Description of the Scenario

ALE provides the following ways of distributing information for the logistics information systems (LIS):

  • Process-related data exchange
    • This means that each document is sent individually to the interested systems. (For example, inventory controlling - inventory management).
    • The complete information relating to the document posting is contained in the data – thus in the central system it is possible to define how this data has to be updated and analyzed.
  • Accumulative data exchange
    • This means that the information is summarized and is transported with the help of information structures.
    • There is no direct access to individual documents in the receiving system.

The information structure

Process-related data exchange should not be used for scenarios which are likely to contain a very large number of documents.

For such cases there is the option of directly performing the distribution to information structures. The data is then aggregated and exchanged rather than being exchanged on a "per document" basis.

This distribution principle will now be explained using an example of a central information system with associated decentral logistics systems:

The principle of distributing information structures

The central system and the logistics systems must agree on a fixed format for the information structures to be exchanged, so that the same format is used in each system (i.e. same name, same period unit, same characteristics, same key figures).

The information structure is updated with actual data in the various logistics systems. This means that when a document posting occurs in the logistics system (e.g. a sales order is posted), the data in the other decentral information systems (e.g. in the sales information system) is moved to the information structure and posted.

Periodically the data from the decentral logistics systems is uploaded to the central information system – but only those information structures that are involved in the data exchange. Data is copied only if it has changed since the last copy.

All the data in the information structures is stored in a way that depends on the so-called plan version.

The information structures to be exchanged are updated in the "normal" way in the logistics systems, i.e. the actual data is stored in the plan version ‘000’.

The periodic uploads of the information structures consist of the following steps:

  • The actual data is read (plan version ‘000’).
  • Data is fetched from a comparison version (e.g. plan version ‘CPY’).
  • The differences between the actual data and the comparison data are determined. These differences are first of all sent in an IDoc to the central information system, and are then overwritten in the local logistics system with the current actual data.
  • Therefore after copying is complete, the data contained in the comparison version is the same as the actual data.

The current absolute key figure values are sent to the central system and are used there.

This means that

  • the data in the central system is always consistent with the data in the decentral system, or it is at least easy to make it consistent.
  • the information structure used for the data exchange must be designed so that there is no overlap between the characteristics areas of the logistics systems that "deliver" data. Otherwise one logistics system would overwrite the data from another logistics system.