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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
Why is substitution necessary?

Substitution process is triggered when the requested item is unavailable due to various factors like out-of-stock, out-of-maintenance, sunset of the item, newer version availability in market and item cannot be sold in the region. With these factors as influencers, we as product specialists would be able to define substitute items as alternatives to the requested product, so that user of the item gets an option to choose amongst similar FFF (form, fit and function) class.

How does SAP S/4HANA aATP enable to define the substitution?

From S/4HANA Cloud Edition- 2008, Advanced Available to Promise has introduced a generic framework, which allows users to define substitutes. To define substitutions, the user needs to be assigned to the 'Product Specialist - Master Data' persona, Once this persona is assigned, the user would be able to see the catalog of Product Substitution and respective apps.

Picture#1: View of Product Substitution catalog

In Product Substitution catalog, you can view the following 5 apps ;

  1. Manage Substitutions - Products

  2. Manage Exclusions - Products

  3. Manage Substitution Groups - Products

  4. Manage Substitution Controls - Products

  5. Manage Substitution Reasons - Products

The main defining app is Manage Substitutions - Products, which enables the user to define the substitutions. The other four apps facilitate to define the substitution.


Before the user starts to use the Product Substitutions app, the user must get the role R0097-13 ( Master Data Specialist - Product Data)

Purpose of each app:

The main app - Manage Substitutions is used to define the substitution for the products related characteristics / attributes that supports the user to understand the substituted product with its respective reasons

Picture#2: List Report of Manage Product Substitution app

In the above picture, you can notice the details of the product and its substitute. We have the Smart filter-bar, which enables the user to filter the values of records that needs to be displayed in the table. The table displays details regarding the product and its substitute and other details like plant dependent. The table also displays information regarding the exclusion status of the substitution. If the product substitution is to be excluded from substitution then the same needs to be maintained in the Exclusion app.

Further in the table, the user will be able to view the reason for the substitution and the status of the substitution, if it is 'Active' or 'Inactive'.

Picture#3: Object Page of Product Substitution

Navigating into a specific product, we can notice that the window is sized to Master-Detail window, where the details are listed on the right side and the other product details are listed in the left window panel. In the Object Page, we can notice the product and its substitute product, Plant details and the status of substitution along with administrative data.

In the facets, the user can view the reason for substitution, lead indicator (incase the business needs a particular substitute to be the lead in substitution process then the same can be arranged by maintaining the lead indicator) and the sequence of substitution.

The following facets depicts the list of predecessor and successor substitution chains to see the products that were before substituted and next substitute products that would be substituted for the product.

In the substitution app, the user can notice the View Graph button which is located next to global edit and action buttons.

Picture#4: View Graph button in Object Page header

Picture#5: Product Network Graph

View graph displays schematic representation of the predecessor and successor products, that was depicted in tabular format in the Object Page. User can notice the direction flows and also the color coding for each box, the detail of the color coding can be referred in the legend section which is located on the right panel.

When the user navigates from the Object Page to View Graph, context is set (the starting product, which determines the predecessor / successor products), The filter bar shows the preset values that are considered for the generation of the graph.

To support the main app - Product Substitution, the other 4 apps provide the required attributes and provides more meaning for defining the substitution.

Reasons app:

The Reasons app is very simple app. It enables the user to define the reasons which can be used in any the substitution / exclusion. In the catalog, Reasons app is listed as a link, on launching the app, the user will be directed to the List Report page of the Reasons app, where you will notice the list of defined reasons with administrative data and timestamp information.

Picture#6: List Report of Reasons app

On clicking on chevron, the details of the reasons can be viewed.

Picture#7: Object Page of Reasons app

The defined reason can be used in Substitution and Exclusion app for providing brief explanation on why the substitution / exclusion of the product is taking place.


Control and Groups app:

The groups app is used to segregate common feature / functional products or to bundle related items together for ease of substitution.

The controls app is used for defining region / event, so that relevant groups can be used

Picture#8: Object Page - Control app

In the control app, the user can notice the Control name and description and the associated Administrative data(last changed and created by information). The control app has the option to assign the groups.

For example: control can be considered as defining events like Big Billion Sale and the groups can be defined like Flagship mobile phones that are planned to be sold during the sale day.

Now we come to the last app of Product Substitution - Master Data catalog and that is exclusion app.

Exclusion App:

As the name suggests, this app is used to define the product that needs to be excluded from the substitution process.

Picture#9: Object Page - Exclusions app

A product can be defined for exclusion and if the exclusion is in status "Active" then during the substitution cycle that product does not come up and it is clearly shown in the table.

Picture#10:Product Substitution where a product is excluded

Note: Exclusion based on time range based validities are not a part of the current shipment but will be featured in subsequent releases.

Reference information:

Further detail read for Product Substitution https://help.sap.com/viewer/f132c385e0234fe68ae9ff35b2da178c/LATEST/en-US/8a7dea8cc1a4421e97acb2463f...

Incident component for clarifications: CA-ATP-SUB