In this scenario, you have already received the materials when you create the returns order to trigger the customer returns process. The customer has either returned the goods to the counter directly, or he has shipped a quantity of goods to a warehouse or distribution center without advance notice. An example of the latter scenario would be when the customer gives the goods that he wants to return to your associates when they are at the customer site for a normal delivery. Shipment to a company location without advance notice is also called an unplanned return.
The Customer Returns business process is related to sales business processes. This means that you usually create returns orders with reference to a preceding sales order or the corresponding billing document (invoice).
For the returns scenario with received materials, the following business process runs in SAP ERP.
1. Create returns order
You create the returns order for received materials as described in Create Returns Order – Advanced Returns Management.
You determine what goods are being returned and in what quantity. Then you create the relevant returns order items.
You enter the return reason to specify why the customer wants to returns the material.
As you have already received the material, you select the Material Received checkbox. If the creation of returns orders for received materials is the normal case, you can specify that the Material Received checkbox is selected by default. You can make this setting in IMG activity Configure Default Values for Returns Orders.
If you can inspect the goods on the spot, you select the appropriate inspection code and enter an inspection comment if you want. Then you can select one of the following follow-up activities:
¡ Immediately Move to Scrap
¡ Immediately Move to Free Available Stock
¡ Immediately Move to Specified Stock
¡ Ship to Vendor
¡ Ship to Other Plant.
You also enter any associated details such as the next plant or the vendor.
If you cannot decide the returned material status and require an expert to perform an inspection later, then you select the follow-up activity Receive into Plant.
If you recognize, in an unplanned returns scenario, that the customer was not eligible to return the material, you select Send Back to Customer as follow-up activity. When the customer is at the counter and the material cannot be returned, you simply do not create an entry in the system.
The following follow-up activities are not allowed when you select the Material Received checkbox:
¡ Direct Shipment to Vendor
¡ Inspection at Customer Site
¡ Delivery into Plant – Materials Still Unknown
¡ Material Remains at Customer Site
For all follow-up activities except Send Back to Customer, you can define a refund for the customer directly in the returns order by selecting Immediately as the refund control and entering an appropriate refund code to define the refund amount. Alternatively, you can select By Credit Memo Request if you want to defer the decision about the refund. If you are forwarding the goods to a vendor, you can select After Receipt of Credit Memo. This refund control value is only allowed for follow-up activity Ship to Vendor in a customer returns scenario. When you select refund control By Credit Memo Request or After Receipt of Credit Memo, you must use the Customer Refund Determination transaction to define the refund amount.
You can only enter No Refund as the refund control when you specify Send Back to Customer as the follow-up activity.
Once you have entered all the necessary returns information, you can save the returns order.
2. Create returns delivery
When you save the returns order, the system creates a returns delivery for the returns order.
3. Post goods receipt
The system posts the goods receipt for the corresponding returns delivery automatically.
You can make specific stock settings for the following logistical follow-up activities:
¡ Receive into Plant
¡ Immediately Move to Free Available Stock
¡ Immediately Move to Scrap
¡ Immediately Move to Specified Stock.
You do this in Customizing for Advanced Returns Management by choosing General Settings ® Goods Movement Settings for Follow-Up Activities.
4. Perform material inspection in the warehouse
If you have selected Receive into Plant as the follow-up activity, then the process continues with step 4 as described in Advanced Returns Scenario: Advance Notice.
If you have entered an inspection code in the returns order item, the system copies that value by default. For this follow-up activity, the inspection code you entered in the returns order does not appear as a returns step in the Returns Overview transaction for the returns order.
5. Create returns purchase order
If you have selected Ship to Vendor, the system creates the corresponding returns purchase order for the specified vendor. If necessary, you can change this document. Then you continue with the returns process as described in Supplier Returns in ERP – Advanced Returns Management for returns purchase orders.
6. Create returns stock transport order
If you have selected Ship to Other Plant or Ship to Vendor via Other Plant, the system creates the corresponding returns stock transport order for the specified plant. If necessary, you can change this document. Then you continue with the returns process as described in Supplier Returns in ERP – Advanced Returns Management for returns stock transport orders.
7. Create outbound delivery to customer
If you have selected Send Back to Customer, the system creates an outbound delivery with the customer as the ship-to-party. If necessary, you can change this outbound delivery.
8. Create credit memo request
If you have entered By Credit Memo Request or After Receipt of Credit Memo as the refund control, you must use the Customer Refund Determination transaction to create a credit memo request for the customer.
If you have specified Immediately as the refund control so that a credit memo is created for the returns order item, you can still create a credit memo request using transaction VA01 (Logistics ® Sales and Distribution ® Sales ® Order ® Create). This procedure might be required if the customer is not satisfied with the original refund amount. To have the new credit memo request included in the Returns Overview, you must create the credit memo request with reference to the returns order.
You can also create a credit memo request in this way if you specified Send Back to Customer as the follow-up activity and No Refund as the refund control. This procedure might be required in the following situation for example: The material is only slightly damaged and can still be used by the customer, but the material fault is your responsibility and you cannot offer a replacement. In this case, you send back the material and create a credit memo request.
As you are creating the credit memo request with reference to the returns order, the refund control value is copied from the returns order. In the two examples mentioned above, the value is Immediately or No Refund. You can use BAdI method Change Returns Data of BAdI Change Returns Data and Billing Block in Returns Orders to adjust the value to By Credit Memo Request.
9. Create credit memo
If you enter Immediately as the refund control in returns order items, you create a credit memo for those items. If you make the appropriate settings in Customizing, the system can create credit memos automatically when you save the returns order. Alternatively, you can create the credit memos in a separate step, either individually or collectively. You can also schedule a background job to create pending credit memos.
You follow the same procedure to create the credit memos for credit memos requests that you created in the Customer Refund Determination transaction.
10. Monitor returns process
After you have saved the returns order, the Returns Overview detail tree displays the following documents or returns steps for a returns order item.
Customer return received directly, Customer return received into free available stock, or Customer return received and scrapped nodes with processing status Process complete or Process incomplete depending on the refund control
¡ Returns Order with processing status is Document complete
¡ Inspection with processing status Document complete (if follow-up activity is not Receive into Plant)
¡ Logistical Follow-Up with processing status Document complete (if follow-up activity is not Receive into Plant)
¡ Returns Delivery with processing status Document complete
¡ Goods Receipt with processing status Document complete
¡ Credit Memo if you have specified Immediately as refund control.
The processing status is Document complete if you selected the Create Credit Memo Automatically checkbox for the relevant returns order type in Customizing. Otherwise the processing status is Document not yet created.
¡ Credit Memo Request with processing status Document not yet created if you have specified By Credit Memo Request or After Receipt of Credit Memo as refund control.
¡ If you specified Ship to Vendor as the follow-up activity:Ship to vendor node with processing status Process incomplete followed by Returns Purchase Order
The processing status is usually Document complete but can also be Document incomplete if required data, for example a mandatory vendor RMA number, is missing.
¡ If you specified Ship to Other Plant or Ship to Vendor via Other Plant as the follow-up activity: Ship to other plant node with processing status Process incomplete followed by Returns Stock Transport Order
The processing status is usually Document complete but can also be Document incomplete when required data is missing.
You can cancel process steps as described in Cancel Process Steps in Customer Returns – Advanced Returns Management.
The returned goods are sent to their final destination, or they are received into the warehouse for inspection and further logistical processing. You have defined a refund for the customer.