Differences Between Articles and Materials
Articles are the focus of all logistics processes in retailing, and materials in manufacturing.
Retailers and manufacturers have different requirements in terms of master data and maintenance functions. Retailers, for example, require variants (for example, color and size) to optimize business processes in the fashion sector, while manufacturers use bills of material for particular requirements within production planning. Due to the large number of articles handled in a retail company, master data maintenance must be integrated in operational processes.
To be able to offer the different retailing and manufacturing processes the best possible support, the SAP system offers different maintenance transactions for materials and articles. The following functions are included in the article master that are not available in the material master:
- A maintenance function is integrated for data such as purchasing information records, listing, and sales price calculations.
- More than one organizational level, for example sites and distribution channels, can be processed online in a single maintenance transaction. In the case of generic articles, more than one article can be processed.
Unlike the material master in which you can only process one material or one plant at any given time, article master data on higher levels is inherited on lower levels, if they have not been maintained otherwise. For example, the system copies the data for a generic article to its variants. It also copies data for reference sites to the master for the individual sites.