Outlining Workflows for Purchase Orders

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Get an overview of workflows for purchase orders

Workflows for Purchase Orders

Flexible Workflow for Purchase Orders

The flexible workflow is a general function that allows you to define condition-based workflows for approval processes. For purchase orders, you can set up automatic, one-step, or multi-step approval workflows. You can assign one or more approvers to each step. You can define approvers by role, or you can assign individual users or teams as approvers. The approvers can then approve or reject the corresponding work items in the app My Inbox.

The flexible workflow for purchase orders can be activated or deactivated by a configuration expert in the implementation cockpit.

By default, all purchase orders are approved automatically as long as you have not defined any workflows.

Approvers receive notifications about new work items in the SAP Fiori launchpad. If required, you can also configure email notifications to be sent to them. Initiators of the workflow are notified if the work item is approved or rejected.

If you do not want all purchase orders to be approved automatically, you need to configure the flexible workflow.

Role Configuration Expert - Business Process Configuration (SAP_BR_BPC_EXPERT) is required for defining the workflows.

The following table shows the roles and apps that are used in the workflow definition.

Workflow Definition

Users who define the required workflows for purchase ordersConfiguration Expert - Business Process Configuration (SAP_BR_BPC_EXPERT)Manage Workflows for Purchase Orders
Users who translate the texts of defined workflows into other languagesBusiness Catalog: Business Process Management – Translation (SAP_CORE_BC_BPM_I18N) - An administrator must assign this catalog to the required business role.Workflow Content Translation

As soon as the start preconditions for a workflow are met, this workflow is used. Defining the order ensures that only one workflow is started, even if several workflows have matching start preconditions.

  • If none of the start preconditions is met, the active default workflow Automatic Approval of PO is used, provided that it is active.

  • If you define your own default workflow, you must ensure that it is positioned at the end of the defined order and that it is active.

The following table shows the roles and apps that are used in the business process.

Business Process

Users who create purchase orders or users who want to view the approval status of a documentPurchaser (SAP_BR_PURCHASER)Manage Purchase Orders
ApproversPurchasing Manager (SAP_BR_PURCHASING_MANAGER)My Inbox

Manage Workflows for Purchase Orders

Using the app Manage Workflows for Purchase Orders, you create the workflows, define the preconditions, assign recipients, define the order in which the preconditions are checked, and activate or deactivate the workflows.

The app provides several options for determining the approver, such as the approval by the cost center responsible, but you can also assign users directly. If a workflow with one or more steps is activated and the configured start conditions are fulfilled, the approval process is initiated. You:

  • Define start conditions for a workflow, such as the company code, or the account assignment category Cost Center.

  • Define the order in which the start conditions of existing workflows are checked.

    If you have defined several workflows, the start conditions are checked in the order you have defined them. As soon as the start conditions for a workflow are met, this workflow is used. This ensures that only one workflow in the list of your defined workflows is started, even if several workflows have matching start conditions.

  • Navigate into the details of a workflow.

  • Activate or deactivate a workflow.

  • Copy an existing workflow and modify it according to your requirements, or add a new workflow. You can configure the workflow as follows:

    • Define properties such as a description and a validity period.

    • In the Preconditions section, you can define the criteria that need to be fulfilled for the workflow to start. You can choose a company code for example. If you use Total net amount of purchase order is greater than, the currency is automatically converted based on the exchange rate at the time the workflow is triggered.
  • Add one or more step sequences. For each step sequence, you define recipients and preconditions. You can define the order of the steps, and you can delete unnecessary steps.
    If you use either the role Person Responsible for Cost Center with Highest Debit or Person Responsible for Project with Highest Debit as the recipient, use either the account assignment category Cost Center or Project respectively as the corresponding precondition. If you use either the role Manager of Last Approver, Manager of Workflow Initiator, or Manager of Workflow Initiator's Manager, each manager must be maintained in the system. This ensures that the workflow can find the correct approver.
  • Use the Automatic Release of Purchase Order, which is delivered by SAP, as a fallback option. By default, this workflow is activated.

  • Use the configuration option that is available using the Maintain Email Templates app. It enables you to send an email notification to the recipients of a workflow item when the workflow item is available in the My Inbox app.
  • Mark the workflow steps as optional. Select Yes in the field propertyIs Optional Step to mark the step as optional. If a workflow step is marked optional and an approver cannot be determined for the step then the step gets skipped, and the workflow automatically moves to the next step, if any.
  • Get notifications on fiori launchpad when agent cannot be determined while execution of a purchase order workflow.
  • Choose to exclude creator of the purchase order from the workflow recipient list.
    • On choosing the option Exclude PO Creator in Exclude Restricted Agents while creating a workflow, the creator of the purchase order does not receive purchase orders created by them for approval in their inbox.

    • The Exclude PO Creator option is not relevant for automatic release of purchase orders.

    • After exclusion, if no recipients are determined, the workflow moves to error, unless the step is marked as optional.

  • Include purchase order header data in the email that is sent to the approvers when the approval for a purchase order is pending.

    To include purchase order header data in the email, update the custom email template created from the pre-delivered template MMPUR_PO_WFL_DEADLINE_EMAIL.

    You can see the detailed configuration on SAP HelpHow to enable email notifications for pending purchase order approvals?

    You can also find a tailored example for email notification set for purchase orders.

    Example: How to Set up the Email Notification for the Flexible Workflow

You can now use a new workflow step type Release of Reworkable Purchase Order. This step type provides approvers with an additional option to send back purchase orders to purchase order creators for rework. You can also configure the resultant action for Rework Requested exception as Repeat Step, Restart Workflow, or Continue. Inquiry in approval process of Purchase Order offers the possibility to communicate with requestors for any queries or rework. That way approvers can receive the needed information in the 'My Inbox'- app without having to reject the Purchase Orders in the first place.

In case re-work required for a Purchase Order, Approver can send Purchase Order for re-work to be done by requestor and avoid the situation to reject the Purchase Order

  • Approver can provide comments detailing the re-work to be done in the Purchase Order
  • Requestor can see the comments provided by Approver in the Purchase Order, make necessary changes in the Purchase Order and then submit it again for approval
This feature is available only if the business switch Activate Purchase Order Inquiry Workflow is activated. Note that this switch is irreversible, you cannot switch it off once you have enabled it.

You can maintain the deadlines for a purchase order by defining, for example, a number of days after a purchase order was created, when the approval should have been finished.

After the deadline is passed, the steps are marked as overdue in approval details (in the Manage Purchase Orders app) and as overdue for approvers in the My Inbox app.

You can set the workflow deadline in minutes, hours, days, or workdays.

Workdays are determined based on the factory calendar. The factory calendar can be defined using the BAdI Determination of Factory Calendar for Workflow Deadline (MMPUR_PROC_WF_FACTORY_CALENDAR). If there is no custom logic defined, all days of the week are considered workdays.

My Inbox - Approve Purchase Orders

You can use the Approve Purchase Order app to make important decisions with mobile or desktop devices anywhere and anytime. Using this app, you can approve purchase orders that you are assigned as approver.

Using Manage Purchase Ordersapp, you can send a rejected purchase order for approval. To send a rejected purchase order for approval, you can edit and save the purchase order. The purchase order will go for approval even if no changes are made to the purchase order after selecting Edit and then Order.

The purchase order can be subject to approval before being issued to a supplier. Therefore, the approver will base his or her decision on various facts. The My Inbox app shows the account assignment and the schedule line details during the approval process to support this decision.

You can navigate into an item and limit the item details. You can get an overview of account assignment details for all items as well as an overview of account assignment details for the schedule lines of non-limit items.

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