Entering content frameObject documentation Purchase Order Locate the document in its SAP Library structure


A purchase order is a formal request or instruction from a purchasing organization to a vendor or a plant to supply or provide a certain quantity of goods or services at or by a certain point in time.


A purchase order (PO) consists of a document header and a number of items.

The information shown in the header relates to the entire PO. For example, the terms of payment and the delivery terms are defined in the header.
A procurement type is defined for each of the document items. The following procurement types exist:

Delivery of the total quantity of material (or performance of the total volume of services) specified in a purchase order item can be spread over a certain period in a delivery schedule, consisting of lines indicating the individual quantities with their corresponding planned delivery dates.

For PO items to be supplied by subcontractors, you can specify the necessary input materials or components that are to be provided to the subcontractor for assembly or processing in respect of each delivery date stipulated.

An item of the procurement type "external service" contains a set of service specifications. The latter can be hierarchically structured. The summary view of such a hierarchical structure is referred to as an outline. The outline comprises a number of levels, each representing a level of the service hierarchy. The order quantities are set out in service lines, representing individual jobs or activities. Value limits are specified instead of service lines for services or work that initially cannot be specified precisely.

If services covered by an already existing contract are released (ordered, or called off against the contract), the PO item can contain a value limit relating to the contract in question.


Conditions can apply at various levels:

Account Assignment

Costs can be apportioned among various Controlling objects via the account assignment.

Vendor Confirmations

Vendors can issue confirmations to the relevant purchasing organization indicating their compliance or non-compliance with scheduled delivery dates.

PO History

The transactions following on from a purchase order are documented in the PO history on an item-specific basis.

Partner Roles

Instead of the vendor as the order recipient, other business partners can appear in various partner roles (e.g. goods supplier or invoicing party).


In the purchase order, each item is destined for a certain plant. Each plant belongs to a company code, to which the vendorís (creditorís) invoice is directed.


You can enter text in a purchase order directly or change texts that are suggested by the system. There are two kinds of text:

You define which texts appear in which order on printouts in Customizing for Purchasing. You can enter several header or item texts, which you can identify by your own codes.

See also:

Entering Text, Printing and Transmitting Documents as Messages

Release (Approval) Procedure

Purchase orders can be subject to a release (clearance, or approval) procedure.

Note on the term "release": In MM Purchasing, this term is used A) as a generic term covering various kinds of order document issued against outline agreements (these may be release orders issued against contracts or scheduling agreement releases, i.e. types of rolling delivery schedule issued against scheduling agreements, and B) (as here) in connection with an internal approval or expenditure authorization process for purchasing documents. In both cases, "releasing" can be regarded as equivalent to "giving the green light" to go ahead with a certain action (e.g. to the vendor to deliver a certain quantity of materials, or to Purchasing to create or issue a PO for items requested by a user department).

See also:

Release (Approval) Procedure.




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