Setting up Item Master the hard way… or the easy way

The Item master is one of the foundation stones for all the Supply Chain products in any ERP suite of products. By the way, you don’t need the inventory module to use the item master! The number of items in the Item Master depends on the nature and size of business. The count of Items in an organization’s portfolio could run from few hundred to hundreds of thousands. I have personally seen some clients with item masters in the 300,000 to 500,000 active items range.  Every Item Master needs periodic cleanup and updates at some frequency based on the needs of an ever-changing business. Some industries could demand the daily activity of adding new Items and modifications of the attributes of existing items. The cleaner the Item Master the less chance of mistakes and the wrong product pulled for internal or external use.  Adding Items and maintaining correct and up-to-date attributes is part and parcel of Inventory management.
If done manually (we are talking potentially 25+ pages), maintaining the Item Master is a cumbersome activity for inventory Managers.  Errors in Items or attributes could mean a loss of inventory value, unwanted stock or Inventory shortages of required items. At some point, internal audits may trigger a recommended item master clean up  to weed out the redundant items from the “active” list, a review of alternate items that truly are a substitute or replacement for a requested item and several other Item-related issues that need addressing. In most organizations this is a planned activity Inventory Managers will do on a regular basis and dedicate resources to review the content of the Item Master list and make the necessary corrections on a regular basis.
These are the key indicators that item / inventory management needs to reviewed:
  • item is not available in a lookup for a location or a particular user
  • nobody can find who the last supplier for the item
  • ‘what did we pay for it last time? When did we order it?’
  • the item is in the wrong unit of measure
  • reconciliation of the value of physical count of inventory to the general ledger is a month long exercise
  • standard practice to inactivate the old item and create a new one to solve an urgent need

Item templates can make creating new items more efficient, provides consistency in setup, dependable ordering by purchasing at a competitive price, auditability for year end and makes the end user experience more consistent (for the better!).

Check this out for using item templates

Understanding Configurable Item Templates

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