In today’s dynamic market, companies are under constant pressure to deliver customized products and services that cater to the unique needs and preferences of their customers. But, without the right tools, maintaining and managing customizations and complex products can be quite the uphill battle…
Fortunately, this is where SAP Variant Configuration (LO-VC) comes in to help.
This article will discuss all the components that make up SAP Variant Configuration (LO-VC) and everything you need to know about the process flow for configurable materials in the solution, as well as where our team of SAP consultants can come in to help.
Read on to learn more!
What is SAP Variant Configuration (LO-VC)?
Variant Configuration in SAP is designed to help companies manufacture complex products, offer many variants to specific products, and react quickly to customer requirements or specifications for the product.
SAP Variant Configuration helps the customer determine the features and requirements of the product, ensures the product can be produced according to the specifications, and keeps production costs within (or under) budget.
Understanding the Variant Configuration Process
1) Customer determines the features for the product (i.e., body style or color for a car)
2) Product configurator facilitates information exchange between sales, engineering, and production teams for efficient and effective collaboration
3) Customer or salesperson defines specifications for the product to ensure the product can be produced from the specifications
4) Variant Configuration service reveals variant config capabilities in other SAP systems (i.e., SAP ERP or SAP S/4HANA) — this is a prerequisite to have product model in knowledge base format and ready for production
5) Product modeling environment provides a place to define product models and create a knowledge base version
6) Variant Configuration tools used to build applications to help customers, sales teams, and sales channel partners to configure products and services according to predefined sales order characteristic values
How to Determine if a Material is Configurable (or not)
Determining whether a material is configurable or not within SAP Variant Configuration involves a careful evaluation of its characteristics and properties, including attributes, classes, customizations, and more. If a material is configurable, you will be able to:
- Configure the bill of material (BOM) application and routing of the material to ensure materials are only selected for certain variants
- Select one or more alternatives for materials within the selected product
- Represent product alternatives with a single configurable material in the SAP SD system
- Create a configuration profile with a defined class assignment for each material
- Define centralized settings for objects in the configuration model
It’s important to note, though, that before a material can be configured, users must select the “Material is configurable” option in the “Basic data” section of the material master data record. This ensures that all materials are customized and configured properly, and the assignment of a material to a specific class is processed correctly.
Key Features of SAP Variant Configuration
Let’s take a closer look at the main components of the LO-VC solution in SAP…
A configurable material refers to an item that can be customized to meet specific customer requirements. It is a product that can be configured with multiple variants, or features, allowing customers to personalize their orders according to their preferences.
Configurable materials in SAP LO-VC are associated with a set of configurable objects, including classes and characteristics, which define the options and combinations available.
The bill of material for a configurable material compiles all the components required to produce the material, including components that are only used in specific variants (i.e., variant parts) and those used across all variants (i.e., non-variant parts.)
When you create characteristics in SAP LO-VC, you are essentially defining the key features of each configurable material, including various options for characteristic values. Characteristics in a car, for example, could be values like model, engine type, or color.
In SAP Variant Configuration, a class is used to manage and maintain the characteristics outlined for a configurable material. And, by connecting the material to its related class, the material can be configured to align with the characteristics of the entire class.
A variant table is used to store different combinations of values for material characteristics, and it supports dependencies between characteristics by checking and changing values in the table, not the dependency.
Object dependencies are designed to help users outline interdependencies between characteristics and characteristic values, control components selected from the BOM, and change value fields for BOM items during configuration.
The SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) system supports the following dependencies:
- Selection condition
- And more!
A configuration profile controls the configuration process within the sales orders, and each configurable object must have a related configuration profile.
Defined variant conditions can be used to assign surcharges or discounts to a specific variant.
Material variants can be produced and kept in stock without creating a sales order, making it easier for companies to manufacture complex products and deliver products more efficiently.
User-defined functions enable users to leverage their own function modules to check and infer characteristic values for better access and more configuration options.
How Can We Help?
Whether you’re just getting started with Variant Configuration in SAP or you’re looking for some additional support to navigate complex integrations with other SAP solutions, Surety Systems is here to help.
Our team of senior-level, US-based SAP consultants have the skills and experience needed to tackle all your project needs, from determining the correct strategy group in the material master to checking the configuration result in simulation apps, and everything in between.
Getting Started with Our Team
Interested in learning where our expert SAP consultants can fit in your organization?
Ready to get started on your journey with Variant Configuration in SAP, but don’t know where to begin or who to turn to for help?
Contact us today to learn how we can help!