Reference characteristics are used to copy values from the application to the configuration or transfer values from configuration to the application. Reference characteristics can be used during order configuration in a sales order, configurable networks, Bill of Materials, Routings etc.
Reference characteristics can be used to read certain master data values in a sales order or can also be used to update certain values in a sales order based on certain logic from configurator. Typical examples can be to read document type and perform certain logic or set product hierarchy based on a certain logic.
Characteristic is treated as a reference characteristic in SAP, if Table and Field name are provided in the additional data tab. If only data is to be read using a reference characteristic, then standard table and field name are provided in the additional data tab. If data need to be written to a specific field in a sales order, then table name should be entered as VCSD_UPDATE
VCSD_UPDATE is a structure provided by sap. Fields available in this structure can be updated by VC. Any fields to be updated that are not part of this structure have to be appended to the structure before they can be used in VC. Below is how you can append the VCSD_UPDATE structure
Step1: Append VCSD_STRUCTURE using SE11 with the fields to be used
Step2: EXIT_SAPFV45S_002, EXIT_SAPLCEI0_001 needs to be programmed to include fields in VCSD_UPDATE structure and to process changed field values
Ex: Adding Product Hierarchy to VCSD_UPDATE
Below example shows enhancing VCSD_UPDATE structure for Product Hierarchy field
Bill of Materials:
Reference characteristics are used in BOMs to update quantity, production relevant flag or sales relevant flag. Most commonly used is to update item quantity based on VC selections made by the user
Ex: Updating Item Quantity using reference characteristic
MDATA lets you access original value of a master data field and change it. MDATA cannot be used with values in SDCOM structure as the table contains transaction data and multi-valued characteristics
Reference characteristics are used in routings to update operation times, work centers, std text etc. PLPOD structure in sap consists of fields that can be updated in a routing or network using reference characteristics. If a field that’s not part of PLPOD structure needs to be updated, then the structure has to be updated before it can be used in reference characteristic
Ex: Updating operation times in SAP
Even in above example if routing time to be added to the existing operation time, then MDATA has to be used to read existing value in reference characteristic and add to it