Explaining Material


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Create a new material master
  • Describe the features of material type and material categories
  • Outline reference handling within material master data
  • Identify some specific material master data

Material Master


The material master contains data on all the individual materials that a company purchases, sells or produces. The material master record includes information such as the unit of measure and the description of the material.

The material is the smallest unit or customer pack that can be ordered independently that cannot be split into smaller units. Materials are generally ordered for a plant and then sold. However, they are not always sold in the same form as that in which they were purchased.

A material master record contains the data required to manage a material.

This data can be categorized as follows:

  • Data of a descriptive nature such as size and weight.

  • Data with a control function such as the material type.

The figure illustrates the built of a material mater record, which consists of many different information.

Reference materials are used to propose data when creating and extending a material master record. Most of the data defined for the reference material is proposed, except for EANs, consumption values and forecast values.

The generic material is always used as the reference material for the variants.

Subsequent changes to reference materials are not copied to the materials created from them.

There are two types of reference materials:

  • Reference material on the initial screen.
  • Material group reference material.

It is not possible to use both types of reference material at the same time. If a reference material is entered on the initial screen, it has precedence over a material group reference material. If a material master record was created using a reference material, it is possible to extend it using a material group reference material, and vice versa.

The material group reference material is automatically determined from the material group when the new material is created. It is possible to overwrite this material group reference material by specifically entering another material as a reference.

Material Categories

Single materials are materials that are handled individually, in individual packaging, or in specific units of weight.

Generic materials can be sold in different forms, called variants. Variants are materials that differ only in certain characteristics such as color, size. Defining a generic material simplifies the maintenance of variants since you need to enter data that is the same for all variants only once for the generic material.

Structured Materials consist of different materials. Components and quantities are entered in the structured materials. A structured material always has the following:

  • BOM header material
  • Components

Within the material master under Basic Data, the components and the quantities can be shown for the structured materials.

The following are further explanations about set, prepack and display:

  • A set is a group of single materials or variants of one or more generic materials that is sold as a separate material and as such has a material number, sales price, and sales price conditions. The components of a set can belong to different material groups and can also have different tax rates. However, the set itself must always have a single tax rate.
  • A prepack is a group of variants of one or more generic materials that is purchased as a separate material and as such has a material number, a purchase price, and purchase price conditions. Unlike a display, the components must belong to the same material group as the prepack itself. They can be grouped together by the retailer as well as by the manufacturer or vendor. In the wholesale trade, prepacks are purchased and sold, whereas in the retail trade, only the components are sold. For this reason, stock is managed at prepack level at the distribution center, and at component level at the store.
  • A display is a group of single materials or variants of one or more generic materials that is purchased as a separate material and as such has a material number, a purchase price, and purchase price conditions. The components are grouped together by the manufacturer or vendor. In the wholesale trade, displays are purchased and sold, whereas in the retail trade, only the components are sold. For this reason, stock is managed at display level at the distribution center, and at component level at the store.

Generic Materials and Their Variants

Generic materials are created with the material category 01 Generic Material.

To be able to create a generic material in a material group, there must be at least one variant-creating characteristic in the material group. In order to flag a characteristic as Relevant to variants the 'Relevancy Indicator' is used when assigning the characteristic to the characteristics profile. The relevancy indicator must be set to 2, to be able to use this characteristic to create variants of a generic material.

Several characteristic profiles can be assigned to one material group. When a material is created in the material group in question, it is possible to select one of the assigned characteristic profiles. The characteristics of the characteristic profile determines the possible variants (matrix/list) for the generic material. A generic material matrix is formed from the variant-creating characteristics. It is possible to select the variants that are to be created by simply selecting the relevant checkboxes. If there are three characteristics, 3rd dimension is displayed as a tab.

In the case a material with 3 variant- creating characteristic is created, the following user parameter should be added under transaction SU3: WMMB_MATRIX_ALV

This user parameter enables a specific variant matrix in the material master and some other documents like:

  • Purchasing: Purchase Order / Stock Transport Order, Goods Movements.
  • Sales: Sales Inquiry, Sales Quotation, Sales Order, Sales Contract.
  • Retail Specific Transactions: Allocation Table.

In the generic material, variants are usually numbered based on the generic material's number with internal number assignment in form of a sequential three-digit suffix.

Reference Handling

The data that is maintained within a view in the material master can be valid for various organizational levels.

The following are further details about data retention levels:

  • There are no restrictions to basic data.
  • Listing can be restricted as soon as you enter the Material master: Sales Organization and Distribution Channel.
  • In order to be able to create purchasing data, a purchasing organization and a vendor must be entered. It is also possible to restrict validity to a particular plant and/or vendor subrange (VSR).
  • Sales data can be maintained for the relevant sales organization/distribution channel. This can also be done at plant level or in a price list (in the case of wholesale customers, for example). There is also another level, the plant group. Data that is entered at plant group level is not stored at this level - it is stored at the same level as the individual plants. Doing this may, however, lead to an increased volume of data in your system.
  • Logistics data can be maintained at a general level. The data is then valid for all plants. This data is stored for all the reference plants that are defined in Customizing. Logistics data can also be created at distribution center or store level.
  • At least one distribution chain must be entered to ensure the POS data is complete.

The material master record is the data record in the system that contains all the required basic data for a material, structured according to different criteria.

A material master record contains:

  • Descriptive data, such as size and weight.
  • Data with a control function, such as the material type.
  • Data that is automatically updated by the system (for example, warehouse stock).

A material master record contains not only general material-relevant data but also data from other areas of the system that is relevant for materials.

The material views in general are configurable based on customer needs. The views illustrated are an example, only.

The figure shows a screenshot of the Basic Data 2 screen.

Segmentation Data

Maintenance of segmentation relevant master data for the material in general is possible in this view.

The following maintenance is possible:

  • Segmentation Structure
  • Segmentation Strategy / Segmentation Strategy Scope

Segmentation Relevant data

This data can only be maintained only in the material creation mode (Transaction MM41) and not within transaction MM42!

Transaction SGT_CONVERT_MATERIAL must be used if changes are necessary.

Facts about fashion attributes are:

  • Up to 3 fashion attributes can be assigned to the material.
  • The description of the 3 fields are defined within customizing.
  • The values for the attributes are defined within transaction FSH_MG_ATTRI.
  • The values are inherited from the generic material to the variants.
  • Differences can be maintained at variant level.
  • Within the F4 help for the material search via the fashion attributes is possible under Material with Fashion Fields.

Season Assignment

The figure shows two screenshots, illustrating the activities, where season assignments are maintained.

Further facts are:

  • Several seasons can be assigned to the material in the Basic Data 2 tab.
  • Seasons assigned to generic material are automatically valid for all variants.
  • Exceptions at variant level can be maintained by selecting the variant number. Deviations can be copied to other variants.

The figure shows a screenshot of the Logistics: DC 2 tab.

Segmentation data: Information on segmentation data is maintained in this view of the material master too.

Supply Assignment (ARun): This setting is proposed out from the plant master data. During the material creation mode (in transaction MM41) this value can be overwritten.

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