Listing Simplifications for the Material Master in SAP S/4HANA


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • List some simplifications for the material master in SAP S/4HANA

Changes Related to the Material Master Record

A screenshot of a material master record is shown, showing that its name can consist of 40 characters.

With SAP S/4HANA, the maximum field length of the material number is extended from 18 to 40 characters.

This is a functionality that a customer needs to switch ON (if desired) during the system conversion project from SAP ERP to SAP S/4HAHA.

Where required, specific logic is in place and can be executed automatically in case a customer converts their current SAP Business Suite system to SAP S/4HANA, on-premise.

A customer converting their system to SAP S/4HANA needs to be aware of the following related to this specific simplification:

  • It might be required to adapt custom code as a result of the material number field length extension.

  • In a multi-system landscape, the customer has to decide if and when to switch on the material number field length extension functionality. This is because the switch impacts compatibility with respect to system communications within a system landscape.

Storage of the Material Number in the Database

Extending the material number field length in the database means that the length of the MATNR field is extended from 18 to 40 characters. This has been done in all tables (and all fields within the tables) in which a material number can be stored and in all print forms where the material number is to be an output.

Although the maximum length of the database field used to store the material number is now 40 characters, the way in which the material number content is stored in the database field has not changed compared to SAP ERP. This means that a data conversion is normally not required when converting from SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA. This is especially true for pure numeric material numbers. With standard customizing (leading zeroes are not significant, lexicographic flag not set), pure numeric material numbers are still restricted to 18 characters and will be filled up by leading zeroes only up to 18 characters. This is the same behavior as in SAP ERP.

This way of storing material number content in the SAP S/4HANA system that SAP has chosen, avoids data conversions in the database.


Data conversion will be needed when a material number is stored in a field that has concatenated content. Concatenation in the code uses the complete technical length of the field (which now is 40 characters) and is also reflected in the database content.

The Material Number in Released External Interfaces

Usually, a customer has a multi-system landscape; the ERP system is connected to miscellaneous internal and external (SAP or non-SAP) systems. Accordingly, an SAP S/4HANA system with a material number field length of 40 characters needs to consider this multi-system landscape requirement, where not all related systems are able to deal with a 40 character material number. Furthermore, it cannot be assumed that all ERP systems in a customer landscape will be converted to SAP S/4HANA at the same point in time. This means that the external interfaces used for integration have to be able to deal with both material numbers with a field length of 18 characters and also with material numbers with a field length of 40 characters. This is especially relevant for commonly used integration techniques like BAPI, RFC, and IDoc. This is true because these techniques rely on a fixed field length and a fixed order of these fields in the data being integrated. Simply extending the material number field length (or the field length of any other field for that matter) in these interfaces would technically not be enough.

SAP provides a technical version compatibility for released external interfaces in the way that is commonly used and proposed for BAPI interfaces. The existing field keeps its original length and a new field has been added at the end of the structure (or as new parameter) that allows transmitting material numbers with 40 characters.

For these interface scenarios (in a complex multi-system landscape), it must be possible to ensure that no material number (or other extended field) can be maintained by a user in the system with a content length greater than the old length of the field. To enable this and make the field length extension functionality be as non-disruptive for SAP S/4HANA customers as possible, the extended material number functionality must be switched on explicitly. Only after this explicit decision is it possible to maintain more than 18 characters for a material number.

The material master field length extension functionality has also been implemented for all related BAPIs, IDocs, and released remote-enabled function modules. This has been implemented additionally where necessary for remote function calls issued by the SAP S/4HANA system. It is also implemented for unreleased remote-enabled function modules that are used to communicate with other SAP Business Suite products, such as SAP SCM or SAP CRM.

A complete list of relevant function modules, IDocs, and structures that have been extended so that they are compatible with the extended material master field length can be found in the piece lists in the simplification database.

For released Web Services (SOA), adding a new field or extending the material number field length is not necessary. This is because these services usually already allow material numbers with up to 60 characters in their interfaces.

System Settings to Activate the Extended Material Number Field Length Functionality

The default setting, both after an upgrade to SAP S/4HANA and also for new installations, is that the extended material number field length functionality is NOT activated. To use a material number with 40 characters, the functionality needs to be activated explicitly. The following settings are required to activate the functionality:

  1. Activation of the extended material number field length functionality:

    The activation is realized via a client-dependent customizing table.

    Navigate to: SAP Customizing Implementation GuideCross-Application ComponentsGeneral Application FunctionsField length ExtensionActivate extended fields.

    Alternatively, use transaction code FLETS.

  2. Changing the Material Number Format:

    Transaction OMSL allows for customer-specific settings regarding the material number field length. Here, the settings need to be adapted to allow a field length of more than 18 characters.

    Define Output Format of Material Number can be accessed via the SAP Customizing Implementation Guide (via Logistics GeneralMaterial MasterBasic Settings).

If the extended material number field length functionality is activated in a system, it cannot be easily deactivated as values may already exist in the database of the system.

Material Master in SAP S/4HANA

In SAP S/4HANA the following changes apply to the tabs in the Create/Change/Display Material transactions (MM01, MM02 and MM03):

  1. In the screen area called Other data on the Purchasing tab: The Quota Arrangements Usage indicator field is switched off. This is because quota arrangements are always considered.

  2. Foreign trade data on the Intl Trade: Import tab: The commodity code can no longer be maintained in the material master record. The SAP Fiori app Classify Product needs to be used instead.

  3. Lot size data on the MRP 1 tab: The unit of measure group is switched off, because it is only considered in an SAP retail system.

  4. Procurement data on the MRP 2 tab: Quota arrangements usage is switched off because it is always considered.

  5. Storage Location MRP data on the MRP 4 tab: The fields for storage location MRP have been removed because this functionality is no longer supported. Customers have to use MRP areas instead.

  6. Prices and values on the Accounting 1 tab: Using the material ledger is mandatory in SAP S/4HANA. The prices for all shown currencies need to be maintained. In the General Valuation Data area on this tab, there is a link to the material price analysis (that is, a button called Mat. Price Analysis). This analysis displays the price history for the moving average price on a transactional level. This helps a customer to easily identify the reason for variances in the moving average price.

Material Type SERV: Lean Services

Procurement of a Service Using the Lean Services Functionality

See what Paige has to say about the Lean Services functionality of SAP S/4HANA:

In summary: there is a lot of functionality available for lean services created using material type SERV. Examples are limit items and the creation of service entry sheets.

Material Type SERV

A screenshot is shown of the configuration of a material type. And in particular the field Product Group Type which is set to 2 (Services) for material type SERV.

In the configuration details for a material type, there is now an SAP S/4HANA specific field available, which is called Product Type Group. For a material type, the product type group defines whether the material type represents a material (blank entry or 1) or a service (2).

In SAP S/4HANA (all deployment methods) lean services are available as a way to model services.

When using material type SERV, some fields and departments that are irrelevant in SAP S/4HANA are configured as hidden by default. This provides all transactions related to material master maintenance for a SERV (services) material (like MM01, MM02, and MM03) with a leaner and simplified look and feel.

Supported user departments for a SERV material are:

  • Basic Data

  • Classification

  • Purchasing

  • Accounting

  • Sales

The following fields and tabs are for examples not available for the material type SERV in SAP S/4HANA:

  • Basic data 1 -

    Fields: EAN/ UPC, EAN Category, Product Allocation, Assign Effected Vals, Matl Grp Package Matls

  • Basic data 2

  • Sales General/Plant -

    Fields: Replacement Part, Availability Check, Material Freight grp, Shipping Data, Packaging Material Data, General Plant Parameter

  • Purchasing -

    Fields: Material Freight grp, Other Data

  • Accounting 1 -

    Fields: Valuation Class for Sales Order Stock, Valuation Class for Project Stock, Price control - Value S (Standard Price), Periodic Unit Price, Total Stock, Inventory Value, Valuation based on the batch-specific unit of measure

  • Accounting 2

  • Sales: Sales Org. 1 -

    Fields: X-distr. Chain Status, Valid From, Dchain-spec status, Valid From, Min. dely qty., Delivery Unit

  • Sales: Sales Org 2 -

    Fields: Matl statistics grp, Product attributes

Create Material Master Data in SAP S/4HANA

Create Material Master Data in SAP S/4HANA 2023 - Part 2

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