Structuring and Displaying Technical Objects and BOMs


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Structure and display Technical Objects and BOMs

Technical Objects and BOMs

Technical Objects: Overview

Business Scenario

In a company, you first need to decide which technical systems and buildings are relevant for SAP S/4HANA Service and need to be mapped in the system. You need to use functional locations to map more complex technical systems, equipment to map individual objects, and maintenance bills of material (BOMs) to map spare parts.

Step 1: Identify

When you start to map technical objects, you need to decide which objects are relevant for plant maintenance, that is, which objects require service measures and which objects are relevant for reporting purposes.

Step 2: Structure

You choose the structuring instruments for each object (functional location, equipment, assembly, and material) and then create the structure.

Step 3: Classify

You create characteristics (technical characteristics, such as electrical output) and classes, such as pump classes. All technical characteristics become available for an object when a technical object, such as equipment, is assigned to a class.

Step 4: Verify

You can run a check on the construction status for complex equipment and systems that are based on a to-be structure.

There are four categories of technical objects:

  • Functional locations are elements of a technical structure and represent the system areas in which objects can be installed. Technical structure can be subdivided according to functional, process-oriented, or spatial criteria.

  • Equipment refers to individual objects that are to be treated as autonomous units.

  • Serial numbers are assigned to materials to differentiate them from other items. They enable materials to be treated as individual items. Inventory management can be carried out for serial numbers.

  • Assemblies are used to finely structure functional locations and equipment. These are treated as BOM items and not as individual items.

Functional locations, equipment, and serial numbers can be used as reference objects in documents, such as service requests and service orders. You can use the different categories of technical objects individually or in combination.

Functional Location

Functional locations are hierarchically ordered structures that represent a technical system, building, or part thereof. You can structure a functional location according to spatial criteria (for example, building 1 and building 2), technical criteria (for example, press, press frame, and press hydraulics), or functional (process-oriented) criteria (for example, polymerization and condensation).

The aim of creating a functional location is to structure a technical system or building into units that are relevant for plant maintenance. When you create a functional location, it takes on the function of the location where individual objects (such as engines, gearboxes, and pumps) can be installed. In such cases, you can view removal and installation locations both from the point of view of the installation location and from the point of view of the individual installed or removed object.

Structure Indicator

The structure of a functional location is based on the structure indicator. If you create a new functional location, the system checks whether a hierarchy with this structure indicator already exists, and whether the new identification is suitable for the existing hierarchy. If so, when the new functional location is created, it is included in the existing structure. The Structure Indicator consists of the following:

  • Edit mask

    The edit mask is used to control which characters can be used for identification (letters, numbers, special characters, or all three) and how these characters are grouped together or split.

  • Hierarchy levels

    The hierarchy levels are used to define which level ends at which character and how many hierarchy levels the structure can contain. A functional location can be identified by using a maximum of 40 characters (maximum length of the edit mask).

You can use functional locations to structure your systems based on the following conditions:

  • The structures of the technical systems in your company have to be represented according to functional criteria.

  • The maintenance tasks have to be performed for certain parts of your technical system and this work must be recorded.

  • The technical data for certain parts of your technical system has to be stored and evaluated over a long period of time.

  • The cost of maintenance tasks has to be monitored for certain parts of your technical system.

  • The effects of the usage conditions on the probability of damage to the installed equipment have to be analyzed.


A piece of equipment is an individual physical object that you would maintain as an autonomous unit. Pieces of equipment usually represent single objects, such as pumps, motors, and vehicles for which maintenance tasks are to be performed and recorded.

A piece of equipment can be installed at functional locations. A piece of equipment can be linked to a material if there is a need for inventory management.

You always create an equipment master record for a technical object under the following conditions:

  • You need to manage individual data for the object.
  • When breakdown, planned, or preventive maintenance tasks are required for an object, you need to record the maintenance tasks.
  • You need to collect and evaluate technical data for the object over long periods of time.
  • You need to monitor the cost of maintenance tasks for the object.
  • You need to record the usage time of the object at functional locations.

In the standard system, the master record for a piece of equipment uses the following views:

  • General: Class, object type, reference data, manufacturer data, and so on

  • Location: Location data and address

  • Organization: Account assignment (for example, company code, cost center) and responsible entities (for example, maintenance planning plant)

  • Structure: Higher-level functional location, superior equipment, and so on

Additional data for the equipment can also be activated as tab pages or called by using the Class Overview or Measuring Points/Counters buttons.

You can use the time-based data to monitor a piece of equipment dynamically, that is, track changes to the equipment over a specific period of time. If your system is customized accordingly, it automatically creates a new time segment whenever certain changes are made in the master record. The time segment describes the equipment usage.


Warranties are first created as master warranties, independently whether you want to assign it to a functional location or a piece of equipment. A warranty is structured as follows:

  • The warranty header contains the warranty type, descriptive text, and the classification option.
  • The warranty items contain the services that are included in (or excluded from) the warranty. The services can be described using a text, a service number, or a material number.
  • Warranty counters can be defined for each warranty item. These are validity criteria that are defined as period or performance counters.

From the perspective of a service provider, it is required to define Customer warranties. When creating a Service document - for example, a Service Request in relation to a Technical Object an information can be displayed that a warranty is assigned to it.

Serial Number

A piece of equipment with its equipment number can only be used in SAP S/4HANA Service, Customer Service, and Asset Management. The equipment number cannot be handled in other areas.

If you want to put a piece of equipment on stock (for example, because it is defective and you want to refurbish it), you first have to assign a serial number.

Because a serial number is an individual, single part within a stock of a material number, it can be combined with a piece of equipment. With the combination of an equipment and a serial number you can handle an individual, physical part not only in Asset Management and Customer Service, but also in Materials Management and other areas.

A piece of equipment can be installed and dismantled at functional locations. You can also monitor the installation times for a piece of equipment from both the functional location view and the equipment view.

In the case of a piece of equipment that is linked to a material, when you dismantle the damaged piece of equipment, the system can automatically place it in storage. Likewise, when a piece of equipment is installed, the system automatically releases it from store inventory.

To install a piece of equipment at a functional location, the following prerequisites must be fulfilled:

  • The equipment category must permit an installation (Customizing).

  • The Equipment Installation Allowed option must be activated in the master record for the functional location. You can further control this by using the Individual Installation option.

The installation locations for equipment in a technical system are documented in the usage list. The usage list forms part of the equipment history. Equipment usage periods can also be displayed from the functional location view. Along with changes to the installation location, the usage list also documents changes to other fields of the master record (for example, cost center and asset). In Customizing, you can set which fields should be monitored in this way.

Bill of Material (BOM)

Business Scenario

In your company, all the individual parts for functional locations and pieces of equipment for which no history is required, but where spare parts planning is important, should be represented by using a bill of materials (BOM).

BOMs are used for different purposes. The use of BOMs depends on the following functional areas of a company:

  • The engineering and design BOM includes all the elements of the product from an engineering viewpoint and contains the technical data.

  • The production BOM includes the items relevant to production and assembly conditions. For the assembly, only items relevant to production with process-oriented data are required.

Instead of a uniform BOM, these areas use their own BOM with area-specific data (such as production) and also only evaluate BOMs with area-specific data. This results in a targeted BOM application, whereby only the area-specific data is made available. Data selection is controlled by using the definition of application.

Functions of BOMs

The maintenance BOM differs from other BOMs because it only contains items relevant to PM. The maintenance BOM has the following important functions:

  • Structuring of the object

    The structure of an object must be displayed as clearly as possible from a maintenance viewpoint.

  • Spare parts planning

  • Spare parts planning in an order

  • Spare parts planning in the task list

The main categories of a maintenance BOM are as follows:

  • Material BOM

  • Equipment BOM

  • BOM for Functional Location

Material BOMs are always used in Asset Management and Service if a number of identically constructed objects have to be maintained. The aim is not to create a BOM for each technical object, but to create just one BOM, and then assign this to the relevant technical objects. This avoids the use of redundant BOMs. A material BOM is a BOM that is first created for a material independently of a technical object.

The procedure for creating a material BOM is as follows:

  • Create material

  • Create a material BOM for the material.

The BOM must then be assigned to one or more technical objects, such as equipment or functional location. You can make the assignment or assignments in the respective master record by using the Structure view. The number of the corresponding material is entered in the Construction Type field.

Explore Master Data: Evaluate Technical Object Master Data

Explore Master Data: Create Technical Object Master Data

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