2.1 Controlled Data Import
SAP SNC provides a robust engine called the Data Import Controller that validates all inbound XML messages transferred from the customer to the vendor containing sales, inventory (promotion/baseline), and on-order (in transit) information, and adjusts them automatically or provides exceptions wherein they need manual intervention. Checks are also carried out for master data and transaction data where needed before subsequent planning is performed.
SAP SNC ensures correctness and quality of incoming data by running some business data checks automatically. In addition, validation checks can be customized to be run for certain business partner location/product combinations, and so on. Section 4.2 explains this approach in detail. The alert framework generates corresponding alerts when the alerts can’t be corrected in order to seek a manual intervention by the VMI analyst to correct the data.
SAP SNC provides a simulation mechanism for sales and stock key figures to identify significant data anomalies compared to the past data. The simulation can be run via two options, as follows:
Simulation as validation (correction of incorrect data)
The Data Import Controller generates simulated data for location/product combinations with the sales and stock key figures sent via the
ProductActivityNotification from the customer. If the data deviates from the defined threshold values, it generates an alert. A VMI analyst can identify incorrect data from the customer and manually correct it based on prior experience. The threshold value for alerts can be defined via the path, Supply Network Collaboration • Exceptions • Data Import Controller • Set Tolerances for Check Against Simulation.
In addition, the
VALIDATION_OF_SIMULATION check with the VMI1 profile must be set to Active using the path, SAP IMG • Supply Network Collaboration • Basic Settings • Validation • Own Settings • Assign Validation Profiles.
Simulation for missing customer data
The customer’s product activity XML message hasn’t been received, so the planning run can’t proceed. In this case, the VMI analyst can wait for the XML message to be received or can run a manual simulation via the product activity screen. The simulation of the sales and stock data is done based on the last data transferred by the customer as well as the data stored from the previous planning run. In the case of baseline and promotion sales, the Data Import Controller copies the values that were created in the last Planning Service Manager (PSM) run and that were saved in the TSDM. These values are used as reference for calculation of simulation of stock:
Stock On Hand (Simulated) = Stock On Hand (Old) + Sum of Arrived TLB Shipments – Baseline Sales – Promotion Sales
The Data Import Controller sets the key figure status for sales and stock data based on the error type. The missing or incorrect data can be corrected manually or automatically via the simulation. The possible values for sales data status/inventory data status are as follows:
- No Data Available (0)
- Key Figure Missing (1)
- Data Invalid (2)
- Simulated (3)
- Activated (4)
To proceed with the planning run, the sales and stock data for a given location/product must be in status 3 or 4 . Figure 2.1 demonstrates the capabilities of the Data Import Controller—Sales data status/Inventory data status and the Sales (original) versus Sales (modified) key figures.
Figure 2.1: Data Import Controller
Note that sales and stock data transferred by the customer using the
ProductActivityNotification XML isn’t directly overwritten. The simulated or manually corrected key figures are stored separately to prevent overriding customer data by mistake.
The following subsections discuss the structure of the
ProductActivity-Notification XML, inbound processing, and the validation checks executed by the system to improve data quality and correctness. Moreover, we cover how the Data Import Controller can separate baseline stock from stock reserved for promotions and identify the sales uplift due to promotions.
2.1.1 Product Activity Notification
ProductActivityNotification XML in SAP SNC (Figure 2.2, Figure 2.3, and Figure 2.4) is organized into two key tag structures:
- Message header
- Product activity data
Header tag contains the metadata such as the ID, time stamp, sender, and receiver. While storing the data in the database, the Data Import Controller considers the time stamp and overwrites or updates the data only if it’s newer than the version stored in the database.
ProductActivity tag carries the actual payload of the XML message. It contains the supplier and the customer business partner (
VendorParty) as well as location/product data in the
Item tag. It’s possible to send multiple time series buckets for a given
Figure 2.2: Structure of Product Activity Notification after Transformation in SAP Process Integration: Buyer and Vendor Parties
Figure 2.3: Structure of Product Activity Notification after Transformation in SAP Process Integration: Ship-To Location and Product ID
Figure 2.4: Structure of Product Activity Notification after Transformation in SAP Process Integration: Sales, Inventory, Intransit (On Order)
ProductActivity message shown in Figure 2.3 uses standard identifiers, (like GTIN or EAN/UPC), to determine the location/product. It’s also possible to receive the partner dependent identifiers or set up using internal identifiers.
The sales data is stored in the TSDM, open order quantities in the ODM, and stock data in LIME.
Following are the important key figures that the customers send in the
Inventory (stock on hand)
On order (in transit)
Out of stock (lost sales)
2.1.2 Inbound Delivery Processing
This subsection provides an overview of inbound delivery processing and the necessary configuration settings. This process proceeds as follows:
1. Transfer of messages to SAP NetWeaver
To begin, the retailer transmits an EDI 852 message containing key information such as sales and on-hand stock to SAP NetWeaver.
2. Transfer of the XML message to SAP SNC
This EDI 852 message is then converted by SAP PI into XML and transferred into SAP SNC. The SAP PI interface reads and maps the 852 message to various individual SAP SNC XML message formats such as
OrderIDAssignment-Notification. The split from 1: N message depends on the data tags sent by the customer in the EDI 852 message.
3. Determination of the product in the product master
SAP SNC has the ability to use partner-dependent, internal, or standard product IDs. For example, it can use the GTIN from the incoming XML and map it to the corresponding product in the product master of SAP SNC.
4. Location/product status determination
The transferred data may or may not be relevant for planning and forecasting. This relevance is defined by the location/product status in SAP SNC via Web UI • Master Data • Product • Location Product Status.
Specify standard IDs
If the standard IDs are used for products and locations (e.g., GTIN/EAN), these must be specified in the Unit of measure tab in the product master, which is accessible via Transaction /SAPAPO/MAT1. Similarly, the GLN can be specified in the General tab in the location master (Transaction /SAPAPO/LOC3).
5. Determining the process type for the XML message
SAP SNC reads the corresponding (
ProductActivityNotification should be assigned to the process type responsive replenishment) process type from SAP SNC Customizing while processing the XML message. You can assign the process type by following the menu path, SAP SNC IMG • Basic Settings • Processing In/Out Messages • Process Types for Inbound Messages. Validation checks for an XML message are performed by SAP SNC depending on the process type.
For companies that use SAP SNC for both the responsive replenishment scenario and the Supplier Collaboration module, the
ProductActivity Notification process type can be set up based on parameters such as customer and supplier business partners using the path, SAP IMG • Supplier Network Collaboration • Basic Settings • Processing In/Out Messages • Process Types for Inbound Messages • Assign Sender- and Recipient-Dependent Process Types (Inbound).
Change Product Activity Notification – Inbound
Product Activity Notification – Inbound should be changed to process type Responsive Replenishment when using Customer Collaboration.
6. Checks in inbound message processing and master data completion
All inbound XML messages are checked by SAP SNC for consistency and completeness. If SAP SNC doesn’t have the master data from the customer (such as product or location), error messages are generated that can be analyzed in the application log (Transaction SLG1). Inbound message processing is canceled if serious errors such as absence of mandatory information are found.
The master data can be configured to automatically complete the missing location data in the inbound XML messages via SAP IMG • SNC • Basic Settings • Processing In/Out Messages • Maintain Settings for Master Data Completion.
7. Validation checks, Data Import Controller
To ensure data completeness and consistency, certain automatic checks are always carried out by the Data Import Controller. These checks can’t be influenced by the user. However, you can configure customer-specific validation checks in inbound message processing in the validation framework within Customizing for SAP SNC under Basic Settings • Validation • Own Settings. To influence the logic of the validation checks, you can define the customer-specific business logic in the Business Add-In (BAdI)
8. Alert generation
The Data Import Controller either saves or rejects the data in the application table, depending on the results of the validation checks. The Alert Monitor can be used to analyze the system-created error messages of type A (abort) or E (error).
2.1.3 Separation of Baseline and Promotional Quantities
The Data Import Controller can automatically separate the baseline stock from stock reserved for promotions and demand uplift from baseline sales due to promotions. If required, these can be manually corrected by the planner on the Data Import Controller Product Activity screen.
Following are the prerequisites for this process:
- Separation of stock data
This validation check splits inventory data into turn inventory and promotion inventory, requires an active promotion for the given location/product, and requires the customer to send only the turn inventory data. The validation check is defined and set to active via SAP IMG • Basic Settings • Validation • Own Settings • Maintain Validation Profiles. The validation check to be activated is TURNPROMOSPLI. It’s also important that baseline and promotion stocks are differentiated at the customer location.
- Separation of sales data
In the short-term forecast parameters, you need to define the Promotion control indicator to determine how the system separates the baseline and promotion data, as seen in Figure 2.7.
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