Order to Cash cycle- Inquiry

Preface – This post is part of the SAP SD series.


In this article, we will understand the sales order cycle. Every business will have a cycle. Let’s take an example of the finance business or the finance department. So, the finance department is responsible for looking at what the customer needs to pay and receiving the cash or receiving payments. That’s their business, they call it a report to record.

Another example can be the procurement department. So, the procurement department is responsible for interacting with the vendors, getting the goods on time, so on. He is responsible for placing the purchase order with a vendor. For example, if Amul procurement department were to be taken as an example, they are responsible for dealing with the vendors that supply the goods. The procurement department will talk to all the different milk vendors. They’ll raise purchase orders, they’ll get the goods into the stock and they’ll pay the invoices, meaning pay the money to their vendors. This cycle is called procure to pay. So similarly, there are different business cycles followed by the different departments.

Here, we will look into the sales department and different terms used in it. The sales department also follows a cycle, called the sales order cycle.


What is Sales Order Cycle?

The sales order cycle is a sequence of actions that a business follows to fulfil customer requirements.


What is an RFI or an Inquiry?

RFI is abbreviated as Request for Inquiry. It is a document requested by the company to gather information about the products and services from suppliers.


What information’s are included in RFI?

Every business can decide their own format for an RFI that they want to collect from the supplier. There is no particular way to write an RFI.

Below are some details that can be included in an RFI.

  • Basic information about your company.
  • Request supplier to provide basic information about their organization
  • Confidentiality agreement to prevent the disclosure of information with a third party.
  • Statement for the reason of RFI.
  • Queries related to supplier experience in the relevant projects.



The sales order cycle is best understood with an example. We will consider a B2B (business-to-business) scenario because SAP is built for more B2B scenarios.

Let’s take two companies, one company say, a computer manufacturing company, HP or Dell. This is the company which is selling. So, we are looking at things from HP’s perspective. And there will be a buyer company.

Let’s take the scenario of HP selling computers to the customer, Walmart. Wal-Mart is our customer. So, HP sells computers to Wal-Mart.

How does the cycle start?

Wal-Mart is looking for computers. It is inquiring about the different rates of HP, Dell and all the different computer manufacturers. Wal-Mart sends an RFI or Inquiry to HP. So, as soon as HP receive the request from Wal-Mart, they will capture the information in a document based on the customer’s RFI. This document is called an Inquiry.

And as soon as this inquiry is saved in the system, you get an inquiry number. This inquiry number will be sent over to Walmart as a response to that inquiry.



  • Barry Allen

    A Full Stack Developer with 10+ years of experience in different domain including SAP, Blockchain, AI and Web Development.


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