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During my day to day interactions with various customers, a regular topic of discussion that keeps coming up in the Operational Procurement area is the concept of ordering partners.  In this blog, I’ll outline and explore the concept of supplier plant level partners in SAP S/4HANA using Business Partners (BP).

Plant level partners for procurement has been around for a very long time, many people know the concept of assigning this data in procurement contract (outline agreement) but they do not know that you can do this at the vendor level for general procurement.  This can assist the automatic assignment of partners and specific purchasing data that is relevant to a particular plant.

Let’s take a very common business scenario; a single supplier provides goods or services to multiple geographically different plants that are linked to the same Purchasing Org.  You need to define different parameters per plant but, as an organisation who wants to measure single supplier spend, you only want to create the Supplier once and have the flexibility to order from offices that are ‘local’ to these plants.  When an order is raised, the purchase order should be sent to the local office not the supplier’s main office and this can reduce lead times and improve local relationships.  Operational Procurement commonly refers to this as an ‘ordering address’.

To achieve this, functionality is assigned at a much lower level in the Business Partner than the purchasing organisation, we have the ability to assign specific partners that are only relevant to that plant.  Many partner functions can be used here but for the purpose of this blog, we will focus on the concept of an ordering address.

System setup prerequisites -

Setting up the Business Partner;

  • Steps contained in the Customer Vendor Integration (CVI) Cookbook should be considered

  • Applicable BP Roles – FLVN010 and FLVN01 and their associated field selections

  • BP grouping to be defined – these are linked to the vendor account groups in MM i.e. Supplier, Ordering Address and Payment Instructions are common

  • BP grouping number ranges

  • BP synchronisation control (covered in CIV cookbook)

  • Assign BP Groups to Vendor Account Group

Setting up Materials Management Vendor;

  • Supplier account groups and number ranges must be defined – VN and OA at the minimum

  • Partner schema is defined – SAP delivers standard L3 for this

  • Partner schema has OA defined as mandatory

  • Partner schema is assigned to the account groups

  • Permissible partner roles are assigned per account group

  • Customer Vendor Integration (CVI) sync must be already configured

  • Output condition control for Purchase Order (and RFQ if required) must be set to use the Ordering Address for the output

  • PO form should be designed to use the Ordering Address name and address to ensure consistency with the supplier (this is optional but I personally recommend)

How to set up in the Business Partner;

In BP, create the head/main office to represent the Supplier, make sure you select the correct grouping;


On the Vendor: Under the General Data tab, select the checkbox ‘plant relevant’ - this will tell the system there can be plant-level data for this BP;


Go to the Purchasing view – extend the relevant Purchasing Org.  Here you can maintain Purchasing Org specific values.  If you do maintain Purchasing Org level details, these with the exception of currency and payment terms will be overridden in the purchase order if you do maintain Plant specific values later;


Make a note of the created BP number.  In-display mode, you can see the system will assign the normal VN, OA, and PI as per the default Purchasing Org;


Now create the Ordering Address.  These only need address data so depending on your field selection Supplier role can be used, or you can define your own.  Make sure the Grouping is selected as Ordering Address or similar;

Note the BP number for later.

Now we need to assign the plant level partners to appropriate Purchasing Orgs.  Go into change mode of the original BP.  Select the supplier role and then purchasing data.  I am going to maintain for Purchasing Org 1710, Plant 1710 and Ordering Address 1000270.  Under the ‘Additional Purchasing Data’ tab select the create button;


On the pop-up, enter the plant and select the partner functions and if you want to have different parameters select purchasing data;


Now select the row and change button;


On the pop up enter the plant-specific settings you want.  Very handy if you have multiple plants with one purchasing org and need to have ERS or GR Based IV on at one site but not another;


In the Partner Roles Subrange tab now enter the ordering address to be used;


Once done save and then repeat as needed for each plant.

Check the WYT3 table to see if successful;


When creating a PO, once you enter a plant, this plant level partner settings will automatically default but the PO is still raised to the head office or main vendor.


Any other plant-specific purchasing settings entered will also default;


Obviously, this design is not a final and should only be used as a guide as there are many other fields that need to be considered, however with master data and configuration, customisation can be avoided.  This type of partnering can be used for many different partner types even Payment Instructions and Delivery Address.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope that it has been informative.


Follow notes/details;