The SAP Handling Unit Management (HUM) module was created to facilitate operations with stock units as they are moved around warehouses and supply chains. In the logistics process of an organization, the individual unit of each material is not moved. Instead of that, the materials are packed together with packing materials like cartons, pallets, containers, etc., and moved together within the supply chain or stored in an inventory as a group. This group of material and packaging material is called a handling unit (HU) and managing the HU movement across the supply chain and in an inventory is called Handling Unit Management (HUM).
The HU requires a unique identification number called the Serial Shipping Container Code number (SSCC) which is generated for each HU. Once the HU is generated with the SSCC number, this can be stored in the inventory at the storage location or bin level and can also pass them to respective partners throughout the supply chain. The HU can be moved within or outside of the organization, can be deleted or repacked.
Structure of Handling Unit
The “Handling Unit” contains parameters like the identification number which is the SSCC number, dimensions such as weight and volume in a configured unit of measure, products and quantities as per the packed items, and packaging material used to wrap the HU. This is further categorized in a handling unit header and handling unit items. The header data of a handling unit consists of dimensions and spots where the HU is stored while the item level consists of products, batches, quantities, and packaging material.
The HU (Handling Unit) is the goods packed with packaging material in the logistics and supply chain area. It is designed and developed to allow auto-generation of HU number after production receipt based on the pallet quantity, it can be stored in the inventory as HU for HU managed storage location. The handling units’ functionalities are also used in delivery transactions to pack the delivery products in HUs, used in WM (Warehouse Management) and EWM (Extended Warehouse Management) transactions for HU movements within the warehouse, and store the inventory at the HU level in storage bins. All the information contained in the material such as batches, serial numbers, quantity are stored in the handling units. Handling Units can also be proposed in the sales order by packing proposal and determined during delivery creation.
SAP Inventory Management (IM)
Inventory Management in SAP enables managing the product inventory at the storage location level. To have HUM activated at the IM level, we need to activate the same at the storage location level in configuration. The handling unit in a non-HU managed storage location functions differently from the handling unit in the HU managed storage location, in the sense that it does not control the inventory but still can move HU across the supply chain by packing the delivery. This is mostly applicable when there no need to keep HU level inventory in the plant but only the need for shipping the goods wrapped with packaging material.
The handling unit in an HU storage location means that the HU numbers are visible in the inventory. The handling units are then packed in the delivery for shipment to the customer.
The following goods movements transactions are supported when we use the HUM at the IM level:
- Goods receipts
- Goods issues
- Transfer postings
- Stock transfers
In the area of production orders, handling units (HUs) can be used in the following cases:
- Goods issuance for the withdrawal of components – We can issue the components required for the production as per BOM, that are already being managed in HUs.
- Goods receipts for materials produced – While posting the receipt of the goods for the Finished Goods (FG) regarding production order, we can pack the FGs and generate the HU number after every receipt. In the case of make-to-stock production, the HUM can handle partial quantities of stock individually with differently packaged handling units (example: packaging variations for different customer groups).
- HU labels – HU labels are generated at each production receipt and then the same will be scanned through RF devices for movement within the warehouse and then shipping out to the customer.
SAP Handling Unit Management Transactions
The following transactions are mostly used in SAP S/4HANA and SAP ECC for handling units:
- HU01 – Creation of Handling Unit
- HU02 – Change of Handling Unit
- HU03 – Display HU
- HUMO – Monitor Handling Units
SAP Handling Unit in Extended Warehouse Management (EWM)
In EWM, handling units are always stored in storage bins within the storage section/storage types. To activate the HUM in SAP EWM, we need to maintain the indicator of HUs permitted in storage type in the configuration of storage types. The stock of HUs in each bin can be checked in transaction /SCWM/MON. The same transaction can be used to manually print the HU labels.
HU types are configured in EWM to classify packaging materials and handling units with the same characteristics. These HU types are then grouped together in HU type groups. The HU types are assigned to each storage type as per the business requirement and accordingly determined during various processes in EWM like Putaway, Deconsolidation, etc. There are several HU types like boxes, cartons, wire baskets, pallets, containers, crates, etc. In EWM as well the HUs are managed in inventory at bin level and can be moved within the supply chain.
The pallet storage put away strategy in EWM controls the storage functionalities of HUs. This takes into consideration the size of the HU and determines the most suitable bin in the storage type for that HU. In the configuration, HU types are assigned to the bin types and pallet storage is enabled at the storage type level.
During put away, the system uses the HU type for the HU to put away and the bin type of the main storage bin, to find a storage bin section and thus storages the HU there, as shown in the figure below.
SAP Handling Unit Management is an important tool for the warehouse to minimize errors, improve stock management and traceability. This can be implemented throughout the logistics supply chain right from producers to the end-user. By applying HUM in the ERP, businesses can improve productivity, accuracy in the shipping process and thus resulting in an overall increased efficiency.
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