Batch management is a critical process for any company looking to improve the efficiency and precision of their production operations…

By seamlessly organizing and tracking groups of products or materials with shared characteristics, SAP Batch Management enables companies to maintain quality control and streamline supply chain operations across the board.

And, with its comprehensive suite of features and robust integration capabilities, SAP Batch Management empowers organizations to optimize production processes, maintain compliance with production regulations, enhance traceability, and ultimately deliver superior products to their customers.

This article will discuss the key capabilities and advantages of SAP Batch Management, how to navigate batch determination and management processes in the SAP Material Management (MM) module, and where our team of SAP consultants can come in to help.

Read on to learn more!

Understanding Batch Management Functionality

When a batch is produced, and its characteristics are measured, a batch master record is created before or during goods receipt and assigned to its respective material number in the system.

Batch management is essential in helping companies, especially those in the food, pharmaceutical, or chemical industry, produce, procure, manage, and track materials based on specific business requirements.

Tracking materials with unique batch numbers requires several different functions in SAP, including:

  • Inventory Management: Used to search batch numbers during the movement of materials into the plant
  • Sales and Distribution: Used to search for batches and batch numbers during Sales Order processing
  • Production Order: Used to search batch number and stock for material components when creating, processing, or releasing a production or process order
  • Warehouse Management: Used to search for a specific batch stock or batch classification in the warehouse

What is Batch Management in SAP MM?

SAP Batch Management (LO-BM) is a solution designed to help companies across industries facilitate precise identification of a production lot for materials managed in batches, including computer software, electrical goods, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing process management, and more.

The Batch Management solution makes it easier for business users to connect products by batch and material master numbers, leverage a specified identification scheme to manage these stocks more efficiently, and improve data migration across their entire SAP landscape.

Common use cases for SAP’s Batch Management solution include…

  • Activities related to defect tracing, regression requirements, and product callbacks
  • Monitoring of differences in raw materials planning and actual usage in SAP SD and Production systems
  • Settlement of material quantities based on automatic batch determination and other batch specifications
  • Differentiated quantity and value-based inventory management functions
  • Compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements or hazardous material regulations

Navigating Batch Management Configuration in SAP

There are three different levels of batch management in SAP: plant, material, and client level. Here’s a closer look at each one:

Plant Level

At the plant level, a batch number is uniquely created for a material inside a plant only. Batch numbers can be generated at another plant for the same company, even though the batches are not the same. However, plant-level batch numbering becomes unsuitable for the material produced if a plant-to-plant stock transfer occurs.

Here are a few key features of plant-level batch numbering in SAP:

  • Batch numbers can be used for multiple materials
  • Batch specifications and analytical results are the same for each batch

Material Level

With the material-level method, individual batch numbers will be unique at the material level only, meaning that different materials can have the same batch number in any given plant. The Batch Management flag is set the same for the materials across all plants that leverage such materials.

And, while batch numbers can be used for multiple materials, batch specifications and analytical results are the same for the batch through a single master record for each batch class and level.

Client Level

By leveraging the client-level method, the batch number is unique for the client, so the same batch number will not be generated for different plants, even if they are under the same company code. In this case, the Batch Management flag remains the same for materials across all plants that use it.

This method is especially useful in scenarios where plant-to-plant stock transfers are used, and each batch number must be unique to one another.

Key Steps in the SAP Batch Management Process

Let’s take a closer look at the main features and phases of the batch management process in SAP:

1) Batch Specifications for Master Data Structure

Batch Characteristics Creation:

During characteristics creation, users will define how characteristic values will be maintained and whether they need manual intervention. Characteristics can have a fixed value, number range, or pull values directly from tables in the SAP system.

Batch Class Creation:

In this phase, all previously created characteristic values are assigned to a “class” that holds all other relevant characteristic values.

Material Master Maintenance:

Users can maintain each class and its assigned characteristics in the material master classification view. In this view, the Batch Management box must be checked to access the correct functionality.

2) Define Batch Determination

Create Batch Determination Technique:

Once batch determination condition tables have been outlined, they become the necessary combination fields for searching batches across the SAP environment.

Condition tables are created separately for Inventory Management, Production, Warehouse Management, and Sales, but condition tables and search strategies are eventually created as master data records based on such criteria.

Create Batch Determination Access Sequence:

Batch determination access sequences involve the sequence of multiple condition tables based on priority assignments.

This way, users can create data for different key combinations, so even if the first combination fails, they can still search batches using the rest of the combinations in the priority list.

All-access sequences are created separately for other SAP applications, like SAP PP, SAP BODS, and more, but can be integrated to ensure a seamless batch creation and determination for master records across the board.

3) Create Batch Strategy Types

Outline Batch Search Procedure:

A batch search procedure includes multiple strategy types compiled and assigned in sequential order. This becomes the final configuration step, including the total search configuration for all strategy types across the SAP environment.

Procedure Allocation and Activation Check:

In the final step, users will allocate the batch search procedure to the respective SAP module, including Sales and Distribution, Inventory Management, Warehouse Management, and more.

Batch classification and search procedures are allocated to movement types in IM, production plants and order types in the Production module, sales areas, and sales document types in SD, and warehouse number and movement type in WM.

Main Advantages of Batch Management in SAP

SAP Batch Management enhances product quality, regulatory compliance, and operational efficiency by providing a structured and traceable approach to managing batches of materials or products, and it is particularly valuable in industries where quality control, traceability, and compliance are critical.

Here are five of the main advantages of the solution for business users:

  1. Traceability and Compliance: SAP Batch Management provides a robust traceability system that allows organizations to track the origin and history of each batch. This is critical for compliance with regulatory requirements, quality control, and recalls, as it ensures users can quickly identify and isolate any defective or non-compliant batches.
  2. Quality Control: With SAP Batch Management, users can implement stringent quality control measures and define quality characteristics, inspection plans, and quality checks specific to each batch. This ensures that only batches meeting the defined quality standards are released for sale or use.
  3. Inventory and Stock Management: Batch Management in SAP helps in efficient inventory and stock management. Users can also monitor the stock levels of individual batches, set expiration dates, and prioritize using older batches to reduce waste, leading to better inventory optimization and minimizing the risk of stockouts or overstock situations.
  4. Product Recall Management: In the event of a product recall or quality issue, SAP Batch Management enables you to quickly identify affected batches and their distribution. This accelerates the recall process and minimizes the impact on customers and the brand’s reputation.
  5. Cost Control and Efficiency: Batch Management in SAP allows for more precise cost tracking. You can analyze costs associated with producing, storing, and distributing specific batches. This granularity helps in identifying cost-saving opportunities and optimizing production processes.

How Can We Help?

Whether you need help activating or deactivating batch management features in SAP, an extra hand maintaining tolerances and characteristics values at the material master classification view, or additional support navigating complex batch status management functions, Surety Systems is here to help.

Our team of senior-level, US-based SAP consultants has the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to tackle any project, regardless of the complexity of your project needs or overall organizational structure.

Getting Started with Our Team

Interested in learning more about SAP Batch Management or finding a spot for our expert SAP consultants in your organization?

Contact us today for more information about our SAP consulting services!