The plant plays a central role in sales and distribution processes. As a result, it is already relevant during the creation of sales orders. Among other things, the plant is relevant for the following functions:
- Tax determination
- Availability check
- Determination of the shipping point that will be responsible for delivery of the order
Because the delivering plant is of vital importance to the whole process, when sales orders are created, the system automatically attempts to determine the correct plant (at the sales order item level) from the master data.
The figure, Plant Determination, shows the possible sources that can be used to determine the plant automatically from master data. It also shows the corresponding search sequence. You can change the value of an automatically-determined plant manually in the sales order.
If no valid plant can be found in the master data records (for example, because the field is not maintained there), no delivering plant is set in the sales order item. This means that the specific functions mentioned above (for example, tax determination) cannot be performed, and the document is incomplete.
Shipping Point Determination
The shipping point is the organizational unit that is responsible for shipping processing. If you sell physical products that must be delivered to the customer, when a sales order is created, the appropriate shipping point is automatically determined for each order item.
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The following diagram summarizes the shipping point determination logic.
Determination of the correct shipping point is critical, as the following functions are dependent on it:
- Delivery scheduling
- Route determination
- Delivery creation
From an organizational point of view, shipping points are assigned to delivering plants. The figure, Shipping Point Determination, shows the criteria that are used to determine the correct shipping point for each sales order item.
The loading group can be found on the Sales: General/Plant Data tab in the material master record. The shipping conditions is determined from the business partner master record (Shipping tab) of either the sold-to party or the ship-to party (depending on the Customizing of the sales order type). The plant is determined in the sales order from master data entries as previously indicated.
If no corresponding delivery document already exists, you can manually change the value of the automatically determined shipping point in the sales order.
The route describes the journey a delivery takes from a shipping point to the region of the customer's location. The route can comprise one or more stages and legs, as shown in the figure, Route Structure.
Route is used in several transportation planning functions, including transportation scheduling. To influence transportation scheduling, the route is the source of the following values:
- Transit time: the amount of time the goods are in transit to the customer
- Transportation lead time: the amount of time needed to organize the means of transport
Route determination is performed automatically for each delivery-relevant item in the sales order.
The figure, Route Determination, shows the different criteria used to determine a route for shipping in sales documents.
The departure zone is taken from the Customizing table for shipping points. The shipping condition is determined from the business partner master record (Shipping tab) of either the sold-to party or the ship-to party (depending on the Customizing of the sales order type). The transportation group can be found in the material master data (Sales: General/Plant Data tab). The transportation zone is taken from the business partner master record of the ship-to party (general data).
The route can be redetermined (if required) in the delivery document.