What is Master Data?
Data stored in SAP R/3 is categorized as
- Master Data and
- Transactional Data.
Master data is the core data that is used as a base for any transaction.
If you are producing, transferring stock, selling, purchasing, doing physical inventory, whatever your activity may be, it requires certain master data to be maintained.
Example of Master Data
- Material master data
- Customer master data
- Vendor master data
- Pricing/conditions master data
- Warehouse management master data (storage bin master data)
The ones we will focus in MM module are material master and purchase info record.
Material Master: What you should know about material master?
Material in SAP is a logical representation of certain goods or service that is an object of production, sales, purchasing, inventory management etc. It can be a car, a car part, gasoline, transportation service or consulting service, for example.
InInIn All the information for all materials on their potential use and characteristics in SAP are called material master. This is considered to be the most important master data in SAP (there are also customer master data, vendor master data, conditions/pricing master data etc), and all the processing of the materials are influenced by material master. That is why it’s crucial to have a precise and well maintained material master.
In order to be confident in your actions you need to understand material master views and its implications on processes in other modules, business transactions and a few more helpful information like tables that store material master data, transactions for mass material maintenance (for changing certain characteristics for a large number of materials at once).
In SAP ERP, every material has a characteristic called “material type” which is used throughout the system for various purposes.
Why is it essential to differentiate between material types and what does that characteristic represent?
- It can represent a type of origin and usage – like a finished product (produced goods ready for sale), semifinished product (used as a part of a finished product), trading goods (for resale), raw materials (used for production of semifinished and finished products) etc. These are some of the predefined SAP material types among others like food, beverages, service and many others.
- We can define our custom material types if any of standard ones doesn’t fulfill our need.
Most used material types in standard SAP installation
What can be configured on material type level (possible differences between types)?
- Material master views: It defines the views associated with a Material Type. For example, if we have a material type “FERT” assigned to our material Product 1000 – we don’t want to have Purchasing based views for that material because we don’t need to purchase our own product – it is configured on material type level.
- Default price control: we can set this control to standard or moving average price (covered later in detail), but this can be changed in material master to override the default settings.
- Default Item category group: used to determine item category in sales documents. It can be changed in material master to override the default settings.
- internal/external purchase orders, special material types indicators, and few more.
Offered material types in MM01 transaction
So material type is assigned to materials that have the same basic settings for material master views, price control, item category group and few other. Material Type can be assigned during the creation of the material in t-code MM01 (covered in detail later)
Where can we find a complete list of materials with their respective material type?
There are numerous transactions for this. The raw data itself is stored in MARA table
(you can view table contents with t-code SE16 or SE16N – newest version of the transaction), but in some systems these t-codes aren’t allowed for a standard user. In such cases, we can easily acquire the list with t-code MM60 (Material list). MM60 is used particularly often as it displays a lot of basic material characteristics.
Selection screen – you can enter only the material number:
Selection screen for MM60 transaction
We can see that material 10410446 in plant AR01 is of type FERT (finished product).
MM60 report results with the export button highlighted
Using the toolbar button highlighted on screen, we can export the list of materials we have selected on screen.
Another characteristic SAP material is assigned during it’s creation is “material group”, which can represent a group or subgroup of materials based on certain criteria.
Which criteria can be used to create material groups?
Any criteria that suit your needs for reporting purposes is right for your system. You may group materials by the type of raw material used to produce it (different kinds of plastics used in the production process), or you can divide all services into consulting services (with different materials for SAP consulting, IT consulting, financial consulting etc), transportation services (internal transport, international transport), you can also group by production technique (materials created by welding, materials created by extrusion, materials created by injection etc). Grouping depends mainly on the approach your management chooses as appropriate, and it’s mainly done during the implementation, rarely changes in a productive environment.
Assigned material group in material master
In addition, there is a material hierarchy (used mostly in sales & distribution) that can also be used for grouping, but it’s defined almost always according to sales needs as it is used for defining sales conditions (standard discounts for customers, additional discounts, special offers).
On the other hand, material group is mainly used in PP and MM module.
If you need to display material groups for multiple materials, you can use already mentioned t-code MM60. You just need to select more materials in selection criteria.
Material group in report MM60
Material group is easily subject to mass maintenance via transaction MM17. More on that in the material master editing section.
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The material master record is the central source for material-specific data. It is used in all areas of logistics. In this blog post, we will concentrate on the structure of the material master data, the maintenance of material master records, and some important fields.
Structure of the Material Master Data
To avoid redundancy, material data is stored in a single database object. A material should only be created once in the system and is assigned a unique number.
All areas, such as purchasing, inventory management, MRP, work scheduling, warehouse, and so forth, all access the stored data together. Since many departments use the material master, the material master contains a lot of data. A specific user department is not interested in all the information stored in the material master, but usually only in the data related to its business activity. For this reason, material master data is structured in so-called views that correspond to the user departments: in the material master, you will find purchasing-specific, sales-specific, warehouse-specific data, and so forth.
A material automatically receives a maintenance status, depending on the views maintained. If you want to use a material for a process, the system checks whether the material has the required maintenance status—that is, whether the required views have been maintained.
Depending on the purposes for which you want to use a material, you must have maintained certain views:
- When purchasing stock material, the Purchasing and Accounting views must be maintained (at minimum).
- If you also want to plan this material, you must have maintained the MRP view.
- For the purchasing process of a non-stock material for which you want to create a material master record, you only need the Purchasing view.
In parallel to being structured according to views, the material master is set up along the organizational structure. What does that mean in concrete terms? A material master record contains data that is valid for the whole company: the material number, the material description, the assigned material group, the base unit of measure, the weight, and so on. This data is maintained at the client level in the material master.
A material master also contains data that is plant-specific. In MRP, for example, you can define the planning procedure or lot-sizing procedure for each plant. In the area of purchasing, you can, for example, define per plant whether automatic purchase requisitions are allowed or not (using an indicator in the material master). You also decide for each plant (the plant is the valuation level) how a material is to be valuated and at what price. A lot of data relevant for purchasing, MRP, or stock valuation is therefore maintained at the plant level.
Another level where specific material master data can be maintained is the plant storage location level. At this level, you can, for example, maintain a storage bin with the informative character only.
Note: The previously mentioned organizational levels (client, plant, and storage location) are the ones relevant for the external procurement process and inventory management. Other organizational levels can be relevant for other activities. For example, you would maintain sales data depending on the sales organization and distribution channel, and you would specify a warehouse number and storage type for warehouse management data.
Maintaining Material Master Records
The breakdown of material data according to user departments and organizational levels is also reflected in material master record maintenance. When you maintain material master records, you must go through several dialog screens before you start creating, changing, or displaying data.
The below figure illustrates this: After the initial screen, you see two consecutive dialog boxes. In the Select View(s) dialog box (1), you specify the views you want to process. In the Organizational Levels dialog box (2), you enter the relevant organizational levels. Next, you see the data screens (3). The data of the material is organized according to views and organizational structure. Here you can see the purchasing data for plant 1010.
You can preset both the organizational units and the views to be selected and save this setting. If you have made and saved a default selection, you can even run the dialog boxes in the background.
Example Between Material Change and Material Extension
The following examples illustrate the difference between material change and material extension:
You have already created the Purchasing view of a material for a certain plant, but now you discover that the purchasing group you have stored is no longer correct and you want to store a different purchasing group. To do this, you must choose the Change Material app. You are changing the contents of an existing view/organizational unit.
You have already created the Purchasing view and the Accounting view of a material for a certain plant, but now you want to extend the material by the MRP view. To do this, you must choose the Create Material app. You are creating a new view.
You have already created the Purchasing view of a material for a certain plant, but now you want to create the Purchasing view for a second plant. To do this, you must choose the Create Material app. You are creating data for a new plant.
Important Material Master Fields
In this section, we will describe some important fields that are generally relevant. Other process-related fields are discussed in the respective chapters.
Each time you create a new material master record, you must select a material type to which the material is to be assigned. Materials with the same properties are assigned to the same material type. Examples of material types are raw materials, semi-finished products, and finished products.
The material type is a key, each material is assigned to a material type, and the material type performs important control functions. Among other things, the material type influences the following:
- Which number the material should have (internally assigned, user assigned, numeric, alphanumeric, number range, and so on)
- Whether the material should be a product or a service
- Which screens appear in which sequence during material master maintenance
- Which fields in the master record are required fields, optional fields, or hidden fields that should only be displayed (in other words, the material type influences field selection control)
- Which procurement type is allowed for the material (produced in-house, procured externally, or both)
- Which valuation classes can be specified in the material master record—that is, which accounts are posted to for goods movements of this material
- Which views can be created
- For which plants are quantity and value-based inventory management allowed, only quantity-based inventory management allowed, or no inventory management allowed at all
In standard SAP S/4HANA, various material types are available for use. If you need additional material types, you can define them in Customizing according to your requirements.
Like the material type, the industry sector is a key, can be created and maintained in Customizing, and has a control function. When you create a material master record, you must specify an industry sector. The industry sector determines the following.
- Which screens are displayed and in what sequence
- Which industry-specific fields are displayed on each screen
The industry sector that you assigned when you created a material master record cannot be changed later. But in Customizing, you can define new industry sectors to modify the screen and field selection according to your requirements.
The industry sector is usually unique to a company. Once it has been defined, it can be preset so that a user does not have to make the same entry each time.
The material status is a field that you can assign in the material master record if you want to restrict the usability of a material. It is a key that is configured in Customizing. Depending on the Customizing settings, a material status can prevent a material from being purchased (e.g., in case of a phase-out material) and/or moved in the warehouse (e.g., because of quality issues) and so on. Alternatively, a warning can be issued. This restriction can be planned with a valid-from date.
You can set either a cross-plant material status or plant-specific material statuses. The first figure shows possible entries for the cross-plant material status and the second shows the plant-specific material status with the valid-from date on the Purchasing view.
Note: The plant-specific material status can be entered not only in the Purchasing view but also in other plant-specific views
Anyone utilizing SAP to perform logistics operations should be acquainted with the material master. In this post, we introduced you to the concept and gave you some important information on fields to know when getting started.
Learn more about SAP S/4HANA logistics here.
Editor’s note: This post has been adapted from a section of the book SAP S/4HANA Sourcing and Procurement Certification Guide: Application Associate Exam by Fabienne Bourdelle.
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SAP MM - Master Data
SAP R/3 works on real-time data, i.e., there is no time lag between data entry and data availability. The important thing while creating any data is to maintain data integrity. SAP R/3 data is categorized into two −
Master data − Data that is created centrally, and is valid for all applications. It remains constant over time but we need to update it on a regular basis. For example: Vendor is a type of master data that is used for creating purchase orders or contracts.
Transactional data − Data that is associated with processing of business transaction is transactional data.
SAP Master Data is of the following two types −
Material Master Data
Vendor Master Data
Material Master Data
The key points to note about material master data are as follows −
This is the enterprise main source of material-specific data. This data will include information on the materials that a company can procure, produce, store, or sell.
Since there are different departments in an enterprise and each department works on some specific material, they will enter different information regarding their material. So, each user department has its own view of the material master record. The data screens that are used to create material master can be divided into two categories −
Main Data − This will include basic data (base unit of measure, weight), purchasing data (over tolerance and under tolerance), accounting data (standard price, moving price).
Additional Data − This will include additional information like short description about material, currency etc.
Material master has four characteristics, which we will discuss one by one in the following sections.
Materials with some common attributes are grouped together and they are assigned to a material type. It differentiates the materials and allows organizations to manage different materials in a systematic manner in accordance to a company’s requirement. For example, raw material and finished products are some of the material types. Material type can be created by following the steps given below.
Path to create material type
IMG ⇒ Logistics General ⇒ Material Master ⇒ Basic Settings ⇒ Material Types ⇒ Define Attributes of Material Types
Step 1 − On the Display IMG screen, select Define Attributes of Material Types, by following the above path.
Step 2 − Click the New Entries button.
Step 3 − Fill in the required information such as name of material type and description. Click on Save. A new material type will be created.
Material group is a wider range of material type. Materials with some common attributes are taken together and they are assigned to a material group. For example: We have some materials that are to be packaged, so the material type can be electrical or food products, but we can group these material types and put them in the packaged material group. Follow the steps given below to create a Material Group.
Path to Create Material Group
IMG ⇒ Logistic General ⇒ Material Master ⇒ Settings for Key Fields ⇒ Define Material Groups
Step 1 − On the Display IMG screen, select Define Material Groups, by following the above path.
Step 2 − Click the New Entries button.
Step 3 − Enter the name of the material group along with its description. Click the Save button. A new material group will be created.
When we create a material master record, every material is recognized by a unique number that is known as the material number. We can assign a number to a material through two ways −
External number assignment − While creating a material, you have to enter your own number (containing alphabets or digits), and that should be unique.
Internal number assignment − While creating a material, you need not enter any number. The system automatically generates a unique number to that material.
Define Number Range −
Internal number range can be defined by following the steps given below −
Path to Create Number Range
IMG ⇒ Logistic General ⇒ Material Master ⇒ Basic Settings ⇒ Material Types ⇒ Define Number Range for Each material Type
Step 1 − On the Display IMG screen, select Define Number Range for Each Material Type, by following the above path.
Step 2 − Click the Intervals button.
Step 3 − We can define a number range here and EXT (external tab, if it is checked, then an external number can be assigned in that material). Click the Save button. Number Range is now defined for the material.
Assignment of Number Range
After defining, we need to assign it to a material group. Follow the steps given below to assign a number range.
Step 1 − On the same screen, select the Groups tab.
Step 2 − For a particular material group, we can assign a number range here. Click on Save. The number range is now assigned to the material group.
Material Master Creation
Material master contains information on all materials that a company procures, produces, or sells. It contains central data that is available at all the levels. Follow the steps given below to create a material master −
Path to Create Material Master
Logistics ⇒ Materials Management ⇒ Material Master ⇒ Material ⇒ Create Material
Note − For any create transaction, we use 01, for edit 02, for display 03 as suffix.
Step 1 − On the SAP Menu screen, click the create button by following the above path.
Step 2 − Fill in all the required details such as material number (if external number assignment), material type, industry sector, etc.
Step 3 − Select the views you want to maintain for your material.
Step 4 − Enter the name of the plant and the storage location.
Step 5 − Enter the required information in your material views such as unit of measure, currency, standard price, moving price, etc. Click on Save. A new material will be created.
Vendor Master Data
The key points about vendor master are as follows −
Vendor Master Data is the enterprise main source of vendor-specific data. It includes information on vendors from which a company can procure, or can sell.
A vendor master record contains information such as vendor's name, address, etc.
Data in a vendor master record is divided into three categories −
General Data − General data is maintained at client level and it is valid for all organizational levels.
Accounting Data − Accounting data is maintained at company level and it is valid for all plants belonging to that company.
Purchasing Data − Purchasing data is maintained at purchasing organization level.
Vendor master has three characteristics, which we will discuss one by one in the following sections.
Vendor Account Group
Vendors are categorized according to their requirements. Some of the vendors having similar characteristics are grouped together and placed in one category. For example, all local vendors can be placed under one account group. Create a Vendor Account group by following the steps given below.
Path to create Vendor Account Group
IMG ⇒ Logistic General ⇒ Business Partner ⇒ Vendors ⇒ Control ⇒ Define Account group and field selection(vendor)
Step 1 − On the Display IMG screen, select Define Account Groups and Field Selection (Vendor), by following the above path.
Step 2 − Click the New Entries button.
Step 3 − Fill in all necessary details such as name of account group, general data, and field status. Click the Save button. A new Vendor Account Group will be created.
When we create a vendor master record, every vendor is recognized by a unique number known as the vendor number. As in the case of material master, we have external as well as internal number assignments for vendor master.
Define Number Range:
Number range can be defined by following the steps given below −
Path to create Number Range
IMG ⇒ Logistic General ⇒ Business Partner ⇒ Vendors ⇒ Control ⇒ Define Number Range for Vendor master record
Step 1 − On the Display IMG screen, select Define Number Range for Vendor Master Record, by following the above path.
Step 2 − Click the Intervals button. It will create a number range for the customer account.
Step 3 − Click the Insert button.
Step 4 − We can define a number range here and EXT (external tab, if it is checked, then external number assignment can be done in that vendor). Click on Save. A new Number Range will be created.
Assignment of Number Range
After defining a number range, we need to assign it to a vendor group. Follow the steps given below to assign the number range.
Step 1 − On the same screen as shown above, select the Number Range tab.
Step 2 − For a particular vendor group, assign a number range here. Click on Save. Number range is now assigned to the vendor group.
Creation of Vendor Master
Vendor Master contains a list of vendors from where a company can procure or sell goods. A Vendor Master can be created by following the steps given below −
Path to create Vendor Master
SAP Menu ⇒ Logistics ⇒ Material Management ⇒ Purchasing ⇒ Master Data ⇒ Vendor ⇒ Central ⇒ Create
Step 1 − On the SAP Menu screen, select Create for Central Vendor Data, by following the above path.
Step 2 − Fill in all the required details such as company code, purchasing org, and vendor number (if external number assignment).
Step 3 − Fill in all the details of vendor’s address such as street name, postal code, country.
Step 4 − Fill in the necessary bank details of the vendor.
Step 5 − Fill in the necessary accounting information of the vendor.
Step 6 − Fill in the terms of payment that are defined between the company and the vendor. Click on Save. A new vendor master will be created.
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