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Supplier Evaluation in SAP: Success through partner optimisation

In today’s fast-paced business world, supplier selection is a crucial decision for companies aiming to stay competitive or gain a competitive advantage. The process of supplier evaluation is more important than ever, forming the foundation for successful operations and sustainable growth. As businesses strive for efficiency, reliability, and innovation, the careful assessment of potential partners has become a fundamental practice. For many years, it has been possible to conduct supplier evaluations within the SAP standard. SAP’s update to S/4HANA brought many new features to the Materials Management (MM) module, including changes in supplier evaluation. This blog post explores what has changed with Fiori and provides insights into considerations when applying supplier evaluation in the SAP system.

Supplier evaluation is already standardly integrated into the SAP system within the Materials Management (MM) module. Therefore, there is no need for system extensions to leverage the functionalities of supplier evaluation in SAP. Through integration into the MM module, supplier evaluation has access to a multitude of data within the SAP system. From procurement and inventory management to logistics invoice verification and the Logistics Information System (LIS), all data is taken into account and contributes to the evaluation.

Supplier Evaluation without Fiori

To use supplier evaluation in the SAP system, customization settings for supplier evaluation must be maintained. Under the path SPRO > Materials Management > Purchasing > Supplier Evaluation, all necessary customization settings can be made.

Customizing

An essential part of supplier evaluation is the criteria against which suppliers should be assessed. Using the so-called main criteria, which in turn include sub-criteria, an overall score is calculated. The overall score serves as the final result of the supplier evaluation and forms the basis for assessing the overall performance of suppliers. Suppliers can be compared with each other based on this overall score.

The type and number of main criteria can be specified in the customization itself. It is possible to create up to 99 main criteria in the general customization. Furthermore, the system allows for 20 sub-criteria per main criterion, based on which the score for the respective main criterion is determined.

In standard settings, the SAP system already provides 6 main criteria. For the evaluation of suppliers from whom materials are procured, the following main criteria are used:

  1. Price
  2. Quality
  3. Delivery
  4. Service

In addition, there is the main criterion “Performance,” which is used when services are procured from suppliers, and the main criterion “Invoice,” which is used for both material and service procurement.

If additional main criteria are required, as mentioned earlier, custom main criteria can be created. The following screenshot provides an exemplary representation of the customization of the main criteria.

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Customizing main criteria (SPRO > Materials management > Purchasing > Supplier evaluation > Define criteria)

In supplier evaluation, SAP provides several sub-criteria as the smallest assessment units by default. The assessment of these sub-criteria determines the score of the respective higher-level main criterion. Depending on their nature, sub-criteria can be assessed manually, semi-automatically, or automatically.

The following automatic sub-criteria can already be used by default in the SAP system:

Sub-criteria for the main criterion Price

  • Price Level
  • Price Development

Sub-criteria for the main criterion Quality

  • Goods Receipt
  • Quality Audit
  • Complaint

Sub-criteria for the main criterion Delivery

  • On-time Delivery
  • Quantity Accuracy
  • Shipping Instructions
  • Confirmation Date 

Sub-criteria for the main criterion Invoice 

  • Quantity Deviation
  • Price Deviation

Another prerequisite for conducting supplier evaluation in the MM module is the maintenance of purchasing organisation data in customization. After defining the main criteria and sub-criteria in general, it is now necessary to decide which of these are relevant per purchasing organisation and should be considered for supplier evaluations within the respective purchasing organization. Additionally, the method by which the main criteria should be weighted needs to be determined. For example, there could be an equal weighting or an unequal weighting between the criteria.

To complete the settings at the level of purchasing organisations, point values must be assigned to the automatic sub-criteria. These points serve as the basis for calculating the evaluation score. The evaluation score is determined based on a deviation percentage. Both the point value and deviation percentage are customizable and come in combination.

In the detailed view of each purchasing organisation, the validity period is maintained, establishing the evaluation period. The validity period is measured in calendar days and is subtracted from the date on which the evaluation is conducted to calculate the evaluation period.

Under the following link, SAP describes how the system determines the automatic criteria and calculates the point values for the assessment (https://help.sap.com/docs/SAP_S4HANA_ON-PREMISE/af9ef57f504840d2b81be8667206d485/3478b6535fe6b74ce10000000a174cb4.html)

Supplier Evaluation Execution

Once the customization is completed, supplier evaluation can be carried out in the SAP GUI using the following transactions provided by SAP:

  • ME61 Create Evaluation Record
  • ME62 View Supplier Evaluation
  • ME63 Perform Automatic Re-evaluation or Create Evaluation Record
  • ME64 Conduct Evaluation Comparison
  • ME65 Display Supplier Ranking per Purchasing Organisation

Other useful SAP transactions for supplier evaluation can be found in the SAP menu as follows: Logistics > Materials Management > Purchasing > Master Data > Vendor Evaluation.

Completed assessments are always up-to-date and valid on the respective key date on which the assessment was carried out.

The timeliness of an overall score can be checked in the evaluation record (ME62). The field “Created on” can be found there. This field provides information about when the last evaluation for the respective supplier was conducted and saved using the SAP transaction ME63. A saved re-evaluation via transaction ME63 ensures that the “Created on” date is updated. The following screenshot illustrates an exemplary representation of an evaluation record. In this example, all main criteria are equally weighted. The overall score of 78 points can then be compared with the scores of other suppliers.

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Supplier evaluation with Fiori

The supplier evaluation was expanded by SAP with the introduction of S/4HANA. In addition to new functionalities in the Fiori interface, which now coexists with the classic GUI since S/4HANA, there are also additional customization activities for supplier evaluation. The following representation shows the extension of the customization path SPRO > Materials Management > Purchasing > Supplier Evaluation.

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Extension of customizing for supplier evaluation under S/4HANA

Among other enhancements, it is now possible to evaluate suppliers based on purchasing categories via Fiori and establish criteria for this purpose (refer to SPRO > Materials Management > Purchasing > Supplier Evaluation > Supplier Evaluation by Purchasing Category > Define Criteria). SAP already provides 6 predefined criteria in the standard configuration:

  • Inspection lot
  • Quantity
  • Time
  • Price
  • Questionnaire
  • Quality Notification

In addition, SAP provides the option to define and activate up to 6 additional criteria beyond the predefined ones (see customization activity “Activate Custom Criteria for Supplier Evaluation”).

The determination of point values and deviation percentages still needs to be done in customization. However, it is possible to set the weightings of the criteria for calculating the overall score either in customization or in Fiori through the app “Supplier Evaluation Weighting and Score” (App ID F2551). Changes to weighting settings in customization are automatically transferred to the app, and vice versa. Therefore, there is no data discrepancy between Fiori and GUI customization in this regard.

To use supplier evaluation in the Fiori interface, it is not mandatory to define purchasing categories, even though the customization activity’s name might suggest otherwise. If it is desired to structure supplier evaluation based on purchasing categories, the purchasing categories can be created and modified using the “Manage Purchasing Categories” app (F0337).

Within Fiori, there is now the option to conduct supplier evaluation based on the overall score or to examine the individual criteria in detail. SAP provides dedicated apps for both overall evaluation and detailed examination, offering interactive tiles in the Fiori Launchpad that provide live data and can be easily updated. Information about when the tiles were last updated can be directly obtained from the tiles (see the following representation).

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Supplier evaluation Fiori Launchpad

Fiori questionnaire as an additional assessment criterion

The most significant change within supplier evaluation, however, comes with the introduction of individually customizable questionnaires. The customization under S/4HANA has been expanded to include Supplier and Category Management. Various settings, including maintaining number ranges, need to be configured within this framework before questionnaires are ready for use in Fiori. Supplier and Category Management can be accessed via the path SPRO > Materials Management > Purchasing > Supplier and Category Management.

To incorporate questionnaires into the overall evaluation of a supplier, specific questionnaires need to be created and forwarded to the appropriate internal target groups. Various mandatory settings are required for this, such as assigning the role SAP_BR_BUYER or SAP_BR_PURCHASER to the SAP user.

  1. The main component of any questionnaire is the selection of questions suitable for the target audience. To create and manage questions in general, the “Manage Questions – Evaluation” app (App ID /SRMSMC/WDA_QLB_OVP_MAIN()) is used. Targeted questions can be grouped together using questionnaires. This helps in sending the right questions to the appropriate target groups. The “Manage Evaluation Questionnaire” app (App ID F2194) is used to create and manage questionnaires. Now, decisions can be made about which of the previously created questions should be answered within the questionnaire. Since, for example, a logistics manager may have different information about a supplier compared to the purchasing department, it is advisable to create separate questionnaires with tailored questions for each recipient to obtain the best possible assessment values.
  2. After completing the questionnaires, it is necessary to determine who and to what extent should assess the questions. The “Manage Assessment Templates” app (App ID F2193) summarizes the following information and allows for settings within created assessment templates:
  • Days (since the availability date) until the response deadline
  • Assessors (SAP users) including email addresses
  • Suppliers to be assessed
  • Questionnaires to be answered
  • Assignment of assessors to suppliers and questionnaire
  • Communication with assessors (email text for assessment invitation)
    Initiating the assessment request triggers the answering process. Through the “Assessment History” tab, users can jump to the “Scorecards” app (App ID F2191) to analyze interim results. The app provides an overview of all responses received so far per assessor, facilitating the evaluation of questionnaires. An alternative is the “Monitor Responses” app (App ID F1649), which provides additional information such as deadlines and the status of individual questionnaires.

    3. A prerequisite for filling out the questionnaires is the assignment of the role SAP_BR_EMPLOYEE or SAP_BR_EMPLOYEE_PROCUREMENT in the profile of the relevant SAP users. This authorization allows the assessors to use the “Evaluate Suppliers” app (App ID F1650). Assigned questionnaires can be viewed, and the questions can be answered using this app.

 

Conclusion

When working with Fiori, one quickly notices the difference compared to supplier evaluation before S/4HANA or before Fiori. Instead of a rigid presentation of assessment scores, Fiori provides users with visually enhanced displays highlighted with colors. In addition to the option to choose between different diagrams, it is also possible to analyse trends or perform classic evaluations at the document level.

In contrast to traditional supplier evaluation, Fiori allows for the individual determination of the assessment period with each reassessment using filters. Additionally, the integration of questionnaires makes supplier evaluation even more transparent, providing the opportunity to conduct a more detailed assessment.

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If you have any further questions about supplier evaluation, feel free to contact us. We are happy to assist you!

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About the author
Tobias Kohler
Tobias Kohler
I am an SAP ERP Consultant at PIKON Deutschland AG in Saarbrücken. In addition to my focus on the Materials Management module, I am also part of the internal Competence Centre for S/4HANA at the PIKON International Consulting Group.

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