A work center is a physical or logical production area used as a unit for scheduling and routing operations.

It is usually defined as being either labor or machine-constrained, and while it may contain multiple machines or personnel they are considered identical in terms of the capability to process products assigned to that center.

A work center may perform multiple operations, but capacity requirements are usually tracked only at the total work center level.

Its definitions can be flexible based on the process and reporting capabilities and requirements of the organization.

Uses of data in work center

Data in work centre is used for 

  • Scheduling: Formulas entered in the work center helps to calculate the duration of an operation
  • Costing: The formulas entered in the work center allows you to calculate the costs of an operation
  • Capacity planning: Formulas for calculating capacity requirements and availability of capacity are stored in the work center

Work center in SAP

The work center in SAP PP is used for routing operations and production orders. It is blended with SAP modules. They are human resource management(HRM), plant maintenance, and controlling.

Capacity calculation in SAP

  • Available capacity: Basically, SAP work center capacity indicates machine or labor available hours. Here break hours are not included. For example, a machine is available for production in the production plant from 10 am to 5 pm, and break time is 1hr.

Then the available capacity is = Total available hours – break hours

Available capacity = 7 hrs – 1 hr

Available capacity = 6 hrs

  • Required capacity: In the SAP work center, require capacity means the time required to produce a specified quantity of product. To calculate required capacity, SAP considers operation time and capacity formula.

For example, in a factory, usage of a machine maintains things like labor time, machine time, and set up time. Let us assume the routing time and quantity.

  • Labor time= 60 mins
  • Machine time = 60 mins
  • Machine set up time = 30 mins
  • Base Quantity = 100
  • Production order quantity = 200

Now the capacity calculation for that machine is

Required capacity = machine time X production order quantity / base quantity

Required capacity = 60 mins X 200/100

Required capacity = 60 mins X 2

Required capacity = 120 mins.

Structure of work center

Structure of work center contains mainly three levels.

  • Department
  • Planning area
  • Work center

Work centers can be internal or external. Example of external work center is contractor. In olden days work center consists electrical, mechanical, instrumental, etc. Now in modern days they are replaced by team 1, team 2, team 3, and so on.

Get more definitions about work center and other ERP related terms here.


Subscribe to our Email Newsletter