SAP SOP Creating Self defined information Structure

Study Material Contributed by Ulhas Kavle - Senior SAP Consultant

Planning is based on historical sales or production data fetched from information structures in SAP. Information structure is synonymous to a standard table in SAP.

SAP also offers predefined information structures that you can use for the standard SOP [Standard sales and operation planning (S076)] while on the other hand, SAP offers a provision to create your own self defined information structures for pulling historical sales data (defined in terms of key figures) lying at various organization units or levels (as defined in terms of characteristics)

The standard Information structure, which is used for standard SOP (S076) updates the sales quantities, for a given product group/material, plant and production version, characteristics combination on a real time basis. Whereas a self-defined information structure (created manually in configuration) can be used to gather the sales quantities (order quantities) or sales value for a given organization level combination – for example - sales organization, distribution channel, division, material combination.

An information structure is a combination of

a) Key figures – represents the actual data of certain key interest fields that has to be collected for the organizational units.

b) Characteristics – represents the organizational units or organization levels (arranged in hierarchical sequence) for which the key figure data has to be collected.

c) Periods – represents the periods type and the period dates for which the key figure data is collected for the characteristics combination, i.e., it represents the date type and the actual date for which the key figure data is collected.

Inferences from the above table – it is noticed that the sales quantities are stored in an information structure for the characteristics or the organizational units defined. The sales quantities from the sales orders are stored according to the update rules configuration, on a real time basis. The values of other key figures like production quantities, days’ supply, target days supply, capacity requirements, available capacity can either be updated in the information structure by using the macros in planning table or by using the rough cut planning available for flexible planning in SOP.

Deciding the key figures in an information structure can be easier than deciding the characteristics. One could choose the sales quantities entered in the sales order as a key figure rather than selecting the delivered sales quantities as a key figure since an organization should always be fascinated in a proactive planning which is based on the potential interests shown in their products rather than planning based on what they have ended up selling in the last period. Whereas some conservative organizations would adventure in a planning based on their billed sales quantities.

Deciding the characteristics of an Information Structure, can be tedious job for any implementation. Standard SOP uses a characteristics combination Product group + Plant + Production Version. Whereas in flexible planning one could use characteristics combinations such as:

§ Sales organization + Distribution channel + Division + Product group or Material

§ Product hierarchy + Product group + Material

§ Region + Plant + Product Group

The information such as sales quantities, production quantities, is stored in a key figure. The key figures represent the field whose information is collected in the information structure. The information which is collected in the form of key figures is collected for various organizational units or characteristics. For example, the information can be collected for a combination of characteristics like sales organization, distribution channel, division, and material. Characteristics can also be plant, company code.

One could also proactively create the catalogs containing a set of key figures and characteristics (for sales and distribution application) and reference them in the information structure. The catalog for key figures and characteristics are separately created.

All the key figures and the characteristics are connected to the standard SAP table-field combination, from which the data will be extracted from them in to the information structure.

The data in an information structure is stored for a time reference – date, month, year, weeks.

Normally, consultants should use a “Sales and Distribution” 01 - application for creating the information structure. The “Planning possible indicator”, is a mandatory requirement in case the information structure is designed for use in flexible planning. You may end up dangerously hurt if you try to create your own application and the application update groups and the necessary configuration baggage.

Once the Information structure is created, generated and saved, it gets an “active/saved status. Only an active information structure can be used further on. An inactive structure is useless and dormant.

It would be much simpler if you create an information structure with a ‘S’ in the beginning, containing any number which is after 500, since information structures number range allowed for creation is S501 to S999.

A consistency check made on the information structure would help you eradicate all the errors which stop you from generating/saving the information structure.

Note the following points:

· You may not need to include the “capacity related key figures” in the information structure. And even if you include them in the information structure, it is should not be included in the planning type (planning type is a table template created for executing the actual planning).

· If you are going to use events in planning (planning type) it is wise to have one or two unwanted key figure which will not be used in planning, but they could be used for connecting events to planning table. You would understand this in detail, further in the document where the events are discussed.

· One should very calmly (with the greatest concentration) create the sequence in which the characteristics and the key figures are placed in the information structure, since changing the sequence at a later stage is next to impossible.

For example - If you enter a sequence of characteristics, while creating the information structure as Sales organization, then Product group and then division in a scenario and if you understand at a very later stage that the information structure is designed to have the highest level as sales organization, then division and the detailed most level as product group, it would be really impossible to revert. In such cases you would have to delete the information structure and recreate.

· You have the rights to decide the unit of measure of the key figure values. But working on base units or SAP recommended unit would be nicer.

Fig – SOP_1

Standard SOP Information Structure

The standard information structure offered by SAP is S076. It contains the characteristics and key figures as shown in the below figure. You cannot change this information structure in SAP using the transaction code “MC22”. The system issues an error message – “Name falls within SAP name range (S000 - S499)”.

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