SCM Champ: A Supply Chain Management Blog

SCM Champ: A Supply Chain Management Blog
Supply Chain Management: Its Not About Technology, Its About Economy

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Supply Chain Management in SAP Environment: Core Interface (CIF)

SAP APO can be integrated with both ECC and non ECC systems. Integration between SAP APO and ECC system takes place via CIF while its integration with non SAP systems takes place through BAPIs (Business Application Programming Interfaces). CIF is a real time interface that can integrate APO with multiple ECC systems. Only the data objects needed in the data structures in APO for the different planning and optimization processes are transferred from the complex data set of ECC system to APO system. CIF ensures both initial data transfer and delta transfer (transfer of data changes and updates) within APO. Only master data relevant for planning is transferred from ECC and only the settings which can not be transferred from ECC are maintained within APO system.

The Supply Chain planning primarily uses the following SAP components: SAP ECC, SAP SCM (including APO, Advanced Planner and Optimizer), and SAP BW (Business Information Warehouse). The SAP SCM system contains the Advanced Planning and Optimization (APO), Supply Chain Event Management (EM) and Inventory Collaboration Hub (ICH) components, among others.


Once all the master data and transaction data required for SCM planning is ready to be transferred, this data is transferred from ECC to APO system via CIF. Master data transfers ECC to SCM but transactional data transfers in both directions. Master data maintenance takes place in ECC but APO master data maintenance which does not have the counterpart in ECC, takes place in APO.


 CIF connects ECC with SCM through RFC connection and follows the below steps:

  • Define logical systems
  • Assign logical systems
  • Define RFC destination
  • Determine target system
  • Specify APO release

When APO system is connected with multiple ECC systems where we are suspecting objects’ number range over lapping, the logical systems need to be assigned to different Business System Groups (BSG). eg two different material with the same name. Initial data transfer is initiated through a transaction but after that all the data changes are transferred automatically on real time basis. 

As compare to master data, transaction data constantly changes as CIF automatically updates the transaction data whenever it is changed in the source system.


Below is the table with the details of which data is transferred from ECC to APO and what their corresponding names are in APO:

Data Transfer:

Plant as Planning & production in ECC
Location with location type 1001
Plant as Distribution center in ECC
Location with location type 1002
Location with location type 1010
Transportation Zone
Location with Location Type 1005
Location with location type 1011
Storage location MRP Area (type2)
Location with location type 1007
Material Master
Work Center/ Resources
Routing/BOM/ Master Recipe
External procurement relationships
Transportation lanes
ATP Checking group
ATP group
Total replenishment lead time
Checking horizon
Requirement class
Check mode
Checking rule
Business event
ECC strategies from strategy group
APO proposes the strategies
Mixed MRP ind.
Assembly planning
Consumption modes 1,2,3,4
Consumption modes 1,2,3 (4 non-existent)
Ind./Collec. req. 1 (Ind. Req.)
Possible individual customer req.
Ind./Collec. req. 2 (Only collect.)
Always collective req.
Replenishment to maximum stock level
Lot-for-lot order qty.
Lot size data (min./max stock level, safety stock, reorder point, call horizon, procurement type, planned delivery time, GR processing time, loading group)
All are transferred
Single capacity category
Single resource
Work center
(eg Plant 1000, Work center 1904, capacity category 001 for machine, capacity category 002 for labor)
Resource per work center capacity
(eg W1904_1000_001/ Cat. P/ Loc. 1000
W1904_1000_002/ Cat. P/ Loc. 1000)

Work center hierarchy
Not supported
Shift models and intervals
Not transferred
Standard available capacity
Rate of resource utilization
Relevant for finite scheduling
Finite planning
Routing (Operations with no control key and not relevant for scheduling
Not transferred
Routing (Operations with control key and relevant for scheduling
Mapped with PPM (routing > operation > activity)
Quota arrangement
Can not be transferred, but is maintained
Source list for source determination
Can not be transferred

 Below are some important points which are the essence of all my CIF knowledge and experience and also this point wise description will make it easy for you to remember these points:

  1. Master data and transaction data are transferred through integration model defined in ECC and even though integration model distinguishes between the two but two should be transferred in two separate models. Integration models are uniquely identified by their names and application. In the case of same material with two different names, we can use customer exit in APO inbound processing.  

SAP CIF Integration Model:


Activate or Deactivate Integration Model:

 Location Types:

  1. Planning for critical materials only takes place in APO but planning for less important materials takes place in ECC.
  1. Initial data transfer runs in a particular order: objects are selected successively, transferred to APO and processed in a sequence.
  1. After processing, APO transfers the planned or production orders to ECC. Material should not be planned again in ECC, we use the MRP type X0 (APO relevant material) in the integration model. X0 explodes the BOM if necessary. 

  1. We can regenerate and activate the integration model periodically to make sure that system has transferred all the APO relevant master data. Since the existing change pointers are also processed in the procedure, a separate delta transfer is not necessary.
  1. Any changes made in APO relevant master data in ECC must also be transferred to APO system. If we make changes in only one data (eg material no.), system transfers the whole data record (material master record of that material).
  1. If vendor and customer have the same no. in ECC, we need to rename one of them using the customer exit.
  1. Purchasing info-record and outline agreements are transferred as external procurement relation and a corresponding transportation lane is created.
  1. Purchasing price is a part of external procurement relationship.
  1. Subcontract procurement BOM is transferred as subcontract PPM.
  1. APO does not need strategy for make-to-order (strategy 20) production as APO strategies are only concerned with PIR. So make to order (variant configuration) is done using PDS.

 Requirement Strategies:

PPM and PDS Transfer:

  1. Transportation lanes manually created in APO are not overwritten.
  1. APO supports: single activity resources (time continuous, capacity for one activity - PPDS), multiple activity resources (time continuous, capacity for multiple activities - PPDS), Bucket resources (time intervals, available capacity per time interval - SNP), Mixed resources (PPDS & SNP)
  1. Resources are the part of APO master data.
  1. Resource type created in ECC and transferred to APO can not be changed in APO.
  1. PDS is a data structure that is generated as an alternative to the PPM via CIF from the ECC routing and BOM in APO and is used for the order explosion.
  1. Phantom assemblies are included in the BOM as “material BOMs” in the integration model using PDS but are not exploded in PDS, unlike PPM. So there should be one BOM for each phantom assembly.
  1. PDS can not be changed in APO so we should maintain the planning specific data for APO in ECC system.
  1. Variant configuration can not be performed with PPM but can be planned with PDS.
  1. Mass maintenance of master data enables the following master data to be processed: procurement relationship, location, PPM, product, quota arrangement, resource and transportation lane.
  1. Maintenance of master data in APO is advisable only for those fields that cannot be maintained as part of a transfer of changes to master data from ECC.
  1. If locations and products are created in APO using CIF, they are automatically created in active version 000.
  1. If planning is simulated in inactive planning version, locations and products fields are read from the active version.
  1. If resources are created in APO using CIF, they are automatically created in active version 000. They can be assigned to inactive models manually using mass data maintenance or supply chain engineer.
  1. If PPM created in APO using CIF, they are automatically created in active version 000. However PPM is valid in all planning versions with an exception to time dependent parameters in PPM such as scrap, material consumption and resource consumption. They can be assigned to inactive models manually using mass data maintenance or supply chain engineer.
  1. All the transactional data in ECC is mapped to orders in APO which are distinguished by their ATP category. So APO transaction data is not identical to ECC transaction data.
  1. PIR can be transferred from ECC to APO using only CIF but PIR transfer from APO to ECC can be only be triggered in APO-DP using a separate transaction.
  1. Default setting in SNP makes sure that changes are collected and transferred to ECC.
  1. From SNP to ECC > “Set transfer to OLTP system”
  1. APO customizing > Basic settings > Maintain Distribution Definition specify the logical name of the ECC system we are going to publish our planning results in, even if we operate only in one ECC system.
  1. Storage location stock must be added in the integration model to include it in the planning.
  1. MRP type X0 excludes the material from ECC flexible demand planning to make sure it is not planned again in ECC.
  1. PIR in ECC can be the result of manual demand management, forecast or S&OP functions and are transferred to SCM using integration model.

 In the next postings we will see how SAP APO system processes the data received via CIF and how it helps an organization in its Supply Chain Planning.