Product Structure and Variant Management

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Efficient variant management for configurable products

Benefit from our proven solution!

Successful companies know how to reduce the growing complexity of products and processes in a targeted manner using variant management. It is the control of the variant diversity that makes it possible to serve the market optimally with modularized solutions. Configurable products have long been the key to success, surpassing individually developed variants. However, the majority of companies find it challenging to map the variant management in an efficient way when it comes to data. With 4PEP Product Structure and Variant Management, we offer an approach for a smart variant management that serves as a basis for sustainable business success. It particularly focuses on comprehensive data from product development in addition to information from order processing.

4PEP Product Structure and Variant Management allows you to define the variants of a product that is to be developed along with the structure of the product in a simple and quick way. This web-based solution in the modern SAP Fiori® technology offers you transparency, flexibility and data safety while being closely integrated into SAP standard processes.

Produktstruktur- und Varianten­management

Success Stories

Kundenreferenz ERCO GmbH - ILC GmbH
Referenz ERCO

4PEP Product Structure and Variant Management at ERCO

Kundenreferenz BSH Hausgeräte GmbH - ILC GmbH
Logo BSH

Simple modeling of configurable products using 4PEP at BSH

Product Structure Management & Variant Configuration at Romaco Kilian

Customer Quotes

Referenz ERCO

“With the innovation of LED, our number of variants has sky-rocketed. Thanks to 4PEP, the same team can handle up to 40 times more product variations! 4PEP is our core for the entire product life cycle.”

Andreas Schütz, Research & Development, Team Leader Project Management Office

Logo BSH

“With the user-friendly solution 4PEP Product Structure and Variant Management, employees are now able to create complex characteristics-based sets of rules for product variants after only one day of training without any programming or expert knowledge, while significantly saving time.”

Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Christian Wlczek, Development Business Processes

“The use of ⁴PEP enables our development department to take a direct and primary role in the mapping and maintenance of variant diversity. This allows us to achieve a profound integration of variant management into our development processes.”

Daniel Rudolf, Mechanical Design Dept., Project manager variant configuration

Best Practices in Variant Management

  • optimization of variant diversity and creation of a balance between inner and outer variance,
  • separation into different worlds and areas of responsibility (e.g., production and sales),
  • use of a mathematically described and therefore analyzable variant model,
  • reliable mapping of changes made to variants using versions and validity periods,
  • decoupling of the variant modeling from SAP master data and automatic creation of master data at the right time.

Your Benefits with 4PEP

  • You control variants throughout their entire life cycle.
  • You create a uniform communication basis for everyone involved.
  • You reduce costs by evaluating necessary follow-on processes early on.
  • You avoid creating unnecessary master data.
  • You create a savings potential of 30-50 per cent by improving data quality and by saving time.
  • You receive a fully and holistically description of the product.
  • 4PEP offers all necessary functions to manage product states and to make them available to the departments that handle different business processes:
    • Baselining: Freezing of all product information at a freely definable time
    • Branching: Parallel provision of different product statuses
    • Comparison: Flexibly definable comparison of any product statuses, graphic display of the differences
    • Merge: Creation of a new product status by merging the contents of existing product statuses based on the information gained from the comparison
    • History: Graphic display of all product statuses including the relationships and their statuses


The Project represents the entry point and also the overall framework of the application. Each project record consists of different development statuses, each of which in turn summarises the individual information and structures at a defined point in time. The continuous development of the product across its life cycle is mapped with versions of the development status (baselines).

Maintenance of the Combinatorics

A product is described by mapping its properties in the form of characteristics. In the early phase, it is not necessary to have SAP classes or SAP characteristics. Allowed product variants are defined using a rules set that displays the combinatorics between the characteristic values. The rules are edited in different, clearly arranged matrices. The reuse of rules via a rule catalogue is also possible. The object dependencies required in the SAP variant configurations are created automatically without manual programming.

Product Structure

The product structure separates the product or system into its physical elements like assemblies, sub-assemblies and parts. It displays the maximum structure of the product. In the early phase, it is possible to model the product without SAP master data. The product structure keeps the connection to the variants or the characteristics, which means that closed as well as open variant concepts are supported:

  • The maximum structure with variants can be used to derive individual (manufacturing) BOMs by assigning assemblies to variants. The allowed variants including the parts list can also be automatically derived via the characteristic value assignment.

Maximum Routing

Similar to the product structure, a (maximum) routing can be modelled for which selection conditions can be defined by linking characteristic values with individual operations of a sequence, which are later transferred to the derived SAP routing.

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