Entering content frameFunction documentation Material Label (Material Tag) Locate the document in its SAP Library structure


The material label (tag) serves as an identification tag for a handling unit. It describes the type and contents of the handling unit, and provides all the information in a clear manner and in the form of a bar code. This information:


In the automobile industry, the material label has a central, logistics meaning. The component supplier sends a shipping notification to the manufacturer through EDI. During this procedure, information on the handling units is transmitted as well. When handling units are marked with a material label, the manufacturer can check the respective materials in goods receipt and thus make this process more efficient with the help of scanners. The material label serves for identification purposes until the handling unit is unpacked in the warehouse or used up in the production department.

The contents and appearance of the material label for the automobile industry in Western Europe is defined by the Odette code (Organization for Data Exchange by Tele-Transmission in Europe) in the norm Odette Transport Label. The German Automobile Industry Association has, for the most part, adopted this norm in its guidelines manual 4902 Material Tags. In North America, the Automotive Industry Action Group has also set a standard with the Shipping / Part Identification Label.

The Odette and AIAG labels, though different in appearance, serve the same purpose.

In both cases you have a shipping label with information on the packed material.

Therefore, we refer to these labels as material labels. Please note that other branches of industry have adopted these standards from the automobile industry. Below you see an example of an Odette Transport Label:

This graphic is explained in the accompanying text


For label printing, set your parameters as follows:

The output determination procedure AUTOMOTIVE contains the output type MALB.

Use processing time 3 (explicit request).

Afterwards, label printing takes place using the transaction "Output for Handling Units" (VL74). You can use this transaction to select all the handling units for deliveries or shipments. If you wish to reprint a single label, you can do so by selecting individual handling units with this transaction.


The material label is printed through output control. The condition technique in the output control provides great flexibility with the determination of the:

The material label is represented in the system by the output type MALB (material label) within the application for handling units (V6). The output type is linked in the standard system to the access sequence 0002 that references a condition table with the key Ship-to party and Packaging material.

The material label is printed with the help of a new layout module that meets the standards required for the form and scalability of script and bar code. The standard version includes examples for a Printronix IGP printer.


A printout is thus only possible if the printer understands the description language IGP. Alternatively, a converter box can perform the conversion from IGP into another description language, such as PCL5. For information on print control, for example, for ZPL, refer to the section Adapting Label Layout.

Three examples for control of an IGP printer are supplied for the following norms:

If you wish to adapt or expand these examples, or use them as a reference for other labels, you can do so by following the guidelines in the section Adapting Label Layout.

You can assign the layout module to the output type and the transmission medium, or directly to the condition record. The assignment in the condition record has a higher priority.


A component supplier has mostly American customers.

Therefore, the supplier maintains layout module AIAG_B3_93 for output type MALB and transmission medium 1 (print).

For the small number of European customers, the supplier maintains layout module ODETTE_1_4 in the condition records.

Of course, this is only possible if the condition table has the ship-to-party in the key (as set in the standard version with access sequence 0002).

Printer Determination via the Shipping Point

You can also store a printer within the condition record. Since the printer and thus also the location are defined and determined through organizational units, the printer can also be determined directly via the shipping point. For this case there is a print parameter for each output type. In the standard version, print parameter 5 is assigned to output type MALB.

If the type and size of the labels are uniform (for example, DIN A5, self-adhesive label) and only the layout varies, maintain under Sales and Distribution ® Master Data ® Others ® Print parameter(s) for output type MALB one label printer for each shipping point.

If the layout varies and therefore different printers are required, you need to execute the following activities:

  1. Define an expanded condition table
  2. (for example, shipping point, ship-to party, and packaging material)

  3. Assign the expanded condition table via a new access sequence to the output type MALB.
  4. Maintain the printer within the new condition records.




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