Methods of Characteristic Derivation

Methods of Characteristic Derivation 

Depending on the characteristics that you have decided to use in the future, CO-PA allows different methods of deriving these characteristics or, more precisely, for also specifying the values for the characteristics when you post documents. The following methods are available:

  1. Assignment
  2. Table lookup
  3. SAP enhancement
  4. Initialization
  5. Derivation rule

You can also process the defined characteristic derivations step-by-step in a logical sequence in a characteristic derivation strategy. What is a characteristic derivation strategy? For characteristic derivation, CO-PA enables you to execute all derivation steps in a logical sequence. You create a characteristic derivation strategy in customizing. The path is as follows: CONTROLLING • PROFITABILITY ANALYSIS • MASTER DATA • DEFINE CHARACTERISTIC DERIVATION. The table that appears is initially empty, as the system does not know yet what you want to derive. Step-by-step you can define the logical sequence that the SAP system is to follow to derive the characteristics. For example, you can define dependencies in your strategy, such as: first derive characteristic XY; then derive characteristic YZ based on characteristic XY. The table below shows an example of a characteristic derivation strategy.


Example of a characteristic derivation strategy

The characteristic derivation strategy is a mandatory prerequisite for characteristic derivation in CO-PA. The derivation does not work without this strategy. In case characteristic derivation steps are to be brought forward at any point, in our example we start with step 16.

Characteristic Derivations for Our Example

In the following table, for our example data we have described which characteristics are to be derived and with which characteristic values. Via the customer master record, we want to derive three customer hierarchy characteristics as well as the customer group and the sales employee of the customer, as shown in Table.

Characteristic assignments for customers


Firstly, we derive the customer hierarchy for the three characteristics Customer hierarchy 1, 2, and 3 from the customer master record via assignment — if you use the SAP ERP module SD (Sales and Distribution), you can create these customer hierarchies in SD.

Excursus: How do you maintain a customer hierarchy in SD? You can arrange your customers hierarchically using customer hierarchies. In accordance with our example above, our customer K1 is reflected at customer hierarchy level 3. The customer belongs to customer hierarchy KH21 at level 2, and in turn to customer hierarchy KH11 at level 1. You can maintain customer hierarchies via LOGISTICS • SALES AND DISTRIBUTION • MASTER DATA • BUSINESS PARTNER • CUSTOMER HIERARCHY • EDIT or using transaction VDH1N.


Editing customer hierarchies

In our example, we maintain the customer hierarchy for type A (you can define different types of standard hierarchies, type A is the SAP standard) and define a validity date for which we want to edit the customer hierarchy. For example, we maintain the hierarchy for customer K1.

Hierarchy nodes

You must first create all nodes that you want to reflect as hierarchy nodes via K1 as customer masters in the sales area beforehand (in the current example, KH11 and KH21).

If you execute according to the selection above, you can use the CREATE or EDIT buttons to maintain the customer hierarchy for customer K1.


Maintaining the customer hierarchy for customer K1

Once you have maintained the customer hierarchies for all of our end customers K1 to K6, your screen appears as shown in Figure.


Complete customer hierarchy for our example

Is the customer hierarchy maintained in SD sufficient for deriving the corresponding customer hierarchy characteristics in CO-PA? No — first you have to do the following:

1. Define a derivation step in your characteristic derivation strategy.

2. Fill the HIERARCHY ASSIGNMENT field in the general data of the customer master.

To define a derivation step in characteristic derivation maintenance, create a new step and then select DERIVATION RULES. In detail, the strategy step appears as shown in Figure.


Detail derivation step of a customer hierarchy

The definition contains source fields and target fields. The source has to be defined in this way because we want to derive the hierarchy from the customer master. In SD, a customer is always created for a sales area. The sales area always consists of the three fields SALES ORGANIZATION, DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL, and DIVISION. Therefore, these fields are also in the source.

The correct hierarchy level of a customer is transferred to the GENERAL DATA of the customer master via the HIERARCHY ASSIGNMENT field.


Hierarchy assignment field in the customer master

Each customer hierarchy is therefore created as a normal customer master. It is the additional maintenance of customer hierarchy type A in the SD customer hierarchy and the filling of the HIERARCHY ASSIGNMENT field that distinguishes this customer master as a customer hierarchy.

Since we only want to work with three customer hierarchy levels in our example, our original customer masters K1 to K6 also represent the lowest customer hierarchy level here. In the customer master, they receive hierarchy assignment number 3. Customer KH11 was also created as a customer master and also receives 1 in the HIERARCHY ASSIGNMENT field, and so on.

To check that the configuration is correct, simulate a business transaction using transaction KE21. You can use this transaction to create a line item in CO-PA manually — to do this, as a first step, enter the master data from which the derivation should take place, for example, customer, sales organization, etc.

Billing document header data of the simulation document

Then press DERIVATION: you will see that for customer K1, including Logistics data, you can derive the customer hierarchy to all three levels, as prescribed.


Evidence of the derivation of the SD customer hierarchy in CO-PA

Once the derivation step is complete, our characteristic derivation strategy looks as shown in Figure below. In case characteristic derivation, steps are to be brought forward at any point, in our example we start with step 16.


Derivation step for deriving the customer hierarchy

Table Lookup

As an example for table lookup, let us select characteristics that can be derived from the product master. The basic data view of a product master, which you create in the SAP ERP module MM, contains the PRODUCT HIERARCHY field (the technical name of this field is MARA-PRDHA). This field can contain up to 18 characters. We want to derive two characteristics from the product master: kind of product and product group. According to their definition, both characteristics should have three characters each. For example, the PRODUCT HIERARCHY field of product A1 contains the combination PA1PG2. Within the framework of table lookup, the first three characters of the PRODUCT HIERARCHY table field are assigned to the target characteristic kind of product, and the last three characters to the target characteristic product group. Thus, product A1 belongs to the kind of product PA1 and product group PG2. Provided the PRODUCT HIERARCHY field for product master A1 is not changed, for each posting for product A1, these characteristics are also derived and are available, for example, for evaluations. If the field is changed, the CO-PA characteristics are provided with new characteristic values from the date of the change.

I will now show you the required steps in customizing. We will proceed from the starting position shown in the above Table.


Example of a product hierarchy

In the basic data view of products 1 to 6, the PRODUCT HIERARCHY field was filled by your master data team — for example, for product A1, with the value PA1PG20000.


Product hierarchy in material master

Using the characteristic derivation strategy described, we now want to read, for example, the PRODUCT HIERARCHY field for product A1 with its value PA1PG20000 such that the first three characters are read for the characteristic kind of product (i.e., PA1), and for the characteristic product group, the characters 4-6, i.e., PG2. Since the PRODUCT HIERARCHY field can be up to 18 characters long, but we only need the first six characters in our example, the remaining characters in the example are filled with “0.”

We will now define a further derivation step in the CO-PA customizing: in the example, step 17.

Product hierarchy derivation step

We can use the magnifying glass to look at the detail of this derivation step. Here too you must define a source and a target. We can find the source in the basic data view of the material master. The relevant SAP table is MARA. The CO-PA characteristic product (ARTNR) corresponds to the material number of the material master . In the target, we assign our user-defined characteristics WWPAR and WWPGR to the PRODUCT HIERARCHY field of the material master (MARA-PRDHA) and state that characteristic WWPAR is to be read from the first three characters of the field MARA-PRDHA and characteristic WWPGR from characters four to six (+ 3 ( 3)).

Detail derivation step of a product hierarchy

Therefore, for product A1, CO-PA reads PA1 for the characteristic kind of product and PG2 for the characteristic product group. But what do PA1 and PG2 mean? When we created operating concern Z111, we defined these two characteristics freely and with no template table. Therefore, we have to make the corresponding characteristic values known to CO-PA. We do this via transaction KES1 or via the path in the application menu: ACCOUNTING • CONTROLLING • PROFITABILITY ANALYSIS • MASTER DATA • CHARACTERISTIC VALUES • CHANGE CHARACTERISTIC VALUES.


Maintenance of characteristic values

By double-clicking the respective characteristics, you can maintain the values for that characteristic.


Characteristic values of the characteristic kind of product


Characteristic values of the characteristic product group

If you now create a CO-PA document, you can see that the product hierarchies for your new characteristics are derived (again, via a simulation using transaction KE21),

Billing document item data of the simulation document


Evidence of the derivation of the product hierarchy in CO-PA

Now we have to give each sales product a conversion factor for translating the base quantity unit into the alternative quantity. We do this in the SAP module MM in the additional specifications for a product. Via transaction MM02, go to the BASIC DATA 1 view of the product and from there again to the additional data. Here, choose the UNITS OF MEASURE tab; the screen is shown in Figure.


Alternative quantity units for a product

Product A1 weighs 100 KG per item. For our user exit, this means that the alternative quantity unit KG must be derived. A CO-PA user exit is available in the customizing for CO-PA, under TOOLS • SAP ENHANCEMENTS. Create a project and assign component COPA0001. By double-clicking the component, navigate to the Include ZXKKEU11. If you have a developer key in your system, you can fill this Include. First, maintain the header of the user exit analog to Figure.


User exit header for characteristic derivation

Then insert the line CASE I_OPERATING_CONCERN. Follow this with the coding shown in below figure.


User exit coding for deriving the quantity unit

To ensure that the user exit for deriving the quantity unit KG is also found in your operating concern, you have to make the user exit known in your characteristic derivation strategy in step 19 (see Figure below)


Enhancement of the characteristic derivation strategy for the user exit

By double-clicking line 19, you navigate to the detail screen for this derivation step.


Derivation of user exit I

We are accessing the quantity units of the product master and therefore this master must be named in the source. The objective of the derivation step and of course the user exit is to give the quantity field VVAMG that we have defined a quantity unit.

In the coding, we specified the derivation step “AMG” (see the coding in above figure — “CASE I_STEP_ID”). We specify this step on the ATTRIBUTES tab (see Figure below).


Derivation of the user exit attributes

Check whether the derivation works (using KE21, for example). The aim is for the quantity unit to be derived for the ALTERNATIVE QUANTITY UNIT field. You can see the evidence in Figure below.


Evidence of the correct derivation of the alternative quantity unit via the user exit

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