After completing this lesson, you will be able to:
A sales and distribution process may be triggered by specific marketing and presales measures (such as direct mailing campaigns, internet campaigns, trade fair sales activities, or telephone campaigns).
Presales information can be used to plan and evaluate marketing and sales strategies, and as a basis for establishing long-term business relationships with customers, for example by:
A possible result of marketing campaigns could be a non-binding customer inquiry or a request for a quotation. Inquiries and quotations help you to determine important sales-related data and can be saved as documents. If the customer places an order, you can then access this data.
The figure, Presales Activities, shows some important topics in the presales process.
If the pre-sales activities have been successful, customers order the corresponding goods and/or services. A sales order is then created to represent this process step in SAP S/4HANA Cloud. The sales order contains all the relevant information to process each customer's request throughout the whole process cycle.
The system automatically copies data from master records and control tables that have been prepared previously. As a result, you avoid input errors during sales order creation and the entry of redundant data.
When a sales document is created, some mandatory information must be maintained. For example, each sales document, like a sales order or a quotation, always has to be assigned to a certain sales area. Furthermore, most sales documents must contain a customer number and at least one item with a material number.
If an appropriate preceding document exists, data can be copied from it when the sales document is created. For example, one or more quotations can serve as reference documents for a sales order. In this case, the system copies the relevant data to the sales order and the user does not need to maintain everything manually.
The figure, Creating a Sales Order, displays possible combinations of quotations and sales orders.
A sales document is divided into three levels: firstly, the header level, secondly, the item level, and thirdly, the schedule line level. The data is distributed across these levels as follows:
When you create documents within the sales and distribution process, some data in the corresponding master records may be missing (for example, the weight of the material) and therefore, cannot be copied to the document. If you are not able to maintain the respective fields manually because you do not know the correct values, the document remains incomplete. However, incomplete documents can be saved if the system is customized correspondingly. Depending on which fields are incomplete, the execution of certain follow-up functions (for example, the creation of outbound deliveries with reference to a sales order) may not be allowed as long as the document is incomplete.
The user can get an overview of the incomplete fields in a document using the incompletion log. The respective fields can be accessed directly from the incompletion log if the user wishes to complete them. You can use several apps and list transactions to identify the incomplete documents.
The figure, Incompleteness Check, illustrates the concept of incompleteness checks.
Before the ordered material can be delivered to the customer, it has to be procured. The way in which a material is procured can depend on the material itself and on the sales transaction.
The material can be procured as follows:
The figure, Supply of Goods, covers the integration of materials management functions within the sales and distribution process.
When the procurement of the requested material is assured, the shipping process can begin. In SAP S/4HANA Cloud, the creation of outbound deliveries is the first step of the shipping process. An outbound delivery order contains all of the data that is required for triggering and monitoring the complete outbound delivery process. In other words, the outbound delivery order is the basis for the implementation of picking activities.
The outbound delivery controls, supports, and monitors numerous process steps, such as:
Outbound deliveries are normally created with reference to one or more sales orders. In that way, the relevant information (such as materials and quantities) can be copied from the sales order to the delivery.
Outbound deliveries are the basic documents for the various activities that occur during the shipping process (such as picking, packing, and posting the goods issue). In most cases, they are created with reference to one or more sales orders that are ready to be shipped. Because of the reference, the system can copy all relevant data from the order(s) to the outbound delivery.
You can create one or more outbound deliveries with reference to a single order. Furthermore, multiple items from different sales orders can be combined in an outbound delivery. To combine them successfully, the orders must correspond to characteristics that are essential for the shipping process, for example:
The system can create deliveries either online or as a background job to be executed during off-peak hours.
The figure, Outbound Deliveries, shows how you can create outbound deliveries with reference to sales orders.
A delivery document is grouped into two levels: 1) header level, and 2) item level. The data is distributed across these levels as follows:
The data for the document header is valid for the entire document. This includes, for example, data for the ship-to party and deadlines for shipping processing.
Each item in the delivery document contains its own data. This includes, for example, data about the material, quantities, weights, and stock information. Each delivery document can contain several items, and the individual items can be controlled differently. Examples include material items, free-of-charge items, or text items.
Unlike sales documents, delivery documents do not contain schedule lines. Each schedule line in the sales document can become an item in the delivery document.
The figure, Structure of Delivery Documents, shows the structure of outbound deliveries.
Posting the goods issue is often the final step in the shipping process. When the goods issue is posted, the following activities are performed automatically:
The quantity in inventory management and the delivery requirements in materials planning are updated.
Balance sheet accounts
The value change in the balance sheet accounts for inventory accounting is posted (the postings from the relevant accounting document are based on the cost of the material).
Additional documents are created for financial accounting.
Billing due list
The respective delivery can now be used as the basis for billing.
The status in all the associated documents is updated.
The figure, Issuing of Goods, shows the impact of the goods issue.
When the shipping process is completed, the billing documents can be created. This can be done with reference to one or more outbound deliveries (when selling physical products) or with reference to sales orders (when selling services). In both cases, the relevant information is copied from the preceding documents into the billing document. The billing document serves as a data source for financial accounting, to help you monitor and process customer payments.
When a billing document is created, the general ledger accounts are normally determined automatically and the relevant data is posted. The system creates the following:
The incoming payment from the customer is recorded within the accounting department. The data on the relevant general ledger accounts is then posted automatically as follows:
Strictly speaking, the recording incoming payments is not part of the core sales and distribution process. Nevertheless, the standard sales process can be affected by unpaid invoices, if you check the line of credit for your customers during order creation.
The main type of billing document is the invoice. The creation of invoices is often the last step in a sales and distribution process. You can create invoices with reference to outbound deliveries (if you have delivered physical products to the customer) or with reference to sales orders (if you have sold services).
The system can combine a number of preceding documents (such as outbound deliveries) in one billing document, providing these documents have the same values for some relevant characteristics, such as:
The system can create invoices either online or as a background job to be executed during off-peak hours.
The figure, Creating a Billing Document, shows the creation of invoices with reference to outbound deliveries.
A billing document is divided into two levels: 1) header level, and 2) item level. The data is distributed across these levels as follows:
The data for the document header is valid for the entire document. This includes, for example, data about the payer and the billing date.
Each item in the billing document contains its own data. This includes, for example, details about the material, billing quantities, and net values for the items. Each billing document can have several items.
The figure, Billing Document Structure, shows the structure of billing documents.
When you save the billing document, the system automatically generates all the required documents for accounting. It performs a debit posting on the customer receivables account and a credit posting on the revenue account. The postings can be reproduced using the corresponding accounting document, which can be accessed directly using the billing document or using the document flow.
Furthermore, the system can automatically generate additional documents for financial accounting (for controlling, as well as for profitability analysis).
When the billing document is saved, the following activities also occur:
The figure, Effects of Billing, shows the possible effects of creating billing documents.
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