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Following up on the last MKS (MKS53 - Package Building Process and MKS54 - Package Building Profile), today's post deals with the assignment of the different package types to certain products during the package building.

Remember that for the process in SAP Transportation Management, the Freight Unit Builder passes the already grouped (mandatory split criteria like incompatibilities already applied) and compatible product items to the package building function (when activated in the FUB rule). The process in general can be steered using the package building profile. So the next question is how does the package builder decide for each product into/onto which package it goes.

To enable flexible assignments, a new product master data transaction is available called 'Define Product Package Assignment'. In SAP TM 9.3 you can find this under Master Data -> General next to 'Define Product'. Transaction code is /SCMB/PB_PRD_PKG_***. Within this transaction, it is possible to define for a combination of product, business partner and location the package type to be used.

Most important: To reduce the effort when maintaining those definitions, it is possible to work with generic patterns. I can imagine that you usually start with a generic entry like product = '*' and set the package type. Later you define then the exceptions.

So why the product, partner and location key combination? Scenario: Product A is usually delivered with an EU pallet stacked up to 1.5 meters (first entry). But when delivering this product to customer X from your warehouse Y, you use a different pallet type containing product A stacked up to 1.3 meters, because the customer can only handle pallets up to this height (second entry as exception).

Which entry is picked for a product line item? 3 key fields allowing also pattern values are tricky. The PB will always prefer the most specific entry. So it will start to search for an entry matching all 3 key fields exactly. In case nothing is found, it will score all other keys in the following manner: How many keys match exactly? How many keys match by pattern? How many keys are initial? Then it will select the key with the highest score. For very complicated scenarios there is an enhancement spot to overrule the standard logic. (technical detail: deterimation logic is here /SCMB/CL_PB->DETERMINE_ITEM_PACKAGE_TYPE). Note that the PB will always pick only 1 entry and not combine two. For example you could think that you define generally valid attributes on the generic entry and only overwrite the differences on the most specific entry. Nope...

What can be defined? First thing as the transaction code says - define the target package type. There are multiple options for this. You can set the package material. When doing this the base unit of measure of this package and also dimensions and weight are considered. Second option is the package unit of measure. This points directly to the product alternative units of measure for the conversion rules, but no package attributes are considered. When set in combination with the package material, it can overrule the base unit of measure of this package. Third option is the definition of the equipment group and type. This enables in SAP TM the creation of container, trailer, or railcar units. It does not affect the logic and at least the package unit of measure must also be defined.

Secondly, the definition allows to set specific limits regarding weight and height the PB shall consider when packing the product. It is possible to set generally valid limits on the package material (for example you can oly stack a EU pallet up to 1.8 meters and put 900 kg on it). In the assignment, you can lower those limits product, customer and location specific.

Thirdly, there are flags to steer the process when creating mixed packages/pallets. First of all you have a layer unit of measure field. This points to the product master data defintions required to create a mixed package (how many pieces fit into a product layer). In addition, you can define if a product can be split over multiple mixed packages, if additional packing material is required and how mixed product layers shall be created. The mixed package building will be the topic of one of the next MKS for sure.

After evaluating this assignment table, the PB knows for each product line item how it shall be packaged. Now it will check for the conversion rules defined on product master data level.

Two more things:

  • There are BAPI function modules available to up- and download the assignments.




  • Currently there is no package type optimization or dynamic package type determination available (something like for a specific product set I would pick pallet X, and for another set pallet Y; or for the to-be-consolidated product items I will determine a package type fitting to the quantities).