Classic Kanban in S/4HANA – first Test

Target group Anybody with basic SAP PP knowledge and interest in Kanban

Summary:  Kanban test description for classic Kanban in S/4HANA. There is a change compared to SAP ERP caused by the termination of the ‘Storage Location excluded from MRP’ function in S/4HANA and the Kanban board is available as Fiori UI5 app. Otherwise Kanban is the same as before

I have a subscription to a S/4HANA 2020 system from MMC and do some tests and development there. My first Kanban test covers external procurement for bulk material with classic Kanban.

We want to consume the material from a production storage location without WM. The vendor delivers it to the supply area in Kanban boxes with 1000 PC each. We chose not to plan procurement by MRP but to trigger the supply by Kanban impulse (setting Kanban to Empty).

I assume that the start situation in my system is as delivered by SAP so I mention the org units used. I start with customizing a storage location 171P ‘production storage location’ for plant 1710 with supply area ZST12_01.

Then I created material ZST12_BULK with material type ROH, set bulk indicator and MRP type to ND (no planning). And maintained a purchasing info record for supplier 17300003. Creation of Kanban control cycle follows: Here we have to overcome a hurdle which probably is deterring quite a few potential Kanban users. After selecting replenishment strategy type ‘external procurement’ you can only select PDA7 ‘Summarized JIT Call (MRP, Alerts)’ as strategy. Why don’t we see an entry for procurement with purchase orders? The entry exists in customizing. The reason is that SAP shows only the strategies which are considered to make sense. In this case only replenishment strategies can be selected which should be used in combination with MRP.

Procurement Strategies with MRP (despite material having MRP type ND on plant) level

(Remark as software developer: Well-meant restrictions of input options are helpful only it the restriction logic is obvious for the user. Otherwise it is better to allow the user to select invalid input and explain in a error dialog why this input is not valid in the given context. This informs the user in which context the requested option would become available)  

The strange thing here is that my material isn’t planned by MRP (due to MRP type ‘ND’) so the SAP behavior looks wrong to me here. It would expect it to take the MRP type on plant level into consideration.

The solution in SAP ERP would be to exclude the storage location of the target supply area from MRP. We can’t do this in S/4HANA. Excluding storage location from MRP by setting the ‘Storage Location MRP indicator = 1 in the material master MRP 4 view is not supported anymore. You need to use a storage location MRP area.

So I created MRP Area 1710-171P for storage location 171P, assigned the material and set MRP type ‘ND’ in the MRP area parameters.

The MRP type on MRP area level is taken into consideration (as the MRP type on plant level should be as well) and I can create the control cycle for classic Kanban with purchase orders.

procurement strategies for external procurement without MRP
Kanban Control Cycle for external procurement with purchase orders

After assigning a printer I immediately can print Kanban cards with the SAP default layout.

Kanban card printout (SAP Default)

In PK13N (Kanban board, Demand view) I try to set the first Kanban to empty. This fails with message ‘In case of evaluated receipt settlement, please enter tax code’ and the Kanban goes to error status. This makes sense, so I add the tax code in the info record and repeat the status change with the Kanban Correction function (‘Do you want to repeat the failed status change?’).

Now the purchase order is created:

Kanban Detail for Empty Kanban with Purchase Order

Kanban Status Change to Full posts the Goods Receipt to storage location 171P and after further Status Changes and tests with other materials my Kanban board looks colorful:

Kanban Demand View with further control cycles
MD04 for the Kanban example

Conclusion: No surprises. Kanban functionality is the same as in SAP ERP, with the exception of the change due to the replacement of ‘Exclude Storage Location from MRP’ by MRP area.

(Further Kanban tests confirmed this).

Finally I have a look at the Fiori Apps. The Kanban board is available as new Fiori UI5 App for. It is a single-screen transaction with selection, overview and detail data on the same screen. It covers both demand and source view.

Kanban Board as Fiori UI5 App

Defining personal and public filter helps to realize different selections for demand or source views. The selection options correspond to the ERP functionality but the integration of Kanban correction is missing and we have less flexibility in adapting the graphics. For me the SAP Gui works better than Fiori, not only because it works faster and more reliable on my system.

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