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PLM (Product Lifecycle Management)

SAP PLM Recipe Development Basics – What is a Recipe? What is a Specification? What is a Material?


This blog belongs to a series of blogs regrouped on the SCN page “SAP PLM Recipe Development for Beginners”.

When you first hear about SAP Recipe Management (PLM-RM / older version SAP GUI) or SAP Recipe Development (PLM-WUI-RCP / newer version SAP WEB-UI), you might ask yourself: What is a Recipe? What is a Specification? What is a Material? And how are they supposed to be connected?

Recipe Development Menu

SAP PLM Recipe Development is only available via the WEB-UI. You cannot work with SAP Recipe Development if you only use the SAP GUI.

You can however use certain objects and work with them in the SAP GUI (such as materials, specifications, change numbers, ...).

Navigation path: SAP GUI - transaction nwbc (role SAP_PLMWUI_PROCESS_MENU3)


There is no need to explain SAP material in much detail as they are an intrinsic part of almost every ERP system. The material master contains all information required for managing the material on an operational level (related to purchasing, production, selling, …).

From a product development perspective, we are less interested in how the material is managed, procured, sold, … in the system - but we are very interested in the actual descriptive characteristics of the material (its size, diameters, weight, ingredients, chemical composition, allergens, …). Now, the issue with the material master is, that there is no good place (other than the material classification or customer developed z-fields) to maintain all this required information).

So if SAP Recipe Development is used, the above mentioned descriptive material information is not stored in the material master but in a separate object: the specification.

SAP WEB-UI navigation path: Materials – Display Material
SAP GUI transaction: mm03

As you can see from the screenshots above, there is an additional tab “Specification Assignment” in the SAP Material Master where the SAP Material is linked with the object “Specification”.


A specification or substance is an object which belongs to SAP EHS. In the context of SAP Recipe Development the property tree of this specification is used to maintain and store all the descriptive characteristics mentioned above.

SAP WEB-UI navigation path: Specifications – Display Specification
SAP GUI transaction: cg02

Specification displayed in the SAP WEB-UI

Same specification displayed in SAP GUI

We have seen that the material is linked with the specification. This link is also visible from the specification on tab “Material Assignments”.

The screenshot below shows the standard SAP property tree for Recipe Development which is used to maintain characteristics relevant for the product innovation and product development process.


A recipe is an object which allows to retrieve, combine and aggregate descriptive information which is stored in the property trees of the specifications. In the end, the recipe (just like a cooking recipe) shows all ingredients and their respective quantities of a given product.

SAP WEB-UI navigation path: Recipes – Display Recipe
SAP GUI transaction: not available – only web-ui

As you can see from the screenshot above, the recipe number is composed of:

  • CONS-O1281: the specification number of the output specification of the recipe
  • 001: the recipe alternative
  • 000: the recipe version

Important: therefore you cannot define an own number range for recipes in SPRO.

In the recipe formula, you can combine your ingredients. The recipe formula is composed of:

  • an output specification (linked with an SAP Material)
  • several input specifications (linked with an SAP Material)

As you can see in the screenshot above, not all input specifications are linked with SAP Materials. This makes sense. Product developers often need to work with “sample materials” in the product development process. And specification can be created with one click, whereas the material master creation is usually a lengthy process which involves many parties.

However, if you want to use a recipe to create a BOM (Bill of Material) for production, then all input and output substances in the recipe formula need to have a SAP material assigned. The BOM only knows materials and cannot works with specifications.


  • SAP materials are linked with SAP specifications.

  • In the specification property tree, we store all product development related characteristics (size, ingredients, allergens, nutrients …).

  • The recipe formula has one output substance and several input substances as well as their respective quantities. The recipe is able to retrieve, aggregate, combine and calculate information from the input substances.

  • The recipe can be transferred to a production bill of material (BOM).