Packaging to Create Handling Units

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain the concept of packaging
  • Create master data and configuration for packaging
  • Execute packaging in an outbound delivery

Concept of Packaging

You can use Handling Unit Management (HUM) to reflect packing-based logistics structures. Using this method, you track the movements of entire handling units (HUs) and the materials they contain rather than tracking each material individually. When you base logistics processes on handling units, goods movements processing is made easier, which in turn optimizes all logistics operations. Business benefits of using handling unit management include the following:

  • Reflect packing-based logistic structures
  • Use of a unique identifier across all locations
  • Track movements of packed goods in logistics more easily

An HU is a physical unit consisting of packaging materials (load carriers/packing material) and the goods contained on/in it. An HU is always a combination of products and packaging materials. All the information contained in the product items, for example, about batches, are retained in the handling units. Handling units can be nested, meaning that you can also create new handling units from several handling units as often as you like. An example for the nested structure would be a material, that you pack in cartons, and these cartons you stack on a pallet. Furthermore, handling units have unique identification numbers that can be formed according to standards such as EAN 128 or SSCC.

If this scope item is set up, a main process creating the delivery is required as a prerequisite.

The following are the key features of handling unit management:

  • Manage handling units:

    A handling unit is a physical unit consisting of packaging materials and the products contained in it.

  • Manage packaging material:

    Packaging materials are intended to enclose or hold together the materials that are to be packed. In other words, the material that is to be packed can be packed into or onto the packaging material. The packaging material can be a load carrier. The most important packaging materials include boxes, wire baskets, and pallets.

  • Manage handling unit identification:

    In a customer system, a handling unit is identified uniquely across all locations. The uniqueness of handling unit numbers is ensured by using one of the following number range objects:

    • Internal numbering

    • Serial shipping container codes (SSCC)

    • Global transport label (GTL)

  • Manage packing instructions:

    Customers often specify precisely the quantity in which their goods should be packed in a specific combination of packaging materials. These requirements for specific packing procedures often cause considerable costs for the supplier of the products concerned. Packing instructions enable the supplier to automate the packing process. Depending on specific characteristics, the system creates proposals for handling units based on the previously defined packing instructions. Based on this proposal, the supplier can pack the materials according to customer requirements, and then create the HU in the system.

  • Monitor handling units:

    The Monitor Handling Units app supports a shipping specialist, to monitor the path of a HU through your business transactions. The app displays all handling unit information such as status, referenced documents, handling unit hierarchy ancestors, and other properties. You can get an overview of handling units (HUs) created in your plant, warehouse, and storage location, and directly monitor all HU-relevant information.

  • Output processing:

    Output management for handling unit management supports you in fulfilling certain printing standard requirements:

    • HU Shipping Label is a printout to support the shipping process of a delivery (form template HU_SHIPPING_LABEL_WM).

    • HU Shipping Label based on VDA recommendation is a special printout to support the automotive industry with unique global transport labels (form template HU_SHIPPING_LABEL).

    • HU Label is a printout which includes the HU number and the packaging material (form template HU_LABEL).

The user responsible for the handling unit management should have the roles SAP_BR_SHIPPING_SPECIALIST, SAP_BR_PRODMASTER_SPECIALIST, and SAP_BR_HU_MASTER_SPECIALIST assigned.

Master Data and Configuration for Packaging

To efficiently use handling unit (HU) management, you need to create packaging materials. If you want to automate the packing process, you also need to create packing instructions.

Packaging materials are special types of materials that can be used for packing or for transporting goods. During packing, you must always specify a packaging material so that HUs can be created. Packaging materials are intended to enclose or hold together the materials that are to be packed. This means that the material you are going to pack can be packed into, or onto, the packaging material. You must maintain the material master data for each packaging material that you want to use.

To create material master records for packaging materials, you have to use the material type VERP (packaging). The material type, VERP, contains additional packing-relevant fields (Sales: General/Plant Data screen). The gross weight and the volume that you enter in the material master have special significance for packing. When you create a HU, the system automatically copies the packaging material’s master data and uses the gross weight and volume as the tare weight and tare volume of the packaging material.

  • Packaging material type

    The packaging material type is a grouping of packaging materials with several control parameters, which control, for example, the number assignment for HUs.

  • Allowed packing weight / volume

    This controls the maximum total weight / volume for a HU. If the allowed weight / volume for packing is reached, a system message appears and further packing operations are carried out using a new HU, if required.

  • Excess weight / volume tolerance

    This field defines a percentage tolerance limit, up to which the allowed packing weight / volume of a handling unit can be exceeded.

  • Closed

    This field allows you to control whether the total volume is going to be changed or remain the same during packing, for example, for a container.

Packing instructions define the relationship between the packed goods and the packaging material (load carrier) that together form the handling unit. The structure allows a nested definition of HUs, like those shown in the figure.

The following apps are used in the context of packing with packing instructions:

  • Create / Change / Display Packing Instruction - Master Data
  • Remove Deletion Flag for Packing Instruction - Master Data
  • Determination Records for Packing Instructions - Master Data
  • Components in Packing Instructions - Master Data
  • Test Packing Instructions - Master Data
  • Create / Change / Display Determination Record - Packing Instruction

For the determination of packing instructions the condition technique is applied. You define a packing instruction / reference packing instruction that refers to specific characteristics, such as material / reference material and ship-to party. If you now want to pack this specific material for this specific ship-to party, the system can find the predefined packing instruction and use it to create one or more HU proposals that exactly fit the requirements of the customer. Packing instruction determination thus automates the packing process. Prerequisites for the determination are as follows:

  • A packing instruction / reference packing instruction for packing with packing instructions has been created.

  • Configuration for packing instruction determination is preset in the system.

  • Determination records have been defined.

Packaging in an Outbound Delivery

Automatic packing allows you to use packing instructions to create handling units (HUs) automatically in outbound deliveries. The system automatically determines the packing instructions for the materials to be packed and then the material is packed according to the packing instructions that are found.

The second option is manual packing. Packing delivery items is carried out right in the delivery itself. From the overview screen, choose Pack in order to access the packing screen. In the packing screen, you can pack delivery items in HUs and allocate individual items to several HUs. In Pack materials overview, you can pack a particular quantity of a material into a HU; in Pack HUs overview, you can pack HUs into other HUs.

See the following video to learn about the procedure that describes how to pack delivery items into HUs.

You can pack HUs into each other. In this case, packing is multi-level. The number of possible packing levels is 999999. Items that have already been packed can be unpacked again. This is also the case for multi-level packed HUs. If the weight or volume limit is reached when packing items into the HUs, then only the maximum packable partial quantity is packed. If you have selected another HU that has space for packing, the remaining quantities are packed into that HU. HUs can be deleted in the delivery. First, the HU that is going to be deleted is unpacked and removed from any higher-level HUs (if applicable) before the deletion is executed. HUs can be emptied. Unlike unpacking, where only selected items from the HU are removed, here the HU in question is completely emptied.

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