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 Input and Output Conversion of Material Numbers 


Like every other part in the SAP System, an

Inventory-Managed Manufacturer Part has a (R/3-specific) Material Number uniquely identifying it. If this material number is not commonly used, or the vendor of the part does not recognize it, the following is required (especially in the purchasing process):
  • Instead of entering a part just by its material number, you can also enter a part by its Manufacturer Part Number, possibly together with the External Manufacturer. (Input conversion of material numbers.)
  • In lists and on the screen, the system displays this part with its Manufacturer Part Number and the External Manufacturer, in place of the material number. (Output conversion of material numbers.)

Generally, you have to increase the maximum field length for input and output values ("output length for material numbers") to enter and display the MPN and the manufacturer code in one field.


You have made the following settings in Customizing:

  • You have activated the conversion exit for material numbers.
  • You have maintained a delimiter. The delimiter separates the MPN and the external manufacturer when they are entered/displayed in one field.
  • You have specified a maximum output length for material numbers. On screens, input and output fields for the material number can be scrolled to this length; in lists, output columns are wider.

You configure and activate the conversion exit for material numbers in Customizing, under Logistics - General ® Interchangeability of Parts ® Set Up Conversion Exit for Material Numbers.


Input conversion

If you have activated the conversion exit, you can enter the relevant MPN in place of the material number in all relevant fields. If the MPN is not unique, you can also enter the external manufacturer in the same field, separating them by the delimiter that you determined in Customizing.

You have determined : as the delimiter.


45L700W:36121 ( manufacturer part number, delimiter and external manufacturer) for the part, instead of material number 1011 . If the MPN is unique, you only have to enter 45L700W ( manufacturer part number).

You can now scroll the input field for the material number. This allows you to enter the maximum output length for material numbers, which you also set in Customizing.

Input conversion opens up an alternative input possibility for you. Of course, you can still enter the R/3-specific material number to identify a part.

The system determines the correct material number from your input, and transfers it to the program logic. The system handles your input as follows:

  • If your entry contains the delimiter, the system splits the entry at the delimiter, interprets both parts of the entry as the Manufacturer Part Number and the External Manufacturer respectively, and searches for a part corresponding to these entries.
  • If your entry does not contain a delimiter, first, the system interprets your entry as a (R/3-specific) material number, and searches for the corresponding part in the material master. If this is unsuccessful, the system interprets your entry as a MPN, and searches for the corresponding part.

If the system cannot determine a part clearly, or the search is unsuccessful, you receive an error message.

Value range for MPNs on the selection screen

The system may wrongly interpret the value range for a MPN that is entered as a selection criteria. This is because the system converts the MPN into a material number.

Therefore, if the conversion exit is activated, the system always provides the Manufacturer Part Number as selection criterion on the selection screen, in addition to the Material Number.

Output conversion

If the conversion-exit is activated, the output conversion ensures that the system displays the MPN and the external manufacturer on screens and in lists, separated by the delimiter in the field/column that usually displays the SAP-specific material number.

If the Output length for material numbers in Customizing is not long enough to display both the MPN and the external manufacturer, the system only displays the MPN, if unique.

If the MPN is not unique or the output length too short, the system displays the R/3-specific material number.

Parts are displayed with the output length that you set in Customizing. In addition,

  • you can then scroll the respective material number field on screens.
  • the layout of lists is adjusted to the output length.

Formatting lists

Using the inventory-managed MPN means that list formatting has to be adjusted:

  • Variable length of the material number in reports

To avoid wrongly aligned columns, incorrect new lines, and unreadable lists during the automatic conversion of the material number into the MPN and the external manufacturer, the system takes account of the output length for material numbers that you set in Customizing when structuring the lists of selected reports.

  • Adding a field for the external manufacturer

The external manufacturer should also be displayed in lists, because the MPN, into which the material number is automatically converted, is not always unique.

You make the settings in Customizing to display the external manufacturer along with the MPN. The system then inserts the field for the external manufacturer immediately behind the field for the MPN in lists and on the screen.

The external manufacturer can be displayed whether the conversion-exit is activated or not.

  • Sorting by MPN instead of by material number

In some lists you can sort the displayed list by material number. If the MPN is displayed instead of the (sorted) material number, the sort has apparently failed.

Sorting has been changed so that the system also sorts by MPN in those cases where the MPN is displayed instead of the material number.