In the modern SAP landscape, where precision and efficiency govern the intricacies of critical business operations, the material master data and records assume an increasingly important role. SAP Material Master is a linchpin in seamlessly orchestrating material-related information across diverse business functions and improving the accuracy of data entry and management.

From defining the characteristics of materials to influencing procurement, inventory management, and production planning, Material Master in SAP serves as the bedrock of accurate and streamlined processes.

This article discusses SAP material master records, the transformative impact master data has on empowering organizations with critical information for informed decision-making, and where our expert SAP consultants can come in to help.

Understanding the Difference in SAP Data Types

Here’s a closer look at the main differences between master data and transaction data in SAP:

Master Data

Master data compromises the foundational data that remains relatively stable and offers information about the critical entities, elements, or objects used in core business processes. This type of data is generally longer-lasting and resistant to continuous change, serving as a reference point for transaction data across the SAP system.

Transactional Data

Transactional data refers to information and records associated with the processing of critical business transactions, such as purchase orders, sales orders, production orders, invoices, and deliveries. This data type is relevant to a specific activity or event in the standard SAP system and typically includes timestamps for each transaction.

Breaking Down SAP Master Data

There are two main types of master data in the SAP environment: material and vendor. Here’s a closer look at the main characteristics of each type:

Material Master Data

Material master data is the main source of material-specific data, including information on the specific materials a company can produce, procure, store, or sell. Each department across an enterprise organization works with different materials, requiring a different view of the material master record and access to data screens to create the material data record.

The material master data screens are divided into two categories:

  • Main data: Includes basic data, purchasing data, and accounting data for each material group and base unit of measure for each material.
  • Additional data: Includes additional information about the material type, distribution channel, and material master record maintenance requirements.

Material master data offers a few main characteristics for users, including:

  • Material types: A material type differentiates materials with shared attributes and allows organizations to manage different materials according to specific company requirements.
  • Material groups: A material group is a wider range of material type, gathering materials with common attributes and assigning each material to a specific group.
  • Number range: A number range is defined for each material master record and can be assigned to a material through either external number assignment or internal number assignment.

Vendor Master Data

Vendor master data is the enterprise main source of vendor-specific data, including critical information about the vendors from which a company can procure or sell materials and the vendor’s name and address. Data in the vendor master record can be categorized into a few different categories:

  • General data: Data maintained at the client level and is relevant for all organizational levels.
  • Accounting data: Data relevant for all plants belonging to a company and maintained at the company level.
  • Purchasing data: Data maintained at the purchasing organization level and relevant to each purchasing group responsible for the material.

Vendor master data offers a few main characteristics for users, including:

  • Vendor account group: Vendors are categorized according to their requirements and related characteristics and grouped together in a single category.
  • Number range: When a vendor master record is created, each vendor is recognized by a unique vendor number, including internal and external number assignments based on each vendor master.
  • Number range assignment: Once a number range has been defined for a vendor master record, it is assigned to a specific vendor group.

Critical Fields in Material Master Records

Here’s a closer look at a few fields that are generally relevant in maintaining material master records:

Material Types

When a new material master record is created, users must select a material type to which the material is assigned, including the assignment of materials with the same properties to the same material type. Each material is assigned to a specific material type and the material type performs critical control functions, including customization according to organizational requirements as needed.

The material type influences the following:

  • Number assigned to each material ( i.e., user assigned, internally assigned, numeric, number range, etc.)
  • Specific sequence of screens while maintaining material master records
  • Procurement type allowed for each material (i.e., external, in-house, or both)
  • Valuation class specified in the material master record, including which accounts are posted for goods movement of the material
  • Required, optional, or hidden fields that should only be displayed, not manipulated
  • Status of each sales organization, including quantity and value-based inventory management allowed, only quantity-based inventory management allowed , or no inventory management allowed

Material Status

Material status is a field that can be assigned to the material master record, enabling users to restrict the usability of a material or prevent the material from being purchased or moved from a specific storage location.

Users can set either a cross-plant material status or plant-specific material status and plan the restriction with a valid-from date.

Industry Sector

Similar to the material type, industry sector is also a key, enabling users to create, maintain, customize, and specify an industry sector whenever they create material master records in their SAP system.

An industry sector determines the following for each material:

  • Which screens are displayed and which order they follow after the initial screen
  • Which industry-specific fields are to be displayed on each screen

While the industry sector assigned when creating the material master cannot be changed, users can leverage the intuitive Customizing feature to define new industry sectors and modify screen and field selections according to evolving organizational requirements.

Overview of Material Master Views in SAP

Here’s a closer look at the main SAP Material Master views within the standard SAP system:

Basic Data Views

A basic view contains general information about each material within each organizational level, including Storage Location, Plant, Sales Organization, and Distribution Channel.

Here are a few fields required to create basic views and make changes to existing views:

  • Material description
  • Basic unit of measure
  • General item category
  • Division
  • Gross and net weight unit

Classification View

The classification view can be used to classify materials according to class, batch characteristics, and other predefined material classes. Once classes are defined for each material, users can leverage them to find all the products aligned with each material class or class assignment.

Quality Management View

The quality management view is used to outline and maintain material settings for quality inspection processes across the SAP Quality Management (QM) module.

Once the inspection setup is complete, users must choose and configure inspection types for each material, including material authorization groups, inspection intervals, certification types, QM control keys, and more.

Foreign Trade and Export View

The foreign trade and export view contains critical information about freight, foreign trade requirements, and the export of materials from a specific storage location. The required fields for this view include the following:

  • Country of origin
  • Region of origin
  • Commodity code/import code number for foreign trade
  • Control code
  • Exemption certificate and certificate number
  • Military goods
  • CAP product group

Purchasing View

The purchasing view enables users to access both new fields specific to the purchasing group and multiple fields present in other views, such as plant-specific material status, freight group, and more.

Here’s a closer look at a few fields only accessible through the purchasing view:

  • Purchasing group: Default value for all items included in purchasing documents, enabling the definition of purchasing groups, like raw material purchasing, service purchasing, and trading goods purchasing.
  • Order unit: Default unit for ordering the material and maintaining the key in Customizing, allowing for the transfer of values from the key to all the required fields.

Work Scheduling View

The work scheduling view is used to control the scheduling of production and process orders and enables users to determine how capacity requirements are calculated for all materials included in a particular scheduling run.

General data in the work scheduling view includes the following:

  • Production schedule profile
  • Base quantity
  • Setup time
  • Processing time
  • Underdeliver tolerance
  • Overdeliver tolerance

How Can We Help?

Whether you need help implementing new SAP modules for the first time, additional support identifying unique material number ranges in an existing SAP system, or just an extra hand integrating new tables and events in the Material Master, Surety Systems has you covered.

Our senior-level, US-based SAP consultant team has extensive technical knowledge, functional skills, and experience in all things SAP, guaranteeing your project needs are met and your investment is maximized, no matter what.

Getting Started with Our Team

Interested in learning more about the Material Master table in SAP or how our SAP consulting team can help you specify organizational units for which each data source is maintained? Ready to get started on a project with our team of SAP experts?

Contact us today!