Outline agreements in SAP® — Release orders
In my last blog, I explained some fundamentals of outline agreements (value and quantity contracts, and also scheduling agreements) in SAP®.
As mentioned, I will now examine outline agreement release orders. I will first briefly explain how to look up these in SAP®, before moving on to the data situation. In detailed terms, this involves logging release orders at table level.
1. Look up release orders in SAP®
Release orders can be easily identified using SAP® GUI, as shown below. The example is based on a quantity contract, which we can look up using the SAP® transaction ME33K:
It is interesting to note that although the release order statistics show a total of four purchasing documents, the cumulative total for the first three is 0. Only the last purchase order with purchase order number 4500017169 and item 10 shows a release order of 2 tonnes, reducing the open target quantity from 250 tonnes to 248 tonnes.
For the sake of completeness, a screenshot of a value contract with document number 4600000030 is shown below; the release order statistics for item 20 are similar:
The relevant purchase order number and its relationship to the corresponding outline agreement (more precisely: the contract item, comprising document number and document item) is documented. We can now also see how a total of four purchase order items refer to our contract item, but that only one has resulted in a release order – the first three items have the deletion indicator L as attribute.
For the sake of completeness, the screenshot below shows the table EKAB for the value contract 4600000030 from example 2. The release orders can be identified in the same way:
This means that in these two fields, our contract release order from example 1 with purchasing document number 4500017169 and item 10 has the contents “4600000062” (number of the contract that is being released) and “10” (contract item). This table EKPO also shows the three purchase orders which were set to “deleted” and which therefore did not result in release orders.
For our value contract, we could of course also track this in EKPO, by filtering on the basis of KONNR = 4600000030; however, I will refrain from showing this screenshot here.
3. What does release order actually mean?
Finally, it is interesting to consider what a contract release order in SAP® actually means from a data analytics perspective:
A release order is a purchase order (or a purchase order request from which a purchase order is then generated) with a reference to an outline agreement. This is important because it is good to know that at least for the release order statistics in SAP®, subsequent transactions such as goods and invoice receipts don't play a role in terms of logging in the first step. In the statistics (i.e. in the transaction view and also in the data view), a quantity or a value is shown as a release order as soon as the purchase order has been made. Even if no delivery (and/or no goods receipt) or invoice receipt ultimately ensues, this release order documentation initially shows a reduction in the residual quantity/residual value. This is also shown in table EKAB as it contains only the purchase order quantity and net purchase order value as fields, but no goods receipt or invoice receipt information.
This blog post has explained how release orders for outline agreements can be identified in SAP® using SAP® transactions such as SE16 and ME33K, and also how the process is logged from a data perspective – i.e. via attributes in EKKO/EKPO as well as in the release order documentation table EKAB. It has shown that a release order is generally logged as soon as the purchase order makes a reference to it – irrespective of goods and invoice receipts.
From a risk perspective, the subject of outline agreements offers a number of fascinating starting points for consideration, including:
- Which agreements run for an unusually long/short time? Are there purchase orders for a combination of material/supplier for which a contract actually exists, but which make no reference to it?
- How are the conditions for these purchase orders which contain no references structured?
- Are there contracts which have already been exceeded in terms of quantities and values? • Are these actually overruns (which are also underpinned by corresponding goods and invoice receipts) or these “merely” purchase orders for which follow-up transactions have never materialised?
I hope that these two blog posts on the subject of outline agreements have been useful. Please send us your feedback if you have any questions or comments, or perhaps see things differently in professional practice.