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Former Member

Hello AFS and IS-Retail Fans,

I would like to share some of my experiences in Interfacing 2 Giant Industry solutions AFS and IS-Retail from Master Data perspective.

  • Our client is among one of the World’s largest Apparel and Footware Industry. It is the world's leading supplier of athletic shoes and apparel and a major manufacturer of sports equipment, with revenue in excess of US$18 billion

Business Scenario:

  • Our client’s Landscape includes multiple SAP AFS systems grouped according to the country and sales and product areas.
  • IS-Retail is our client’s one of their new system among it’s overall Landscape and architecture.
  • Our client wanted to have a solution to Interface SAP AFS with IS-Retail to transfer the Material Master, Purchasing Info Record and Sales Condition Records.

Business Objectives:

  • The business requirement includes the following:

  IS-Retail wants all the Materials from AFS pertaining to US Sales Org

  Other criteria includes – Finished Goods, Certain Material Groups, Categories etc

Key considerations

The complexities are, AFS Characteristics values are categorized as Config values in IS-Retail system

Since IS-Retail system is a buyer, the Purchasing Info Record (INFREC and COND_A) from AFS system will carry the whole sale price.

No major impacts on other applications such as Other AFS systems within Client's Landscape or any Upstream systems

Meet predefined project milestones

SAP configurations

Set up ALE Distribution Model as per the defined requirements from Retail

Setup Change Pointers config. To capture the critical changes as per the requirement

Setup the Partner Profile Attributes

Maintain AFS/Retail Interface config with required Merchandise Category values

Our Client

  • Our Client is a major publicly traded clothing, footwear, sportswear, and equipment supplier based in the United States
  • Our Client markets its products under its own brand, as well as Golf, Pro, Air Jordan, and subsidiaries including Cole Haan, Hurley International, Umbro and Converse
  • In addition to manufacturing sportswear and equipment, the company operates retail stores around the world

Business Scenario

The business objectives of this project are as follows:

  • Interfacing of 2 Major SAP Industry Solution systems – SAP AFS and IS-Retail
  • ALE Distribution Model setup of the AFS/IS-Retail Interfacing
  • Establish the Automatic setup of Change Pointers processing using the Standard program with minor   enhancements such as designing Wrapper program to support classification attributes, Transfer of Sizes and Grids, and Purchasing Info Records
  • Support ARTMAS IDOC synch with J3AMAT IDOC for Master data clarity and reconciliation
  • Improve process efficiencies by monitoring the Automated process and minimize the data migration issues

Business Requirement

The high level business requirement of AFS/Retail ALE Mechanism  are as follows:

  • Transfer of Material Master data with Filter in place
  • Transfer of Classification Attributes through Wrapper program separately with parallel processing
  • Support AFS Classification Attributes VS Retail’s Article Master config
  • Support Order Management team to transfer Pricing data for the Materials through ALE Process

IT Requirement

  • Maintain ARTMAS Distribution Model Filter according to the Biz requirement
  • Set up BD52 Configuration for ARTMAS Change Pointers with Table/Field mapping
  • Maintain Partner Profile for the Message types - ARTMAS, INFREC, COND_A and CLFMAS
  • Support Order Simulation process in BD10/RBDMIDOC_RETAIL programs
  • Test existing interfaces performance within the new setup
  • Perform Analysis of Filtered Materials during ALE process
  • Perform Size/Grid level analysis after the Automated job completion
  • No major impacts on other applications such as other AFS systems and other downstream systems
  • Meet predefined project milestones

Impacted Systems

  • SAP         :- AFS, IS-Retail, BOBJ
  • Non SAP          :- CDB and E-Gate

Technical Approach

Maintain the Filter across AFS Landscape for Retail system such as Material Types, Material Group, Characteristics, Material Lifecycle Status, Sales Org and Business Type.

Maintain Partner profile for ARTMAS, INFREC and COND_A in ‘Collect IDOCs pattern’

In order to generate a successful INFREC and COND_A message types IDOCs for Retail from AFS, the RBDMIDOC_RETAIL and BD10 will go through an order simulation process within AFS system.

The Order simulation process has its own criteria such as MRP status ‘Active’, Lifecycle of a Material should be Active, Inactive or Dormant

Maintain Change Pointers field mappings appropriately

Post ALE Analysis of Filtered Material after the IDOCs re sent

Test relevant interfaces and data model

Acceptance from IS-Retail team

Maintain BD52 Setup, Perform Segment level analysis

Execute the BD10/RBDMIDOC_RETAIL, RSEOUT00 for all the Message types sequentially

Maintain data Integration and reconciliation

Monitor and propose performance issues solutions such as optimal volume, packet size for parallel processing etc


The ALE Distribution Model was maintained as Manual config and the team experienced several data inconsistency issues

Several Product Issues impacted the testing approach and timeline.

Intermediate OSS Note releases by SAP impacted the testing approach and timeline.

Product issues while the Basic data and Sales view changes are posted in AFS system in RBDMIDOC_RETAIL

Missing Characteristics in CLFMAS IDOCs

Size/Grid missing issues

Stringent delivery time lines Vs Product Issues

Implementation Methodology

Understand MD033  - Client's Retail’s Business Requirement document for Product creation

Analysis and Initiate the ALE Distribution model setup with the ABAP coe Team

Perform “gap analysis” on information needs and design data collection templates

Validate and extract ALE Distribution Model for ARTMAS, INFREC, COND_A and CLFMAS

Maintain Config document and Custom values for other non-ALE filter values such as Characteristics through SM30/Custom TCode

Build required  Validations and system controls

Maintain Config document/Spec for ARTMAS Change Pointers

Evaluate the system config vs Requirement

Build Data Migration Requirements

Complete End-To-End testing of Material Master – ARTMAS/CLFMAS and Purchasing Info Records

Perform Detailed Segment level analysis including Sizes and Grids

Execute ALE process, Send IDOCs, Monitor IDOCs, Perform Analysis of Error IDOCs

Perform Detailed Knowledge transfer to the Production support team

Post Implementation reviews


  • Create and send a Material in Full from AFS using BD10 by choosing a Retail Logical system
  • The IDOC was created for ARTMAS, INFREC and COND_A whereas no Classification Attributes were captured in ARTMAS
  • Same issue has been noticed with RBDMIDOC program while the BD52 has the config
  • Problem noticed and proposed development of inclusion Wrapper Program to support the Classification attributes such as Characteristics values.
  • IS-Retail business has certain restrictions to filter some of the Materials belonging to certain teams such as ‘DALLAS COWBOYS’
  • Proposed solution by adding a custom table to include these Characteristics values and the wrapper program will lookup these custom table values and eliminate the CLFMAS IDOC creation
  • Since our client also has huge volume of Master Data, We have also proposed the parallel processing option and packet size recommendations to minimize performance issues.
  • AFS Views and other Custom fields from AFS were not supported by the standard program to capture the changes during Change Pointers processing
  • Problem reported to SAP and Implemented OSS Note to include the missing values.
  • The fix has again impacted the Basic data level attributes in MARA segments and led to multiple OSS Note implementation
  • Problem noticed in the performance while processing ARTMAS Change Pointers.
  • This was due to other Message types huge volume in the table BDCPV
  • Decided to route the ARTMAS Change Pointers to BDCP2 table to minimize the impact for RBDMIDOC
  • Upon Migration to BDCP2, we have found another set of issues with SAP’s hard coding of BDCPV in RBDMIDOC program
  • Table migration has returned with several issues related to RBDMIDOC program and grid issues.
  • Message raised with SAP AG and implemented an OSS note to fix the issue
  • Create scenario specific data such as using AFS’s Material with MRP status ‘Active’ and ‘Inactive’
  • The BD10/RBDMIDOC created only ARTMAS IDOC but it was missing INFREC and COND_A IDOCs
  • Upon validations, it was concluded by Order Management team as ‘Inactive’ MRP Status Materials failed the order simulations, hence only ARTMAS IDOCs were sent but not in Full
  • Create Security User Profiles, to have Order simulation access and Full Sales Org creation relevant access
  • We have spent a considerable amount of time with BOBJ team in IS-Retail to establish the Extractor rules and mapping protocols for AFS and Retail
  • The complexity of the mapping is high in the following manner:
  • The AFS Characteristics values are stored as Config
  • The Custom fields in AFS are manipulated to derivation logic in IS-Retail system
  • Sizes are created as Variant Material in Retail system

Master Data Consistency

  • We have executed this project with extensive collaboration with SAP AG by identifying several product issues related to the program RBDMIDOC, IDOC Segment issues, AFS view fields were not supported for Retail, conducting day to day workshop and resolving many other product issues.
  • Client’s IS-Retail system Master data synchronization is increased by means of improved data consistency.
  • No changes to interfaces
  • The only changes were related to Distribution Model and Partner profiling, No major impacts on other applications

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