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 Partner Roles in Purchasing 



Business Partner "vendor" can assume different roles in its dealings with another enterprise. Accordingly, in a procurement transaction, the vendor is first the ordering address, then the supplier of goods, then the invoicing party, and finally the payee. For this reason, several partner roles (partner functions) can be assigned to the vendor.

One or more of these roles can also be assumed by other vendors. This data is used in the associated downstream logistics and accounting functions.

You can determine which of the partner roles are optional and which are mandatory via the Customizing functions. If no other roles have been maintained, the data of the Vendor role applies.

In the vendor master record, the role Different payee is only displayed if you have maintained a different payee on the Payment transactions screen.


In the Logistics Information System (LIS) and in the Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW), you can only run analyses for vendors. You cannot run analyses for any of the other partner roles supplied in the standard system.


When working with partner roles, you must maintain the following settings:

  • Vendor master record

Separate vendor master records must exist for all the partners of a vendor that are to be entered in that vendor’s master record.

  • Customizing

You specify the partner roles to be used in the vendor master record via schemas that you define and assign to account groups in Customizing for Purchasing.

Specify which partner roles you wish to use – and which of them are mandatory roles – in Customizing for Purchasing under Partner Determination

® Partner Roles ® Partner Settings in Vendor Master Record ® Define Partner Schemas. (At this point, select the Mandatory indicator where appropriate.)

Assign the partner schema to the relevant account group. Under Partner Determination

® Partner Settings in Vendor Master Record ® Assign Partner Schemas to Account Groups, you can assign different partner schemas to account groups for the purchasing organization, plant, and vendor sub-range levels if necessary.

If you want the system to also search for partner roles at purchasing organization level, and not only at the more specific levels (i.e. plant/vendor or VSR/vendor), you must set the Higher level indicator in Customizing for Purchasing under Partner Determination

® Partner Settings in Purchasing Documents ® Define Partner Schemas ® Partner Roles in Schema.

There you can also specify whether the partner roles are to be determined at the beginning or at the end of the document entry process (End indicator).

If the plant is defined as default value, the system attempts to determine plant-specific partners in the case of partners determined at the start of the process.


The following partner roles are used in MM:

  • Vendor (LF)
  • Ordering address (BA)
  • Goods supplier (WL)
  • Invoicing party (RS)


These partner roles influence downstream logistics and accounting functions:

Partner role


Ordering address (BA)

If you define another partner for the partner role BA, a standard PO or release order will not be sent to the address of the vendor (role LF) but to the ordering address of the partner.

Goods supplier (WL)

In the case of


If you define a partner from another member state of the EU for partner role WL, standard POs or release orders will be taken into account when Intrastat declarations are created.

In the case of a

Return Delivery:

If you define another partner for the partner role WL, the address of the goods supplier will be determined for return deliveries in Inventory Management.

Invoicing party (RS)

If you define another partner for the partner role RS, the invoicing party’s account will be charged instead of the vendor’s.


If you assign several ordering addresses or invoicing parties to a vendor in the latter’s master record, the system will ask you to decide on a certain ordering address or invoicing party when you create a purchase order.


Price determination

If you wish to use partner roles for price determination purposes, SAP provides the enhancement LMEKO001 (customer exit EXIT_SAPLMEKO_001).

You can then create a partner role "forwarder", for example, so that the freight charges of different carriers or forwarding agents can be taken into account in the purchase price determination process.

Message determination

If you want to have partner roles taken into account in the message determination process, you must select the New Partner Role Determination indicator in Customizing when assigning the message determination schema.

To do so, choose Messages

® Output Control ® Message Determination Schemas ® Define Message Schemas for <Purchasing Document> ® Assign Schema <to Purchasing Document> in Customizing for Purchasing.

If you select the indicator, all partners maintained in the purchasing document will be passed on to the message determination facility. For each partner role, the latter then searches for condition records containing the relevant role.

You wish to transmit a message to both the vendor shown in the purchase order (partner role ‘LF’) and the ordering address (partner role ‘BA’).

To do so, you must use a further message type – in addition to the standard message (message type ‘NEU’) – for which a condition record with the role ‘BA’ has been created. You can then specify a different transmission medium or a different printer in this condition record.

Various Customizing settings are necessary for this additional message type.

You must:

    • Enter the message type in the message determination schema

(Messages ® Output Control ® Message Determination Schemas ® Define Message Determination Schemas for <Purchasing Document>)

    • Maintain the fine-tuned control facility and enter a processing routine

(Messages ® Output Control ® Message Types ® Define Message Types for <Purchasing Document> and Fine-Tuned Control <Purchasing Document>)

Different data

The partners you can store in the vendor master record in the Partner Roles view apply to a certain purchasing organization.

In addition to the partners that are valid at purchasing organization level, you can maintain different partners for individual plants or vendor sub-ranges. In this case, the system will determine a different ordering address in a purchase order for your Atlanta plant than the one determined in a purchase order for your Minneapolis plant, for example.

To maintain different partners for levels below the purchasing organization, choose Extras ® Different data on the Partner Roles (partner functions) screen.

For more information on maintaining different data for specific levels below the purchasing organization level, refer to Maintaining Different Data.


The partner roles that are marked as mandatory roles in the partner determination schema of the account group are suggested by the system on the Partner Roles (partner functions) screen during the creation of a vendor master record.

Enter a vendor number in the Number field. The system checks whether the vendors assuming the partner roles Ordering address and Goods supplier have been maintained for the current purchasing organization.

To maintain partners in the vendor master record, choose Master data

® Vendor ® Change. On the initial screen that then appears, select Partner roles (partner functions).