The material master database (often referred to simply as the "material master", comprising all the individual material master records stored in the system) contains descriptions of all materials that an enterprise procures, produces, and keeps in stock. It is the central repository of information on materials (such as inventory levels) for the enterprise.
The integration of all material data in a single materials database eliminates the problem of data redundancy and permits the data to be used not only by Purchasing, but by other applications (such as Inventory Management, Materials Planning and Control, Invoice Verification, and so on).
Descriptions of the individual materials used in an enterprise are stored in material master records.
The following list shows some types of information a material master record contains and provides examples of each:
Valuation and costing/price calculation information. Examples: Standard price, past and future price, and current valuation.
- Materials planning and control
Information for material requirements planning (MRP) and consumption-based planning/inventory control. Examples: Safety stock level, planned delivery time, and reorder level for a material.
Data provided by Purchasing for a material. Examples: Purchasing group (group of buyers) responsible for a material, over- and underdelivery tolerances, and the order unit.
Engineering and design data on a material. Examples: CAD drawings, basic dimensions, and design specifications.
Information relating to the storage/warehousing of a material. Examples: unit of issue, storage conditions, and packaging dimensions.
Information for predicting material requirements. Examples: How the material is procured, forecasting period, and past consumption/usage.
- Sales and distribution
Information for sales orders and pricing. Examples: Sales price, minimum order quantity, and the name of the sales department responsible for a certain material.
For more information, please refer to the sectionUser Departments in the documentation LO Material Master.
How is the Information Organized?
Material data is always organized in the same hierarchical fashion. From the Purchasing viewpoint, a material master record contains the following organizational levels: client, purchasing organization, plant, and storage location.
- Client - general data - This level contains the data applicable to all individual group companies, all plants, and all warehouses/stores belonging to an enterprise (corporate group). Examples of general data are details on a material's design (CAD drawings, for instance) and storage conditions (temperature range, whether the material is explosive or perishable, and so on).
- Plant - This level contains the data for each branch or plant location within a certain company. The data important to Purchasing is stored at this level. Examples of this data are the maximum and minimum order quantities of a material and the reorder point. You access the plant data by entering the plant key.
- Storage location - This level contains the data specific to a storage location. Stock levels are an example of the data maintained for each storage location. You access the storage location data by entering the plant and storage location keys.
This data structure facilitates the organization of material-related information within the entire enterprise. It prevents redundant storage of material data when the same material is used in more than one plant or stored at more than one storage location.
Suppose the same metal casting is stored at two different locations. The design and purchasing data for this material would be identical. However, the data on the stock levels at each location would differ.
How are Materials Numbered?
A unique number is assigned to each material master record. This number identifies a specific material.
Material numbers can be assigned internally or externally. Internal number assignment means that the system assigns material numbers, whereas external number assignment means that the person creating the material master record does so.
If numbers are assigned externally within your enterprise, there may be restrictions on the numbers you may assign to a material. Number assignment is defined within the framework of Customizing.
Who Has Access to the Material Master?
Company policy may restrict access to material master data. Access restrictions are intended to prevent unauthorized users from changing a material master record. Generally, buyers can view all data for a material, but are usually only allowed to change purchasing data. In the same way, material planners or inventory controllers are generally only allowed to change the data directly related to materials planning and control.
Certain users may have authorization to change data centrally. This means that they have authorization to enter and change all data in a material master record, including purchasing data.
If you want to know what access restrictions are in effect at your company, contact your system administrator.