For long, SAP has focussed on developing one of the best-of-the-breed enterprise ERP applications. However, with the advent of data-intensive concepts like the Internet of Things (IoT) or Big Data, SAP made a strategic decision to invest in developing its own database. This was because database became a critical factor and SAP wanted to eliminate dependencies on Oracle, Microsoft and, other database vendors. HANA is an in-memory yet a reliable database which combines the best of both column and row based database architecture. It has many advanced features like replication, automatic failover mechanism and superior performance which many enterprises look at having.

Though many companies running on ECC have already migrated to SAP HANA as their database, it was obvious that S/4 would necessitate HANA as its database. Due to the inherent difference in database architecture, S/4 HANA has many simplifications both in terms of data models and functionality across modules. In this article, we would look at the changes from the logistics perspective.

Master Data

The first level of change relates to the master data. The general idea is that with HANA, SAP could attempt a more massive processing and yet provide better performance.

Customer Master:

The whole perspective of managing customer and vendor master in S/4 is by using the business partner approach. Hence the traditional transaction codes like XD01, XD02, XD03 or VD01, VD02, VD03 are redundant in S/4. Similar is the case for XK01, XK02, XD03 and MK01, MK02 and MK03. Hence the enterprise migrating to S/4 must ensure that they properly analyse this and use SAP S/4 HANA conversion pre-checks.

Material Master:

The biggest single change in the Material Master is that the material number field has been extended up to 40 characters. This was earlier 18 characters in ECC. Hence an enterprise with multiple systems in landscape exchanging material data must take this into account. Apart from this there are few more changes in S/4 HANA.

  1. Foreign trade fields in material master is not available. Global Trade Service (GTS) is the recommended solution.
  2. Material type SERV has been introduced in S/4 HANA for service materials.
  3. Product Catalog functionality is not supported. SAP recommends using Hybris as the suggested functionality.
  4. Logistics batch management functionality have new transaction codes – MSC1N, MSC2N, MSC3N, MSC4N.


Transactional Data:

Having looked at the master data, let us look at the transaction information. Again, SAP could remove multiple tables in the background. It also necessitates that the customer moves to the new dimension products like SAP CRM and FSCM among others.

a. Sales Activity – The Sales Support function (SD-CAS) is no longer supported in S/4 HANA. SAP suggests SAP CRM or SAP Cloud for customer as the recommended solution.

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b. Billing Output Management – The entire NAST based output control has been modified to BRF+ functionality together with output determination. BRF+ functionality doesn’t support the following transmission mediums. Hence if you are using any of these mediums in ECC, you may have to revaluate your solution.

  1. T – Tasks
  2. A – Distribution (ALE)
  3. 8 – Special Functions
  4. 9 – Events

c. SD Rebate Processing – The SD rebate functionality has been replaced by Settlement Management. Hence transaction VBO1 and VB(D are no longer available in S/4 HANA.

d. Data Model Changes – In the following area the data models have been simplified or changed.

  1. Pricing – Instead of storing prices in KONV table, it is transferred to PRCD_ELEMENTS.
  2. Status tables – VBUK and VBUP tables have been eliminated and they have been moved to corresponding header and line item tables (example VBAK and VBAP).
  3. Many index tables like VAKPA, VAPMA, VLKPA, VLPMA, VRKPA, VRPMA have been eliminated.
  4. Redundant tables like VBOX for Rebates and Logistics Information System table like S066, S067 have been eliminated.

e. Credit Management – Credit Management has been discontinued from S/4 HANA and recommended solution is FSCM. Thus, transactions like F.28, F.31, F.32, F.33 are no longer supported. Following are the new transactions in this area.

New Transaction Old Transaction Purpose
UKM_BP FD32 Maintaining credit account master data
UKM_MY_DCDS VKM1 Releasing sales order blocked due to credit reasons


SAP S/4 HANA attempts at eliminating indexes, redundancies required earlier for aggregates. It also replaces traditional functionality with the new dimensional solutions which were earlier optional. Underlying data model simplification will enable the enterprises to run faster and with better control.

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