Article Master - General
The article master in SAP Retail is a comprehensive object, and the article maintenance function allows you to define all relevant data for an article so it can be used in all processes. In order to support retail-specific requirements and processes, different article categories are available.
Single articles are articles that are traded individually, and might exist in different units of measure. They can be considered a standard material, which is sold as is to the customer, for example, a 250g packet of chocolate chip cookies.
Generic articles exist in different versions, called variants. For example, a round-neck T-Shirt (generic article/style) exists in different color or size variants.
Structured articles consist of several different articles. These are entered as components with their respective quantities in the bill of material (BoM), and are supported in all logistics processes.
More details on the specific features and functions of generic and structured article are going to follow later in this lesson. The common retail article master structure is now introduced using the single article as an example.
Retail Article Master
An article master record contains all the required data for an article, sorted according to different criteria.
In general, an article master record contains:
Descriptive data, such as size and weight
Data with a control function, such as the article type
Data that is automatically updated by the system (for example, stock quantities and valuation data)
An article master record contains not only general, basic article-relevant data, but also data from other areas of the system that are necessary for articles, such as purchasing, logistics, or sales. These areas are called user departments, or views, in the article master. Unnecessary data storage is reduced when all data is stored in a single database object.
The article master structure, and with that the number of views, depend on the kind of merchandise. For example, SAP provides several retail-specific screen designs (called screen sequences). Screen sequence 24 is typically used for food- and non-food merchandise, and has the article views shown in the previous figure, Article Master Data - Views: Basic Data, Basic Data 2, Listing, Purchasing, Sales, Logistics: Distribution Center, Logistics: Store, POS. Screen sequence F4 is typically used for fashion merchandise, and has the Logistics: DC 1, and the Logistics: DC 2 views instead of the Logistics: Distribution Center view, which provide further logistics detail settings, such as segmentation and production-related data. The F4 Fashion Screen Sequence also contains another tab in the Additional Data view: the Textile Composition tab. The section, Article Master Configuration, further below will explain briefly how you can influence the screen sequence selection, and which further configuration options are available.
The Retail article master is a comprehensive object, which pulls together data from all relevant areas of the system. This ensures that once the article views have been fully maintained, the article can be used right away in all processes, from (requirements) planning, to purchasing, logistics, and sales. All the data can be maintained in just one transaction, the (integrated) article maintenance. When data from different departments in the organization is pulled together, it requires to select and create data for various organizational levels, or areas of validity.
There are no restrictions to Basic Data. This data is stored using only the article number itself as a key field. In our system examples, there will be two Basic Data views: Basic Data, and Basic Data 2.
Listing can either be executed client-wide (for all distribution chains), or be restricted before you enter the article master, or within, to a specific Distribution Chain.
For creating Purchasing data (purchasing info record), you must enter a purchasing organization and a supplier (vendor). Within the purchasing data maintenance, you can also restrict the validity to a particular site, for creating a site-specific purchasing info record.
It does not matter whether or not you specify a site in the Areas of validity in the initial screen when you want to access the purchasing view. The purchasing view is displayed for the selected article, purchasing organization, and supplier, thus, any site number is ignored. This prevents the unintended creation of site-specific purchasing data. You can still create site-specific info records by choosing the Switch Validity Area button within the purchasing view. There, you can switch to another supplier, or open/exit a site-specific view.
*Unlike the other areas of validity, the supplier sub-range (SSR) is no data retention level, but an attribute in the purchasing information record. However, in order to have the system pull the right default data for a new purchasing info record from the SSR view in the supplier (vendor) master, you have to specify the supplier sub-range right away in the entry screen of the article master.
Sales data is always at least maintained for a distribution chain, which means a sales organization and a distribution channel have to be specified to access the data of this view. More detailed data maintenance is possible as well, that is at site or price list level, which you can choose within the sales view. There, you can also select a site group. However, take note that the data that is entered at site group level is not stored at this level - it is stored at the individual site level. So, doing this can lead to an increased volume of data in your system.
Logistics data for distribution centers and stores can be maintained at a general, that is client-wide level. The data is then initially used for all sites, as it is stored for the reference sites that are defined in Customizing. It is used as a copy-basis for the site-specific logistics data, which is usually created by means of the listing process. It is also possible to create site-specific logistics data manually. In the Logistics: Store view, you can additionally maintain the data on distribution chain level, given a corresponding reference site was defined in customizing beforehand.
You must enter at least a distribution chain be able to completely maintain the POS data. Optionally, you can select a site within the POS view to maintain site-specific control data. If you access the POS view client-wide, only the till receipt texts can be maintained, but no POS control data.
In SAP Retail, for each article, one article master record is created, which contains the various units of measure of this article. Accordingly, the GTINs (global trade item number, successor of EAN (European article number) and UPC (universal product code) are not defined on article level, but on unit of measure level in the retail article master.
An article number in SAP Retail can be assigned automatically by the system, based on an internal number range, or externally, that is by the user, based on an external number range. The CHAR 40 field length is standard in an SAP S/4HANA system. However, the use of an external article number range longer than 18 characters has to be activated in Customizing. Also, the maximum number of characters (up to 40) has to be set there.
Base Unit of Measure
Inventory management is carried out in this unit of measure. The base unit of measure is normally the smallest possible unit in which an article can be sold.
The unit of measure in which the article is usually ordered. It is maintained for each supplier, but it is still possible to allow variable purchasing units of measure.
Sales Unit of Measure
Unit of measure normally used when an article is sold to a customer. It is normally the base unit of measure for consumers. The sales unit can be maintained separately for each distribution chain. It is still possible to allow variable sales units of measure.
Delivery/Issue Unit of Measure
Unit in which the article is normally delivered from a distribution center. It is maintained for each site.
You must enter the conversion factors for the various units of measure of an article. It is possible to enter the conversion data referencing the base unit of measure, or referencing an alternative unit of measure, as indicated in the previous figure, Units of Measure.
Article Master Configuration
The article master can be configured to a large extent. The retail screen sequences 24 and F4 were already briefly introduced earlier in this lesson. Screen sequences are used to control the main views (from Basic Data to POS for example) and their secondary views of the article master (from Basic Data to POS for example), and which subscreens each view contains. The screen sequence can be set based on transaction, user, article (material) type, industry. It is common to use the article type to control the screen sequence. In our training system, we use screen sequence 24 for most article types, but article type fashion (FASH) uses screen sequence F4.
Furthermore, it is possible to control the field status for each field in the article master. The field status options are: hide (suppress), display, required entry, optional entry.
The structure of the article master as explained above is used in the classic retail article transactions MM41, MM42, MM43 (create/change/display article) of the SAP Gui frontend, as well as in the corresponding Web GUI based SAP Fiori apps Create - / Maintain - / Display Article.
SAP FIORI App: Manage Product Master Data
In SAP S/4HANA, a new, additional maintenance user interface (UI) for products is available with the SAP Fiori app, Manage Product Master Data. It can be used to create and maintain products, which are either (standard) materials, or retail articles. The app supports the relevant retail article categories: single articles, generic articles, or structured articles (set, prepack, display).
Besides actually maintaining product master data, the SAP Fiori app Manage Product Master Data additionally provides comprehensive search functions, result lists, copy functions, and allows you to manage images. The object page displays comprehensive article-related data, including documents such as purchase orders containing the article, and it allows you to access related apps - for example, to display the stock overview, or to post a goods movement.
The following figure, Introducing the Manage Product Master Data App, shows you the most important settings and options available with this app:
The first, upper-part of the figure shows the comprehensive Search function, which enables you to find the product(s) for which you are looking. It allows you to define search variants, and set up filters per view/subscreen.
In the middle part, the result list for the Products, you can select an item to display the product, but you can also choose to create a new product, use the copy function to create a new product. This allows you to initially select the organizational data (distribution chains, DCs, stores) to be copied from your copy reference product. Another option is to call the object page for a selected product.
In the lower part of the figure, you can see how the Product view is structured. You can access this view by clicking the relevant product item line in the result list. In the product view, you can choose to edit or copy the product. Depending on your assigned apps, you can for example also choose to display your product in another app, such as Display Article.
When you choose to create an article, the app automatically stores a draft of your entries, without creating an actual article master record in the system. This is particularly useful, if you close the browser session intentionally or accidentally, or if you want to keep your entries for completing the data at a later stage, as you can get back to the app at any time and continue working on the draft. Only when you choose to save, then the actual article master data is created. In this case, the draft version is automatically deleted from the database. You can also discard a draft by choosing delete or cancel.