Overview of Variant Configuration
As you would expect, complex products are reflected by complex configuration tasks in sales and production. However, a company that sells or produces products with variants must perform these configuration tasks quickly and accurately. Variant configuration is used in the SAP system for this reason.
Variant Configuration for a Forklift
A product that is manufactured in multiple variants is described as a configurable material. This covers all possible features of the product and does not refer to a definite article. In the SAP system, characteristics are used to describe the features of configurable products.
The figure above shows a possible forklift configuration. If every combination of values should happen, and every combination means an individual material BOM, you must store more than 1,000 material BOMs. Therefore you define object dependencies to reduce the number of variants.
In our example you define possible combinations of the characteristics Performance and Drive. In a standard configuration scenario this would lead to nine variants. But you decide that not every combination makes sense. Therefore you work with object dependencies.
Whether a Road Equipment has to be used or not is a decision made by the customer. This is is also an object dependency.
Simulation: Creating a Sales Order With Variant Configuration
Please perform the following simulation Creating a Sales Order with Variant Configuration to get a first impression of what a creation of a sales order could look like. Inside your sales order you add a configurable product and do a characteristic value assignment. Depending on this assignment you would later get a "configured" production order.
Simulation: Simulating Sales Order Configuration
Inside former simulation you created a sales order for a configurable material. Inside sales order you you made a characteristic value assigment. As a result configured sales order BOM could be saved.
With the VC simulation tool you are able to simulate material BOM changes depending in configuration changes.
Please perform now the following simulation Simulating Sales Order Configuration to get an impression of what a configured BOM could look like depending on different characteristic value assigments.
Outlook Product Structure Management
You are now looking for an alternative to define a product configuration at an early stage without any material masters or BOMs. Therefore, you decide to use Product Structure Management (PSM).
PSM provides a suitable platform – not only for development – but also for managing the entire product lifecycle. PSM offers more functions for modeling a product than the standard BOM.