In today’s globalized economy, efficient supply chain management is essential for companies to remain competitive, but managing raw materials, goods, and products in-transit can get pretty complicated without the right tools for the job.

But, fortunately, SAP Handling Unit Management (HUM) capabilities help companies across all industries streamline logistics operations and enable them to manage the movement of goods through the supply chain with greater accuracy and efficiency.

This article will take a deeper dive into the SAP HUM solution and its key components and capabilities, as well as where our team of SAP consultants can come in to help.

Read on to learn more!

What is Handling Unit Management in SAP?

SAP HUM (Handling Unit Management) is a solution designed to help users track the movement of full handling units and their associated materials across the entire supply chain, eliminating the need to track each unit and material individually.

With Handling Unit Management functionality, SAP users are enabled to track inventory management information more efficiently, improve the productivity of their goods management processing operations, and integrate with core logistics structures and processes.

Key Components of SAP HUM

Here are the main components included in the SAP Handling Unit Management solution…

Handling Unit

A handling unit contains a physical unit of packaging materials and the goods contained in it used to transport, store, or handle goods, including load carriers, packing materials, or cartons. Handling units always consist of a combination of products and packaging materials to give users a better understanding of all the information contained in product items.

Each handling unit has a unique identification number that users can construct according to industry standards and can also be associated with specific attributes, such as weight or temperature range, to help ensure the goods are stored and transported under the appropriate conditions.

Packaging Material

Packaging materials refer to each material built to hold or enclose the materials intended for packaging, including crates, boxes, pallets, and other different storage containers.

To use packaging materials in the most efficient way, SAP users must maintain the material master record for all the data located in each packaging material, including packaging material type, material group, and material volume.

Packing Instructions

A packing instruction refers to the template required to create a handling unit, including the definition of materials and packaging material types to be packed in each handling unit.

From materials to multi-level packing instructions, storage unit dimensions, user-defined fields, and more, packing instructions make it easier for users to keep track of the materials and quantities to be packed in a single handling unit.

This allows users to automate packing processes, create handling unit proposals, and reproduce customer packing requirements based on a specific packing material, making it easier to track, monitor, and optimize handling unit management processes.

Control Parameters

Control parameters allow SAP users to configure settings across their SAP system, simplifying the process of managing and optimizing packing and handling unit functions.

With control parameter functions, SAP HUM users are enabled to…

  • Define number ranges for handling units
  • Define allowed packaging materials
  • Define packaging material types
  • Define material groups for packaging material
  • Define requirements for packing and delivery
  • Maintain packing control by item category

How Does SAP HUM Operate within SAP Logistics?

Here are a few key steps of the process flow required to integrate SAP HUM with your company’s internal logistics process…

1) Sales Order Management

When a sales order is received, employees can leverage existing packing instructions or create new ones according to specific product, order, or shipment agreements with each customer.

This agreement can be leveraged at any point during the packing, manufacturing, and delivery processes to ensure materials and goods are held in the correct storage location and transported safely to their delivery destination.

Availability checks are also available in this parameter to ensure order items can be filled using current warehouse inventory or a production order can be placed for the required order items.

2) Production

Within this area of Handling Unit Management, users are enabled to create manufacturing orders (i.e., work orders) for each material required for the production of the order.

If current stock contains the required materials, each material will be reserved specifically for production, making it easier to keep all areas of the warehouse management system on the same page.

3) Purchasing

Purchasing occurs when raw materials are not available in the necessary quantities to produce a finished good for customers or if the materials must be acquired from external sources.

In either case, a purchase order is created to help users keep track of each requirement for material procurement and ensure the required materials are available for production.

4) Goods Receipts

Shipping notifications containing all necessary packing data are automatically sent to each goods recipient to keep them up-to-date with the progress of their delivery and ensure they stay engaged throughout the entire process.

Each shipping notification is comprised of all the information needed for packing and shipping, generates inbound delivery for each purchase order, and posts inbound delivery information for goods receipts.

5) Quality Inspection

Quality inspection checks help users determine the level of usage of each material and product that makes up each handling unity.

Once quality inspections have been conducted for each material, the stock in all the handling units is either sent to scrap materials or posted to unrestricted-use stock, depending on the amount of usage determined in the check.

6) Quality Management

If packing data is available across inbound and outbound delivery processes, an inspection lot is created for each handling unit, and the individual stock for each item is posted to quality inspection stock when a goods receipt is processed and received.

If handling units are stored in a Handling Unit (HU) managed storage location, any of the handling units can be transferred to different locations.

If handling unit statuses change from planned to implemented, an inspection lot is created to control and manage each handling unit and ensure quality, no matter what.

7) Warehouse Management

Handling units that contain raw materials are provided according to individual production requirements, making it easier for employees to manage handling unit identification processes, including put-away, picking, and stock transfer.

8) Inventory Management

On one hand, if a production location is HU-managed, goods issues are prompted either through handling unit specifications or material staging processes.

On the other, if the production location is not HU-managed, goods issues for raw materials are facilitated through production verifications or explicit stock posting, including inspection stock, unrestricted-use stock, and more.

9) Production

The production process involves leveraging raw materials to fill production orders, planning handling units to meet order requirements, and packing produced materials during or after production is complete.

Handling units created directly in production are termed “implemented”, and handling units created without production planning are considered “implemented handling units.”

10) Shipping

Outbound deliveries for materials and products are created according to the sales order, and goods issues are posted for each individual handling unit.

With this, handling units can be repacked into a delivery, and deliveries with associated packaging proposals can be automatically packed according to each proposal, eliminating the time and manual effort needed to fulfill orders for customers.

Getting Started with Our Team

Whether you need help implementing a new Handling Unit Management solution across your entire enterprise, maintaining an internal number range for HU identification, or managing warehouse processes at HU-managed storage locations, Surety Systems is here to help.

Our team of senior-level SAP consultants has the technical skills and functional expertise needed to help you classify packaging materials more accurately, improve inventory management processes at the storage location level, and make the most of your investments.

How Can We Help?

Interested in learning more where our team of SAP consultants can fit in your organization?

Ready to get started with Handling Unit Management (HUM) in SAP, but don’t know who to turn to for help?

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