Acquiring a Basic Understanding of Available-to-Promise (ATP)

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain the concept of an Available-to-Promise (ATP) check

Sally and Jim Talk About Availability

Note
See the following video to learn how Sally and Jim talk about a previously entered sales order for Galileo Bikes. They are now working on this order, and discuss the concept of an availability check:

A Theoretical Foundation

An Available-to-Promise (ATP) Check in Sales

Note
See the following video to learn more about executing an ATP check in SAP S/4HANA Sales:
Note

Whether a material or operation is relevant for an ATP check depends on various Customizing objects and parameters, as well as the corresponding fields in the material master record. The following objects can be relevant in this context:

  • Requirements Class
  • Requirements Type
  • Schedule Line Category
  • Delivery Item Category
  • Checking Group
  • Planning Strategy
  • MRP Group
  • Strategy Group

Level of the ATP Check

The level on which the ATP check can be carried out is shown. This level can be either plant (in, for example, the sales order) or plant and storage location (in, for example, the outbound delivery).

The availability check for sales documents and deliveries is basically carried out at plant/storage location level, if the storage location check is not deactivated in Customizing.

In sales documents, the availability check takes place in the plant of the order item. The plant is usually determined automatically by plant determination based on master data. The possible master data in which the delivering plant can be defined is prioritized as follows:

  1. Customer-Material Info Record
  2. Customer Master Record of the Ship-To Party of the Item
  3. Material Master Record

However, the plant of the order item can also be specified manually during processing.

If the material is not available in the original plant, the plant in the order item can be replaced manually by another plant, if Advanced Available-to-Promise (aATP) is deactivated. If Advanced Available-to-Promise (aATP) is activated, the plant of the order item can be replaced automatically as part of Alternative-Based Confirmation (ABC) by one or more plants. Shipping then takes place from this plant(s).

In the solution Available-to-Promise, automatic determination of the storage location is not possible in sales documents. The availability check of the sales documents is therefore only storage-location-specific if a storage location is specified for the document item manually or by system adjustment.

In the business function Advanced Available-to-Promise (aATP), as part of Alternative-Based Confirmation (ABC), the storage location can be determined automatically for the order item. The availability is then checked in this plant/storage location combination. If the material is not available in the storage location, it can be replaced by another storage location or by another storage locations with cumulative ATP quantity. The selection of the storage location can be defined in the Manage Substitutions - Locations app, and influenced by the alternative determination of the substitution strategy.

Outbound delivery items usually have a storage location in addition to the plant. The availability check then always takes place at the delivering plant and storage location level of the delivery item, except if the availability check at storage location level is deactivated. The storage location is usually determined automatically in deliveries.

Depending on the characteristics of the requirement (plant, plant/storage location), the availability check is carried out at different levels. For example, if a requirement only refers to a plant, the check is only carried out at plant level. However, if the requirement refers to a storage location, the system must also check for the storage location. The level with the lowest cumulative ATP quantity determines the result.

Note
Use the following simulation to learn how to analyze the level of the ATP check of a sales order item:

Effective Date of an ATP Check

The point in time for which the ATP check is executed is shown. This is the material availability date, which is determined based on shipment scheduling. Shipment scheduling takes the required (or requested) delivery date as a starting point.

The availability check in the order is usually preceded by shipment and transportation scheduling. If Advanced Available-to-Promise (aATP) is activated, if applicable, by Business Process Scheduling (BPS), scheduling determines various dates. From the point of view of the availability check, the material availability date is decisive.

If scheduling is activated, the material availability date is first determined through backward scheduling, starting from the requested delivery date. The availability check refers to the material availability date. This is the requirement date. The material had to be available on the material availability date, because only then can the shipping process start. If the material availability date is today, that is, the same as the order entry date or in the future, and the material is available on the material availability date, the requested delivery date can be confirmed. A schedule line is generated for the sales document item and the requested quantity and date are confirmed.

If the material availability date calculated by backward scheduling is in the past or if the material is not available on the material availability date, the requested delivery date cannot be confirmed. SAP S/4HANA then tries to determine the next possible delivery date(s) using forward scheduling. The earliest point in time at which the material is available, is the or is a material availability date. This is the starting point for forward scheduling to propose the or a possible delivery date.

If scheduling for the sales document is deactivated, the requested delivery date corresponds to the material availability date.

Note
Use the following simulation to learn how to check the requested delivery date and the material availability date of a sales order item:

Check Against the Cumulative Available-to-Promise (ATP) Quantity

The logic that the ATP check uses, is shown. The ATP check is successful if a sufficient, cumulative ATP quantity is available on the material availability date.

The Available-to-Promise (ATP) check is successful if there is sufficient cumulative ATP quantity for the material, on the material availability date, in the plant or plant/storage location of the item.

The basic check logic of the ATP check is hard-coded and cannot be changed in Customizing. Starting from the material availability date of the order item into the past, the system checks whether there are stocks or receipts with sufficient ATP quantities. If yes, the order item is confirmed as requested and the material is reserved for this order item. As a result, the confirmed quantity reduces the ATP quantity of the stocks or receipts against which it was confirmed. Sales orders can only reduce ATP quantities whose date lies before the material availability date. The ATP quantities of the stocks and receipts are totaled during each check to calculate a cumulative ATP quantity. This means that if there is sufficient cumulative ATP quantity on the material availability date, the requirement is confirmed. If this is not the case, the system checks whether cumulative ATP quantity exists from the material availability date into the future and, if yes, creates one or more delivery proposals. Since confirmed requirements reduce the cumulative ATP quantity, the material is reserved for the requirement. Which stocks, receipts, and requirements are considered in the calculation of the cumulative ATP quantity is defined in Customizing of the scope of check.

Note
See the following video to learn about the calculation of the cumulative ATP quantity:
Note

With this logic, the system does not consider the confirmed quantity of already created sales orders. If receipts are moved into the future and/or reduced, it is possible that the ATP quantity of the receipt that lies before a sales order is now too small to cover the already confirmed sales order quantity. This can lead to shortage situations.

To avoid this, a shortage check can be activated in different variants in Customizing for the checking group (and therefore material-plant-dependent). As the case may be, unconfirmed requirements are also taken into account when calculating the cumulative ATP quantity. If, for example, the shortage check is activated with the value 3 (cumulate the requirements quantity when creating and cumulate the confirmed quantity when making changes), requirements are taken into account when the cumulative ATP quantity is calculated during sales order creation. This means that not only confirmed requirements, but also unconfirmed requirements reduce the cumulative ATP quantity. A new sales orders can then only be confirmed if the sum of the receipts exceeds the sum of the requirements quantities.

If orders are processed in change mode (VA02), only confirmed requirements are deducted during the calculation of the cumulative ATP quantity for this variant of the shortage check. This means that the sales orders can only be confirmed if the sum of the receipts exceeds the sum of the confirmed quantities.

The check logic is illustrated in the following example.

A screenshot is shown showing the unrestricted and quality inspection stock and the fact that you can select (with a flag) whether quality inspection stock is included in the scope of check or not.
Currently, 80 pieces of unrestricted use stock are taken into account during an ATP check for material T-ATP100 . Quality inspection stock has not been flagged as included in the calculation of the cumulative ATP quantity for this material.

For material T-ATP100, there are 80 pieces of unrestricted-use stock and 20 pieces of stock in quality inspection in plant 1010, storage location 101A. Unrestricted-use stock is always taken into account when calculating the cumulative ATP quantity. Quality inspection stock is only taken into account if it is defined in Customizing which, in this example, it is not. This means that unrestricted-use stock accounts for 80 pieces of the ATP quantity in the calculation of the cumulative ATP quantity. Stock always refers to today and therefore, in plant 1010 and plant/storage location 1010/101A, the cumulative ATP quantity from today to all eternity is 80 pieces.

A screenshot is shown with a purchase order quantity on it and the fact that you can select whether to include purchase orders in the scope of check or not.
A purchase order for 60 pieces of material T-ATP100, with a delivery date of June 30th, for plant 1010 and storage location 101A has been entered. This increases the cumulative ATP quantity on this date with 60 pieces (to 140 pieces in total). Both on plant and on plant/storage location level. In addition, there is a second purchase order item for material T-ATP100 of 40 pieces, with a delivery date of July 31, for plant 1010, without specifying a storage location. This in turn, again increases the cumulative ATP quantity on this date with 40 pieces (to a total of 180 pieces) on plant level. This second purchase order item has no effect on storage location level.

A purchase order has been entered in the system for 60 pieces of material T-ATP100, with a delivery date of 30.06.2023, for plant 1010, and storage location 101A.

In addition, there is a second purchase order item for 40 pieces of material T-ATP100, with a delivery date of 31.07.2023, for plant 1010, without specifying a storage location.

As it has been defined in Customizing that purchase orders are included in the calculation of the cumulative ATP quantity, and the storage location check is not deactivated, the following situation arises for material T-ATP100 in plant 1010:

  • Cumulative ATP quantity starting from today until the delivery date of the first purchase order item (30.06.2023): 80 pieces.

  • Cumulative ATP quantity starting from the delivery date of the first purchase order item (30.06.2023) up to the delivery date of the second purchase order item (31.07.2023): 140 pieces.

  • Cumulative ATP quantity starting from the delivery date of the second purchase order item (31.07.2023) onwards into the future: 180 pieces.

The situation for material T-ATP100, in plant 1010, for storage location 101A is as follows:

  • Cumulative ATP quantity starting from today until the delivery date of the first purchase order item (30.06.2023): 80 pieces.

  • Cumulative ATP quantity starting from the delivery date of the first purchase order item (30.06.2023) onwards into the future: 140 pieces.

Note
The second purchase order item has no storage location information and is therefore only taken into account at plant level when calculating the cumulative ATP quantity.
A screenshot is shown showing a sales order quantity and the fact that you can define whether sales requirements are considered in the scope of check or not.
The figure shows a sales order for 70 pieces for July 13th. Backward scheduling calculates the material availability date (= requirement date) of July 10th and the requested delivering plant 1010. The sales order item does not contain a storage location. This means that availability can only be checked at plant level.

A sales order is entered in this initial situation for 70 pieces of material T-ATP100, with a requested delivery date of 13.07.2023. Backward scheduling calculates the material availability date (= requirement date) of 10.07.2023 and the requested delivering plant is 1010. The sales order item does not contain a storage location. This means that availability can only be checked at plant level.

On 10.07.2023, the cumulative ATP quantity in plant 1010 is 140 pieces, so the sales order requirement of 70 pieces can be confirmed as requested. The availability check in the order item is successful and therefore runs invisibly for the user. The result is a schedule line confirmed as requested for the sales order item.

Since the delivery of the item takes place in the future, the confirmed quantity of 70 pieces must be "reserved" for this sales order item. This is achieved by reducing the cumulative ATP quantity by the confirmed quantity. However, this assumes that the sales document is taken into account (that is, deducted) when calculating the cumulative ATP quantity. This is defined in Customizing in this scenario. Requirements always reduce the ATP quantity of the stock or receipts that are the closest to them when looking into the past. However, the ATP quantities of the stock and receipts are only reduced after the order has been saved (see the figure "Situation After Saving the Sales Order").

As a result, the next requirement has less cumulative ATP quantity available for confirmation. However, this also means that the cumulative ATP quantity is distributed according to the first come, first served principle.

After saving the sales order, the cumulative ATP quantity for material T-ATP100 in plant 1010 is 70 pieces.

After saving the sales order, the cumulative ATP quantity for material T-ATP100 in plant 1010 is as follows:

  • Cumulative ATP quantity starting from today until the delivery date of the second purchase order item (31.07.2023): 70 pieces.

    The unrestricted-use stock now delivers only 70 pieces of the ATP quantity. The purchase order item of the first purchase order no longer delivers an ATP quantity, since requirements always reduce the ATP quantity of the stock or receipts that are closest to them when looking into the past.

  • Cumulative ATP quantity starting from the delivery date of the second purchase order item (31.07.2023) onwards into the future: 110 pieces.

The situation for material T-ATP100, in plant 1010, in storage location 101A is as follows:

  • Cumulative ATP quantity starting from today until the delivery date of the first purchase order item (30.06.2023): 80 pieces.

  • Cumulative ATP quantity starting from the delivery date of the first purchase order item (30.06.2023) onwards into the future: 140 pieces.

Note
The sales order item has no storage location information, and is therefore only taken into account on plant level not on storage location level when calculating the cumulative ATP quantity.
Note
The second purchase order item has no storage location information, and is therefore only taken into account at plant level when calculating the cumulative ATP quantity.

Note
Use the following simulation to learn how to analyze the scope of check of an ATP check:

Available-to-Promise (ATP) Check with the Replenishment Lead Time

The concept of an ATP check using the replenishment lead time is explained. The availability is checked only until the end of the replenishment lead time, after this any quantity is confirmed.

The availability check can also be carried out using the replenishment lead time of a material.

Note
See the following video to learn more about an ATP check taking into account the replenishment lead time of a material:
Note

Performing the availability check including replenishment lead time only makes sense if materials planning is carried out at regular intervals (preferably, daily for individual and daily requirements and weekly for weekly requirements). This is necessary as the requirement date for a sales order which has been confirmed on the day after replenishment lead time ends is found on the next day within the replenishment lead time period and this leads to insufficient stock being available. This shortage can result in problems such as delivery creation being blocked.

Statements About the Availability Situation

A screenshot of the app Monitor Stock/Requirements List is shown.

The Monitor Stock/Requirements List app shows the current stock/requirements situation for a certain material. It shows available quantities, but not the cumulative ATP quantity. It should therefore not be used to determine availability of the material for a new requirements element.

A screenshot of the Stock: Single Material app is shown.

The Stock: Single Material app shows the current stock level of a certain material, but the cumulative ATP quantity is not displayed. However, the availability statement is based only on the cumulative ATP quantity. For example, the Stock: Single Material app does not show whether this stock has already been assigned to a certain requirements element. It should therefore not be used to determine availability of the material for a new requirements element.

A screenshot is shown of the Availability Overview app, which shows the cumulative ATP quantity.

Statements about the availability situation of a material can only be made based on the cumulative ATP quantity. The Availability Overview app can be used for this.

Note

The Check Material Coverage app also cannot be used for statements about the availability of a material, as it also does not show the cumulative ATP quantity.

Using an app like this often leads to a misinterpretation of the availability situation.

Delivery Agreements in the Context of the Available-to-Promise (ATP) Check

An example is shown of a sales order that is first delivered in full and next what it would look like if partial deliveries are allowed for this sales order: the customer receives items (i.e. partial quantities) earlier.

If sales order items are not available or are not available as requested, the delivery agreements defined in the order together with the availability situation determine the delivery dates. For example, if complete delivery is defined in the sales order and only one item cannot be confirmed as requested, delivery of the entire sales order waits until it can be delivered completely. If a partial delivery is allowed, the items that are available as requested can be delivered in advance and other items are subsequently delivered. Individual items can also be partially delivered.

The complete delivery flag in the business partner master record is shown (as well as other partial delivery related fields). You can also see the partial delivery fields as present in the customer/material information record, and how all of these fields/indicators are copied into the sales order header and item.

You set the complete delivery indicator in the sales order header. It can be proposed from the business partner master record of the sold to party. You define the partial delivery agreement in the sales order item. It can be proposed from the business partner master of the sold to party or, with a higher priority, from the customer/material information record. You can change the default parameters manually when you enter a sales order.

Note
Use the following simulation to learn how to check the delivery agreements made for a sales order:

Interaction Between the Availability Check and the Transfer of Requirements

Requirements from Sales and Distribution can be transferred to materials planning.

If a material is planned using Material Requirements Planning, requirements control the procurement of the material.

In principle, a material can be planned in advance. Procurement is then always triggered by planned independent requirements. Stock is built up and sold by the warehouse. If the planning is correct, the material is then available as requested because the incoming sales orders were anticipated in the planned independent requirements.

However, customer requirements can also be relevant for MRP to compensate for planning errors. Whether a material is planned in advance, whether customer requirements are relevant for MRP, whether and how customer requirements consume planned independent requirements, is decided for each material and plant by specifying the planning strategy(s).

If customer requirements are relevant for MRP, the MRP run will recognize the shortage if there is a lack of availability and generate a procurement proposal. For externally procured materials, a purchase requisition is created and the purchasing department is asked to order. If the material is produced in-house, or if both procurement types are possible, the MRP run generates a planned order that is then converted into a production order or into a purchase requisition. These receipt elements become stock with the goods receipt posting. As a result, in a situation where a material is not initially available in an order due to the transfer of requirements and the receipt element generated by the periodically scheduled MRP run, these elements need to be taken into account in the calculation of the cumulative ATP quantity. Otherwise, the customer requirement could be confirmed at the latest after the goods receipt of these receipts into unrestricted-use stock. However, backorder processing is necessary for this, as requirements (for example, sales orders) do not repeat the availability check.

Note

In SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition or in SAP S/4HANA on-premise, the Supply Creation-Based Confirmation (SBC) feature can be used when Advanced Available-to-Promise (aATP) is activated.

SBC provides an integration between aATP and Production Planning and Detailed Scheduling (PP/DS). This integration enables confirmations of sales order requirements if the available quantity of the requested product is not sufficient, in which receipt elements (planned orders, purchase requisitions, or stock transfer requisitions) are created directly from the availability check. When creating the planned order, the system checks the available capacity of the most important resources and the availability of the components according to PP/DS logic. The system then uses the receipt date of the procurement proposals to determine the confirmation date(s) for the sales order item. The procurement proposal is generated directly when using the SBC function. No MRP run is necessary for this. In addition, the customer requirement is also immediately confirmed against the procurement proposal. In this context, backorder processing is not necessary for this.

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