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Units of Measure in SAP Purchase Orders


A purchase order contains two units of measure:

  • Order unit

This is the unit you specify in connection with the order quantity.

  • Order price unit

This is the unit that applies in connection with the net price and which is taken as the basis for invoice verification. If the order price unit does not correspond to the order unit, and if no conversion factor is specified in the system, you must enter a conversion factor on the item detail screen.

Consider an order for screws. The screws are ordered by the box. However, the vendor's price is $10 per kg, and 1 kg of screws fills 24 boxes.

A purchase order for 24 boxes of screws would contain the following information:

Order quantity


Order unit


Gross price per unit


Order price unit (number)


Order price unit


Conversion factor

24 boxes = 1 kg

Commercial Unit

For purchasing purposes, you can only use the units of measure that have been defined in the system as "commercial units". For example, "centimeter" is a commercial unit of measure, whereas "degrees Fahrenheit" is not. Units of measure are defined by your system administrator.

Units of Measure in the Info Record

You can store the order unit and the order price unit in an info record for a material and vendor. This enables the system to automatically adopt the order unit, the order price, the order price unit, and the conversion factor from the info record for use in purchasing documents.

Variable Order Unit

You specify whether a material can be procured using differing order units of measure in the material master record or the purchasing info record.

If you wish to procure a material with different order units, you must first maintain the Variable order unit field in the purchasing data of the material master record. If you order from a certain vendor in a different order unit, you can define this in the purchasing info record. (The entry in the info record has priority.)

In a purchasing document, you can enter an order unit that differs from the order unit defined in the material master record. As a result, the order unit is not overwritten when you enter a PO item with a material number.

If you work with variable order units, you should consider the following

  • Third-party order: If a third-party order is generated from a sales document, the sales unit is adopted as the order unit.
  • Requisition: You can also enter an order unit that differs from the base unit of measure stored in the material master record in a purchase requisition. You will find the order unit on the requisition item detail screen. When a requisition is converted into a PO, the Variable order unit field must set to active. Otherwise, the order unit in the requisition is overwritten by the order unit in the info record.
  • EAN: International article numbers (such as the European Article Number EAN or the Universal Product Code UPC) with different units of measure may have been defined for the material. You can enter EAN or UPC units of measure in the purchasing document if:
    • The base unit of measure and the order unit in the material master record differ
    • The variable order unit in the material master record is active

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