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If your stock looks like this pineapple  then it is certainly too late to ask the question how old the stock is.

Photo: Flickr: areta ekarafi's Photostream

If the age of a product is critical for you and your business, then you should think about a solution in the design phase to avoid a very expensive change at a later point of time when you are already live and cannot easily change a wrong decision.

Often a first idea is to maintain a minimum remaining shelf life in the material master.

From here it is copied to the purchase order, and when you do the goods receipt then you are requested to enter the Shelf life of the product.

If your shelf life expiration date (SLED) is later than  posting date + minimum remaining shelf life date  then you can save the receipt without problem.

If the SLED is less than the required minimum remaining shelf life then you get error message 12 007  Shortfall of xx days against remaining shelf life in current item (20)  and cannot do a receipt as the material does not fit your expectations.

This SLED is stored in the material document, but not with the stock. There is no info in the stock overview transaction MMBE, and no SLED in the detail view either.

At this point of time, you just have 1 receipt, so you can still explain with a 100% accuracy that the material has an expiration date of December 31st 2014

and was received from vendor ABC, you can get this info from the material document.

With a next receipt you get another 140 with a different SLED (January 15th, 2015)

At this time you can still say that 90 have a SLED of December 31st 2014, and 140 of January 15th 2015, based on the material documents.

But when looking at the stock in SAP  you cannot get any corresponding information. You just see a total quantity at your storage location.

How do you know which part of the 230 will expire end of December? Simply you cannot without doing something extra, e.g. label the material with a shelf life expiration date:

Now you know at least physically when the material expires. However, you are not getting any help in SAP to monitor this, nor to know how much stock of this older material is left in your warehouse.

You need at least implement a policy like FIFO first in first out, or FEFO first expiry first out, which has to be followed by your personnel .

Still not yet anything in SAP to help you on this either.

As we had already seen, inventory management transaction MMBE is not able to show you the expiry date.

As a possible solution you could implement SAP's Warehouse Management module and activate the SLED management in OMKW transaction

The SLED is then written to the quant and will be displayed in the WM stock reports like LS24, LS26 and LX03, however you must avoid put away strategies like addition to stock because the SLED is not  splitting the inventory, the old date is retained and the SLED of the new material is lost. More details can be read in KBA 1573002 - SLED / Date of Manufacture is not updated correctly or it is not set in Warehouse System.

At least the SLED information can be seen now. But still no information about the vendor.

If the material is ordered at a single vendor, then you can look into your material document do obtain the vendor number, or from the purchase order.

But if your material is ordered from several vendors, then you cannot get this info, neither from the MM stock report nor from any WM stock report.

The only way to get both shelf life expiration date and vendor is with batch management.

To activate batch management you must not have any stocks, no current stocks, no previous period stocks, hence you should take this decision before you use the material master.

If you change the batch management indicator in the material master, SAP will list all issues that have to be solved before you can succesfully activate the batch management. More details in SAP Note 30656 - Change base unit of measure/batch management requirement

countless discussions in SCN.

With batch management  you do not have just one total for the entire material, you have the exact number per receipt (assumed that each receipt creates a new batch number, automatically if activated in customizing IMG > Logistics General > Batch Management > Creation of New Batches >  Define Batch Creation for Goods Movements

It is still not possible to see the expiration date directly in MMBE overview, but you can jump from here to the batch via the menu and can review the details with SLED and vendor number and even other information.

With batch management you have to post any movement with  a batch number. And you have to count quantities per batch in a physical inventory. Certainly a little more effort, but needed if you want get more detailed information for your business out of SAP. Not to forget, you still need a label at your material with the batch number so that it can be identified physically.

The MB5M - Expiration Date List  can help you to monitor your expiration dates. The WM module works with batches too.

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