AFS General

EAN Recycling

In AFS Materials, we can assign EAN’s not only at the main material level, but also at the grid value level. This uses a lot many chunk of EAN numbers allowed for the materials. AFS provides the functionality to re-use the not-used EAN numbers by recycling the EAN numbers.

EANs for recycling comes from two sources

  • EANs from archived materials.
  • EANs lost due to buffering

When the material master is archived, the archiving program deletes all the entries of the material master data tables including EAN tables. During this process “To-Be-Recycled EAN” table is also updated with the EAN numbers from these materials.

The Recycling Program checks the business data of the selected materials. If all the documents are complete, the EANs are moved to recycled table when their retention period is reached.

The Online standard transaction (MM01/MM02), Material Master Mass Maintenance, accesses the number range specified for the EAN category. If the interval maximum has been reached, the “EAN/UPC recycled” table is then read to get the EAN/UPC codes. When assigned, the EAN/UPC code is deleted from the “EAN/UPC recycled” table.

EAN/UPC codes that were never used (Buffering…etc) will also be added to the “recycled” table, which facilitates in using these missed EAN numbers.

As a material is flagged for deletion, a report needs to be run to physically delete the material from the database. This is the material archiving program “MMREO050”. It is used to archive the “MM_MATNR” archiving object.

The AFS EAN/UPC code entries are recovered when AFS materials are archived and deleted.

Recycling Report

  • Check the last used date of the materials.
  • Update the to-be-recycled table with the selected EAN codes and calculate their retention period.
  • Move the EANs from to-be-recycled table to recycled table. Two conditions have to be satisfied. Retention period is reached and the material is archived.

Archiving is mandatory for recycling unless the customer decides otherwise. User exit can be used to recycle otherwise.


AFS Consignment Process

Consignment goods are goods that are stored at the customer’s location which are still the property of the manufacturing company. Only when the goods are consumed by the customer, the settlement of the goods are carried out. AFS also support Consignment process like standard with the addition of Allocation run carried out during required steps of the process.

As in standard, there are four main transactions for processing consignment stock in the R/3 System, all of which support separate management of stock:

• Creating a Consignment Fill-Up
• Creating Consignment Issue
• Creating a Consignment Pick-Up
• Displaying Consignment Returns link has detailed information on each of these transactions.

The document which is attached shows how it is depicted in the system.

AFS Consignent Process

Please feel free to get in touch with me for any clarifications.

Category Structure and Coverage Strategy

AFS Materials are based on large volume of data. To bring in more segregation of this data volume, AFS Categories were introduced in AFS.  Categories are used to logically segment materials. They provide an additional layer of details to characterize the product (material master).

While AFS grid is mainly used for characteristics which have physical significance, categories give a logical classification. Usually AFS grids have the characteristics of Size, Color, and Inseam etc. The categories are mainly used to segregate customer segments, level of quality, country of origin etc.

For example, if we have the category of Quality, we can define it in two levels: Q1 would be first grade goods, Q2 will be second grade.

Requirement / Stock 

There are two types of categories

  1. Requirement Category
  2. Stock Category

Requirements categories are important in Sales, for example in sales orders, planned independent requirements and dependent requirements.

Stock categories are used for the logical distribution of the existing and planned stock. Therefore stock categories are assigned both to the physical stock and the procurement proposals, such as planned orders, production orders, purchase requisitions, and purchase orders.

Unlike the grid value which doesn’t change, the category values can change during a logistic cycle. It depends on the configuration maintained, the stock situation and many external factors applicable in the business.

Category Structure / Coverage Strategy

The assignment of categories to a material is via Category Structure and Coverage Strategy.

Category structure includes the definition and incorporates the characteristics which are included in the structure. In Coverage strategy we define the sequence in which the stock categories satisfy the requirements categories.

Depending on availability, the system assigns different stock categories to the requirements categories in the defined sequence, meaning that the category can change in the logistic process. The assignment of stock to requirement category takes place during availability check , MRP and AllocationRun.

It is with respect to Coverage strategy, the assignment of Stock to Requirement Category takes place in the system.

Suppose the company is manufacturing T-Shirts of quality Q1, Q2, and Q3. And we have maintained a Category mapping as given below

Q1 -> Q2

Q3 -> Q2

This assignment depicts that the Requirement of Q1 or Q2 can be satisfied by Stock of Q2.

The coverage strategy mapping can also be maintained using wild card format. In this case, it is applicable to all the category values.  We use the wild cards  ‘*’ and ‘#’ for this. The following table mentions the significance of the mapping.


It’s really interesting to understand that the concept of categories and its influence on the entire logistic chain. More on this later.

Category structures are also made of AFS characteristics. Characteristics need to be created of type /AFS/SAP-C‘ (AFS Characteristics for Categories) via TX : CT04. After which the following steps need to be carried out.

  • Create Category Structure  ( Tx : J4KS)
  • Create Coverage Strategy  ( Tx : J4KC)
  • Attach Category Structure and Coverage Strategy to the Material Master

Please note that once the AFS Material status is set in the material master, the category structure and coverage strategy cannot be changed.

AFS Material Conversion

AFS Material size conversion enables you to display the grid values determined in the system differently. It changes how the grid values are displayed in AFS grids or applications. It is customizable with the following parameters

  • User Parameter (J31 is the user parameter)
  • Customer / vendor Id
  • Material Id

Sales order, Purchase order, Sales Requirement List etc are some applications where conversions are applicable.

The detailed information is there in the attached document

AFS Conversion


Value Added Service

VAS stands for Value-added Service. It is an operation performed on materials, which enhances their value, worth, functionality or usefulness.

In a customer scenario, the customer might request some specific service to the goods before they are delivered.

Some examples being

  1. Company logo printed in a t-shirt
  2. Special packing of the shirt
  3. Labeling the material

For meeting the demands of such customer requirements, Value-added services are created in the AFS system. At any point of the sales cycle, VAS information is required and should be displayed to the user.

Mainly there are two types of VAS information

  1. VAS Data – not tangible
  2. VAS Item – tangible item


The following link has good information about this.

Master Data in AFS

SAP AFS has enhanced standard SAP® R/3® data structures to facilitate the handling of potentially very large volumes of data. These enhancements derive largely from the size and seasonal requirements of the industry and relate to the building of product levels based on style/color/size as used throughout the logistical cycle.

A grid has been developed to support these specific enhancements and safeguard high levels of performance. This tool ensures that as styles change from season to season, the enormous number of stock keeping units (SKUs) can still be maintained quickly and easily.

In addition to grid dimensions, you can further specify product characteristics by categories. Categories provide an additional layer of detail, allowing you to segregate levels of quality, customer segments, country of origin, and so on. The SAP AFS management of categories has been further enhanced so that category fields can be flagged as being relevant to certain applications in SAP AFS (for example, for planned requirements consumption, bill of material maintenance, or sales status).

Material Grid  

An AFS Material grid can be visualized as follows.

More information about Grids can be found at the post  ‘AFS Master Grid’.