Sales flow in SAP captures processing from a request from a customer to the sending the invoice to the customer who pays for it. Depending on particular business process, SAP allows manipulation in the process but at a high level, the process flow remains about the same in spirit. Following is the general Sales Order process flow:
- Inquiry – Inquiry is used as by customer to have an estimate on the items and quantities he is planning to order. It is a rough estimate and might vary by large variance by the time order is placed.
- Contract And Quotation – Contract is a formal agreement between customer and business under which prices are agreed upon for a set of terms and conditions. It assures business of an assured sale over a time period and helps it plan for long term. Quotation is a more refined and formal version of the inquiry which is binding for the business for an agreed upon time period. Contract and Quotation are usually mapped with the Sales Order.
- Sales Order – Sales order is an order placed with the business citing items and quantities. Availability check is done to ensure that delivery targets can be achieved. It depends on different factors like requested delivery date, quantity requested etc. SO can be either created by customer or business and modalities depend on business process followed. Example, for a website, cart can be used as an entry point for the SO and web-services can create SO in SAP when the data comes into SAP.
- Delivery – Once sales order is approved, delivery process kicks in. It tracks when the goods are ready to be picked and is finally delivered to customer.
- Invoice – Delivery execution leads to Invoice which is paid by Customer based on pre-defined terms and conditions. Usually Invoice is mapped to delivery but under certain circumstances, it can be mapped with Sales Order as well.