection invokes the Create Preselection based Requirement enterprise service, which also uses the Product Availability Requirement (SCM) business object. The result from the Create Preselection based Requirement enterprise service can be applied to the sales order by invoking the Change Sales Order Product Availability Requirement Confirmation (ERP) enterprise service or the Change Sales Order Product Availability Requirement Confirmation (CRM) enterprise service.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The customer service representative lets SCM generate a preselection to show options for filling the backorder

Create Preselection

Step 2: The customer service rep selects an option from the preselection list

Create Preselection based Requirement

Step 3: SCM modifies the sales order to reflect the updated order information, invoking the appropriate service for the execution system, whether ERP or CRM

Change Sales Order Product Availability Requirement Confirmation (ERP) or
Change Sales Order Product Availability Requirement Confirmation (CRM)

Use Case 3: Manual Backorder Processing - Resolution by Reassignment of Order Confirmation

One way to fill backorders is to reassign item confirmations from one order to another, particularly in the case of an emergency request. A bulldozer from an important construction project has a broken transmission and it is out of service with an urgent need for a replacement to keep the project moving forward. The construction company has called to order the transmission, but as the order was processed, there was no available to promise stock to fill the order, creating a backorder. Given the urgent need, another way to fill this order must be found.

The customer service representative looks at other sales orders that may be able to fulfill this emergency need by invoking the Find List Item by Material ID and Supply Planning Area ID enterprise service, which uses the Order Due List (SCM) business object. The customer service representative sees that a warehouse has several such transmissions on order and that its sales order has been confirmed. There is a transmission available, but it has already been reserved for that customer (but not yet delivered)

To reassign the product to fill the emergency need, the CSR selects the warehouse's order and creates a temporary work list item that includes both orders by invoking the Create Order Due List Work List Item enterprise service, which also uses the Order Due List (SCM) business object. The CSR can then reassign the item confirmation needed from the warehouse's order to the dealer that is servicing the bulldozer by invoking the Execute Order Due List Reassignment enterprise service.

In an asynchronous background process, the warehouse's order will be unconfirmed and the previously confirmed quantity redistributed to both orders in sequence of their priority thus confirming the emergency order completely and the warehouse's order partially. Once the batch is processed, both sales orders are adjusted. The warehouse's sales order, which was partially confirmed, will now be put on the backorder list, indicating that the order cannot yet be completely filled. The part of the order that was confirmed, however, can be delivered. The final transmission ordered by the warehouse will be sent at a later date, when it becomes available.

Note: Technically, the Cancel Order Due List Work List Item enterprise service should be used to "clean up" the work lists either before the Create Order Due List Work List Item or after the Execute Order Due List Reassignment enterprise service. Then the work list could be reused for the next case.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The customer service representative looks for other sales orders to fill the backorder

Find List Item by Material ID and Supply Planning Area ID

Step 2: The customer service rep selects both orders and creates a temporary work list item that includes them

Create Order Due List Work List Item

Step 3: The customer service rep reassigns the item confirmation

Execute Order Due List Reassignment

Use Case 4: Availability Check Based on Customer Request - Without Reservation

A customer calls to ask whether a certain product is available, and the customer service representative invokes the Check Requirement_V1 enterprise service, which uses the Product Availability Requirement (SCM) business object. This enterprise service performs a simulative ATP check, checking for availability without reserving the item or items.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: A customer calls to see if a particular product is available but doesn't want to reserve it

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Step 2: The customer service rep checks availability without reserving the product

Check Requirement_V1

Step 3: The customer service rep reports the availability back to the customer

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Use Case 5: Availability Check Based on Sales Order Creation - With Reservation

The customer service representative creates a sales order on behalf of the customer, invoking Create Sales Order or Create Sales Order (CRM) based on whether the execution system is ERP or CRM. This in turn invokes the Create Requirement_V1 enterprise service, which uses the Product Availability Requirement (SCM) business object. This enterprise service checks availability again and reserves the product for the customer (referred to as a normal ATP check).

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The customer from the previous use case wants to reserve the product

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Step 2: The customer service rep checks availability and reserves the product

Create Requirement_V1

Step 3: The customer service rep reports that the product has been reserved

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Use Cases with SCM as the Planning System and CRM as the Execution System

Use Case 6: Manual Backorder Processing - Resolution by External Source (CRM as Execution System)

Another method of fulfilling the backorder of unconfirmed sales order items is to assemble a list of sources that can directly ship the desired product to the customer. Third-party order processing (TPOP) is used in cases where the normal processes of procure-to-stock and sell-from-stock cannot fulfill the order. Available valid sources of supply are based on procurement relationships such as outline agreements or purchasing supply records.

The customer service representative looks for third parties that can fulfill a particular backorder by invoking the Find Source of Supply by Elements enterprise service, which uses the Source of Supply (SCM) business object. The customer service representative can narrow the results by specifying validity dates, procurement relationship type, vendor, and ordering location. The customer service rep can then arrange to have the product shipped directly to the customer from the third-party supplier in the interest of customer satisfaction. The customer service rep then invokes the Update Sales Order (CRM) enterprise service to modify the sales order accordingly.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The customer service representative looks for third parties that can fulfill the backorder

Find Source of Supply by Elements

Step 2: The customer service rep selects the best source of supply

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Step 3: The customer service rep arranges to have the product shipped to the customer

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Step 4: The customer service rep changes the sales order accordingly

Update Sales Order (CRM)

Use Cases with SCM as the Planning System and ERP as the Execution System

Use Case 7: Manual Backorder Processing - Researching Sales Orders (ERP as Execution System)

As of Enhancement Package 4, SAP ERP offers a business object called Business Document Flow. This business object allows clerks researching backorders to research the whereabouts of orders. Given a sales order number, the enterprise services related to this business object can be used to read subsequent documents, making this business object very useful for researching orders that may need to be split up to fill more urgent needs, as described in use case 3, where some items in a lower priority order were put on backorder so that those items could be used to fill more immediate needs.

Additionally, once customers call back asking where their items are, enterprise services related to this business object can be used to find out exactly where the parts are in terms of delivery documents and their current status, enabling customer service reps to respond quickly and accurately to customer inquiries with details such as on what delivery he will receive the order.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: Customer calls looking for their order

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Step 2: The customer service rep looks up related documents using the order number

Find Business Document Flow By Anchor Object Node Reference_V1

Step 3: The customer service rep can explain what delivery and which shipment will bring the items, if they have been shipped

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Use Case 8: Manual Backorder Processing - Resolution by External Source (ERP as Execution System)

Another method of fulfilling the backorder of unconfirmed sales order items is to assemble a list of sources that can directly ship the desired product to the customer. Third-party order processing (TPOP) is used in cases where the normal processes of procure-to-stock and sell-from-stock cannot fulfill the order. Available valid sources of supply are based on procurement relationships such as outline agreements or purchasing supply records.

The customer service representative looks for third parties that can fulfill a particular backorder by invoking the Find Source of Supply by Elements enterprise service, which uses the Source of Supply (SCM) business object.

This Source of Supply (SCM) business object relates to the Product Procurement Arrangement business object in SAP ERP. This ERP business object provides additional information about pricing, helping companies to choose one vendor over another based on price, for example.

While Source of Supply (SCM) holds necessary data for planning, a fuller picture can be derived by looking at the detailed information in the Product Procurement Arrangement business object in SAP ERP by invoking the Read Product Procurement Arrangement enterprise service operation. Further details about any purchasing contracts can be obtained by invoking the Read Purchasing Contract enterprise service operation, which uses the ERP business object Purchasing Contract.

The customer service representative can narrow the results by specifying validity dates, procurement relationship type, vendor, and ordering location. The customer service rep can then arrange to have the product shipped directly to the customer from the third-party supplier in the interest of customer satisfaction. The customer service rep then invokes the Change Sales Order enterprise service to modify the sales order accordingly.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The customer service representative looks for third parties that can fulfill the backorder

Find Source of Supply by Elements

Step 2: The customer service rep views details about pricing from ERP

Read Product Procurement Arrangement

Step 3: The customer service rep reviews any pricing contracts for this vendor from ERP

Read Purchasing Contract

Step 4: The customer service rep selects the best source of supply

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Step 5: The customer service rep arranges to have the product shipped to the customer

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Step 6: The customer service rep changes the sales order accordingly

Change Sales Order

Use Cases with ERP as the Planning System and the Execution System

Use Case 9: Availability Check Based on Customer Request - Without Reservation (ERP as the Planning System and the Execution System)

A customer calls to ask whether a certain product is available, and the customer service representative invokes the Check Requirement enterprise service, which uses the Product Availability Requirement business object. This enterprise service performs a simulative ATP check, checking for availability without reserving the item or items.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: A customer calls to see if a particular product is available but doesn't want to reserve it

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Step 2: The customer service rep checks availability without reserving the product

Check Requirement

Step 3: The customer service rep reports the availability back to the customer

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Use Case 10: Availability Check Based on Customer Request - With Reservation (ERP as the Planning System and the Execution System)

The customer from use case 9 wants to reserve the product, so the customer service representative then invokes the Create Requirement enterprise service, which uses the Product Availability Requirement business object. This enterprise service checks availability again and reserves the product for the customer (referred to as a normal ATP check).

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The customer from the previous use case wants to reserve the product

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Step 2: The customer service rep checks availability and reserves the product

Create Requirement

Step 3: The customer service rep reports that the product has been reserved

(no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step)

Using the Services in This ES Bundle with SAP Applications

For SAP CRM only, SAP is working on an industry composite called Composite Application for Backorder Processing that productizes the streamlined process of backorder processing offered by the services in this ES bundle. More information about this composite application will be added to this wiki when it is available.

Future Directions

In the future, additional enterprise services may be added to allow for using SAP ERP for both the planning system and the execution system in more complicated use cases such as are described in use cases 1, 2, and 3, which currently rely on SCM's Order Due List business object; a similar business object is not yet available in SAP ERP but may be added in a future release.

System Requirements

For the planning system:

  • SAP SCM 5.0 or later
  • For SAP 5.0 only, Enterprise Services Add-on for SCM 5.0 is also required

For the execution system:

or

Related ES Bundles

End-to-end Processes Where This ES Bundle Is Used