The assignment of serial numbers is the initial step in the serialization process. The process involves a requesting system making a request for a block of serial numbers for a specific product. Sounds simple, but the challenge comes in controlling the size of the block that can be requested.
Companies who rely on partners or outsourced manufacturers do not have direct control over the external systems which request the number ranges. Therefore, how can the company control how many serial numbers a specific partner can request and receive? Without this control, a large block size of 1,000,000 serials instead of 100,000 could be requested. This can lead to inefficiency in serial number allotment and loss of serial numbers faster than planned. Serial numbers may seem like a notional item with no cost associated with them. However, the cost arises in the data management and any activities involved in aggregating, sorting and collating data.
SAP AII currently doesn’t restrict block size requests. However, it is possible to add functionality to SAP’s Auto-ID Infrastructure (AII) with some customizations. The customizations to control the block size can be achieved through the following:
- A thorough understanding of the numbering scheme implementation in SAP AII. Each numbering scheme is implemented with its own configuration and partition values.
- Understating the number generation and sequencing of serial numbers in SAP AII. SAP AII generates serial numbers using some internal logic. It is important to know how to intercept and enhance this logic.
- Replacing the appropriate standard function modules through custom code and configuration settings.Creating user configurable settings: The block allocation sizes needs to be controlled and stored in some user based table.
- Creating user configurable settings: The block allocation sizes needs to be controlled and stored in some user based table.
With this specific implementation it is possible to restrict the block size to prevent accidental or malicious number range requests. When working with partner or external systems, it is important to have the controls in place to manage the information being sent and received. In the case of Number Range Management, the standard functionality of AII does not provide the controls for. By leveraging SAP’s extensibility, adding the control logic was just a matter of adding the logic and data tables to enable it.