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 Variant Configuration (LO-VC)

Purpose

Variant configuration is for manufacturing complex products. The manufacturer is always having to offer new variants of its products. Often, new variants are created by modifying existing product designs as you process the order. The important thing is to react quickly to customers' requirements.

The customer determines the features of the product. A customer buying a car, for example, can choose the features of the car and combine these features as required.

The product configurator improves information exchange between sales, engineering, and production. Variant configuration helps the customer or salesperson to put together specifications for the product and ensure that the product can be produced from these specifications. It also ensures that production costs do not overstep the mark.

Integration

Variant configuration is integrated in the following applications:

  • CA Classification

  • LO Material Master

  • PP Bill of Material

  • PP Routings

  • PP–PI Master Recipes

  • SD Sales

  • SD Conditions

  • MM Purchasing

  • CO Costing

  • PP Material Requirements Planning (MRP)

  • PP Production Orders

You can configure the following objects:

  • Materials

  • Standard networks in the Project System.

  • PM General maintenance task lists

  • Model service specifications

Features

You do not need to create a separate material for each variant of a product in your company. You can use one configurable material to cover all variants. You create a super BOM and a super routing for this material, containing all the components and operations for producing all variants of the product.

To define the features of a configurable material, you use characteristics. To enable you to use characteristics to configure a material, you assign the material to a class of class type 300. Possible characteristics of a car, for example, are model, country, color, and engine. The customer can choose from among different options for each characteristic (values).

The only limitations are combinations of features that are not possible for either technical or marketing reasons. You cannot combine all types of car engine with all types of transmission, for example, or certain types of upholstery are only available for more expensive models. In Variant Configuration, you use dependencies to control this. This prevents combinations of options that are not allowed. Dependencies also select exactly the right BOM components and operations to produce a variant.

Each configurable object must have a configuration profile. The configuration profile for a material controls the configuration process in the sales order.

You can make the price of a variant dependent on the characteristic values assigned (Pricing). You can use variant conditions to define surcharges and discounts for a variant.

For variants that are required frequently, you can create material variants, which can be produced without a sales order and kept in stock. When you receive a sales order, you can check whether the variant required is in stock, so that you can deliver immediately.

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