The article hierarchy enables you to group your articles, using a customer-oriented structure. This means you can map any hierarchical grouping of articles, in particular the consumer decision tree (CDT). The CDT is oriented around consumers and their needs and, as far as possible, it reflects how, and according to what needs the consumer decides to make a purchase.
You define the category by considering the possible choices a customer has when making a purchase decision. The category of a CDT should be clear and delimited. The articles of a category should be similar or interchangeable.
Examples of criteria for defining different structure levels (for example, subcategories, segments, subsegments) are different product forms (for example, roll-on deodorant, deodorant sticks, and spray deodorant), consumers (for example, child or adult), or ingredients (for example, caffeinated or decaffeinated). There are no restrictions as to the depth of an article hierarchy. However, experience has shown that a structure depth of a maximum of seven levels is recommendable.
The following graphic shows the possible structure of a CDT:
You can use the article hierarchy as a planning hierarchy. By creating a new assignment, you can use this assignment as of a certain point in time in operational processes. For the majority of new article hierarchy elements, however, a plan is created first before if can be used in the applications.
When you create a new article/node assignment, detailed assortment planning is performed first and the new article assignments are determined. This assignment can be used in the operational applications after a certain point in time.
Other objects are created without planning and can therefore be used immediately in the operational applications. In the planning cycle, existing elements that have been used in operational applications regularly undergo new planning.
The anticipation of future changes to structures is required in planning processes, such as Retail planning, and in operational applications, as these work with the structures that will be valid in the future.
You can link the article hierarchy with the individual subsidiaries (department stores, stores, shops) and therefore determine the appearance of a certain merchandise area in the department store, as the article hierarchy influences the structural composition of a shop and the shop’s assortment. Assortment structure planning results in changes to the article hierarchy, such as, new node assignments or a shift of assignments, which do not become valid until a certain time in the future.
· Article Hierarchy Maintenance makes it simple for you to maintain the article hierarchy online.
· Article hierarchy mapping takes place in a strict hierarchy that can be assymetrical. This allows you to define several different article hierarchies at the same time.
· You can define distribution chain-dependent article hierarchies. Articles can then be assigned to several article hierarchies.
· You can define scheduled article hierarchies, that is, hierarchies with time-dependent structure and article assignments.
· You can define article hierarchies with multiple article assignments, that is, with several article assignments in an article hierarchy.
· You can automatically number new article hierarchy objects using a number range object.
· Within an article hierarchy or a subtree of the hierarchy it is possible to reassign nodes for example, to reassign a subcategory to a category. Article assignments are reassigned at the same time.
· Change documents can be written for every change in an active article hierarchy. This can be necessary for tracking changes.
· From the integrated article maintenance, (new) articles can be assigned to the article hierarchy.
· The maintenance of the article hierarchy is controlled by the authorization concept. You can, for example, depending on the user, grant or forbid access to a category and the assigned CDT.
· To support analysis and reporting for categories, it is possible to export the article hierarchy to SAP BW.
· You can communicate changes to the article hierarchy using a workflow.
· You can migrate external data into the SAP system using an import interface and then export it again using an export interface.
· You can simulate copying substructures from one article hierarchy to another article hierarchy.
· You can copy substructures from one article hierarchy to another article hierarchy.