Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

17.1.1 The Business Object “Business Partner”: Customers and Suppliers

Intended learning outcomes: Present the business object “business partner”. Identify the combined bill of material.



The business partner business object of a company was introduced in Section 1.2.1 as a general term to describe an external or internal customer or a supplier. In terms of their property as business objects, both customer and supplier may be defined as a specialization of business partner. The customer and supplier classes are thus both specializations of the business partner class. Most of the attributes of the customer object class correspond to those of the supplier object class. The most important common attributes are

  • The business partner ID. This ID is generally “not meaningful” (see also Section 20.3.2). Changes to the identification should be avoided during the life of the business partnership. The business partner ID is unique and acts as the primary key for the class.
  • Business partner name, address, and country, and optionally a deli­very address: these attributes act as “secondary keys” enabling a particular customer to be easily traced within the class.
  • Communication details (telephone, fax, e-mail, and Web site).
  • Various codes used to classify the business partner.
  • Credit limit, bank details.
  • Codes for handling the business partner with respect to the tax authorities.
  • Codes for order processing, shipping, and incoming goods.

Various types of sales statistics are kept for each business partner. These are generally administered in separate object classes.

Business partners may be incorporated into an overall company hierarchy.

A combined bill of material is the set of all business partners belonging to a combined business partner.

This bill of material enables general analyses (consolidations), for example, to be carried out for all the companies in exactly the same way as for the individual business partners.

Aspects of computerized administration: The business partner is normally identified by a dummy identification, which is allocated by the information system. A business partner entity, as a data set, may not be physically deleted while it continues to appear in an order or in statistics. A business partner ID is normally allocated for many years, even if the connection with that business partner no longer exists.




Course section 17.1: Subsections and their intended learning outcomes

  • 17.1.4 The Order Position Data

    Intended learning outcomes: Produce an overview on the object class “order position”. Present in detail the attributes of the object class “order position”.

  • 17.1.5 Inventories and Inventory Transactions Data

    Intended learning outcomes: Produce an overview on the object classes for inventories. Present in detail the attributes of the object class “inventory transaction”.