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This document describes ALE (Application Link Enabling) distribution of master data for variant configuration between R/3 systems. ALE can be used in R/3 3.0, 3.1, and above.


For information on setting up ALE Customizing, see the SAP Library Cross-Application Components ® (Business Framework Architecture) ® ALE Business Process Library ® ALE Quick Start.

Distribution of Master Data

This is the menu path for distributing master data:
up to 3.1: Logistics ® Central functions ® Distribution
as of 4.0: Tools ® (Business Framework) ® ALE ® Master Data Distribution
or transaction BALE.

Examples of menu paths in the ALE transaction:

The data to be transferred is interdependent, so we advise you to transfer data in the sequence shown here.

However, your existing data may require you to use a different procedure or to transfer data multiple times.

  1. Characteristics and Characteristic Values
    Most objects for variant configuration are dependent on characteristics. For this reason, characteristics must be transferred first.
    Characteristics with value hierarchies, long texts for characteristic values, or linked documents may lead to problems during transfer.

    Message type: CHRMAS
    Availability: as of R/3 3.0
  2. Classes
    When you use ALE to distribute classes, the characteristic assignments are also transferred.

    Message type: CLSMAS
    Availability: as of R/3 3.0
  3. Variant Table Structures
    These are the variant tables that are created to support data maintenance.

    Message type: VTAMAS
    Availability: as of R/3 3.1
  4. Variant Table Contents
    Once the structures of the variant tables have been distributed, their contents can be transferred.

    Message type: VTMMAS
    Availability: as of R/3 3.1
  5. User-Defined Functions (Variant Functions, VC Functions)
    User-defined functions in variant configuration let you use function modules that you have written, to check and infer characteristic values.

  6. The distribution of functions only transfers the framework (texts, characteristics, and so on). The function modules that belong to the functions must be transferred first, using the usual R/3 transport system.

    Message type: VFNMAS
    Availability: as of R/3 4.5

  7. Object Dependencies (Except Constraints)
    Dependencies (preconditions, selection conditions, procedures, and actions) usually refer to characteristics, characteristic values, variant tables, and variant functions. For this reason, dependencies must be distributed after this other master data. The dependencies transferred here are global dependencies. Local dependencies are transferred with the objects to which they are assigned. For example, if you created a selection condition as a local dependency for a BOM item, this dependency is transferred when you use ALE to distribute the BOM (bill of material).

    Message type: KNOMAS
    Availability: as of R/3 3.1
  8. Constraints
    Constraints can only be distributed as of R/3 4.5.

    Message type: KNOMAS
    Availability: as of R/3 4.5
  9. Constraint Nets
    Constraint nets can only be distributed as of R/3 4.5.

    Message type: DEPNET
    Availability: as of R/3 4.5
  10. Assignment of Dependencies to Characteristics and Characteristic Values
    The characteristics are transferred once more to do this. Start ALE distribution for characteristics again, and the system transfers the assignments.

    See point 1: Characteristics and Characteristic Values
  11. Configurable Materials
    Depending on how many configurable materials you have, you can use ALE to distribute them or create them in the target system. The other materials in BOMs for configurable materials are transferred to the target client by the usual data transfer.

    Message type: MATMAS
    Availability: as of R/3 3.0
  12. Configuration Profiles
    Configuration profiles must be distributed after the configurable materials, because the key of the material identifies the profile. During the ALE process, the dependencies for the configuration profile are also transferred, and are reassigned to the profile in the target client. At the same time, the class assignments belonging to the configurable material (in the variant class) are transported.

    Message type: CNPMAS
    Availability: as of R/3 3.1
  13. Classification
    You only need to distribute classifications if you have classified materials. Classifications in the variant class are transported with the configuration profile (CNPMAS).

    Message type: CLFMAS
    Availability: as of R/3 3.0
  14. Material Variants
  15. If you use ALE to run Structure linkDistribution of Material Variants, you can send the values assigned during configuration in the IDocs of the material master.

    Message type: MATAMS

    Availability: as of SAP R/3 Enterprise 4.70

  16. Bills of Material
    Material BOMs for configurable materials can be distributed using ALE. The transfer also assigns the dependencies for BOM items to the items. Make sure that the dependencies and all the materials required already exist in the target system.
    If material variants are assigned to the BOM, there may be problems transferring the super BOM.

    Message type: BOMMAS
    Availability: as of R/3 3.1
  17. Interface Design

You can use ALE to transfer interface designs for variant configuration. To do this, enter the following data:

The distribution of interface designs uses BAPI technology.

Availability: as of SAP R/3 Enterprise 4.70

To distribute interface designs, starting from the SAP Easy Access Menu, choose Tools ® ALE ® Master Data Distribution ® Logistics ® Variant Configuration ® Interface Design ® Send.

Availability of Engineering Change Management for ALE Objects

Data created with engineering change management can be transferred as of the release shown below. However, first the change numbers must already exist in the target system. You can create them manually if required.


As of R/3 3.0: material master records

As of R/3 3.1: BOMs, dependencies, configuration profiles, and variant table contents

As of R/3 4.0: characteristics, classes, and classifications

As of R/3 4.5: constraints and constraint nets

Message Types for Further Objects in the Variant Configuration Environment


Message Type


Change objects


as of R/3 4.5



as of R/3 3.1H

Cost centers


as of R/3 3.0

Cost center groups


as of R/3 3.1

Activity types


as of R/3 3.0

Activity type groups


as of R/3 3.1

Cost elements


as of R/3 3.0

Cost element groups


as of R/3 3.1



as of R/3 3.0

Units of measure


as of R/3 3.0



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