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"Innovative Thinking" A Newsletter from Innovative IT Consulting In This Issue

May 2013

Master data setup is critical to how X3 operates. Last month's article on Master Data generated a lot of interest. And as we noted, this is a big topic, so this month we continue with part 2. It appearsas if many of you are interested in becoming a Master!

X3 eXpert's corner Due to the length of the main article, John Pellegrino takes a break from his regular series. John will return next month, we promise!

By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

Picking up where we left off. Last month we started discussing Product Master Data, and covered PRODUCT CATEGORIES Let’s start by reviewing a key mistake to avoid. Don’t use Product Categories for marketing or sales breakdowns of products. Product Categories are primarily for controlling X3 behavior and simplifying setup of new items. For example, your company might sell Pumps and Switches. For product categories you might only need one called “FG” for finished goods. However, you would definitely want to be able to analyze the pumps and switches separately, and need various ways to break down the pumps and switches that you make and sell. And this leads us to Analytical Fields.

Analytical fields. X3 provides 4 different kinds of fields for analysis!! Each of these 4 types of fields has their own advantages and disadvantages in terms of using them.

Statistical groups. X3 provides for 5 item statistical groups. These fields (TSICOD(0) – TSCCOD(4) are available throughout the system. Key points about the stat groups:

* They are validated against misc. tables

*They can be set up to be independent of each other OR hierarchical, either partially or fully. So in our example the first stat group could be for type of product, and the valid values might be Pumps and Switches. Then stat group 2 could relate to stat group 1 so that if you selected Pumps you would only get the list of pumps such as manual pumps, electric pumps, etc. If you needed further breakdowns, the electric pumps could be broken down by size, etc. And the remainder of the stat groups could be independent fields.

*The stat groups are carried not only on the product master but on many X3 transactions such as sales orders, invoices, etc. This means that you have a choice to analyze by the value of the stat group “at the time of the transaction” OR by how it is set up now in the item master. This is a key benefit of using stat groups.

*Stat groups are already set up as “criteria” on many of the X3 inquiries and functions, making it easy to restrict your search or process to the specific set or sub-set of products you want.

Product line attributes. X3 also provides extended functionality called “Product Line Attributes”. You can have an UNLIMITED number of attributes across the system, and use any 12 for a given product line. The attribute fields are 6 numeric and 6 alpha and are carried in the item master. (CFGFLDALP01-06, CFGFLDNUM01-06) A few key points about the product line attributes:

*Product line attributes can also be validated against tables called “response tables”, which are the tables used in the product configurator.

*Product line attributes are generally hierarchical, but not exclusively. However, one of the key differences between stat groups and attributes is that if you tell X3 you are using all 5 stat groups, then for every product you will see the 5 attributes, even if you leave one of them blank for a certain item. With the attributes you can use all 12 of the fields for certain products, and only 3 of them for another simpler product. Some products may come in shape, size and color, and others may only be classified by color.

*Product attributes are NOT carried by X3 in any of the normal transactions.

*Product attributes are also not used on X3 inquiries and criteria selections.

*Product attributes also do not automatically appear on the item master screen. You have to right click on the product line field to view the attributes.

GL Dimensions. GL dimensions are of course used by the X3 finance system and are at the heart of the dimensional ledger. The beauty of the GL dimensions is the degree of control that you have. You control which GL accounts will carry the dimensions and which transactions will generate them, as well as whether those transactions are mandatory or optional. Because the dimensions are so tightly couple to the General Ledger they are good for capturing product level detail that does not originate from sales or purchasing, so you can capture and/or allocate overhead, marketing and other expenses to products, product lines, etc. The dimensions are also carried in many X3 transactions, just as the stat groups are.

Custom fields. If all else fails, X3 makes it easy to add your own custom fields to the item master and validate against a table or leave it open for use. Key points about custom fields:

*Custom fields are not carried into any X3 transactions without customization. So if you need analytical fields in transactions, use one of the other types of fields.

*Custom fields are also not used by any existing X3 reports or inquiries. Therefore you may need to create your own; this is both a positive and a negative. You won’t be interfering with any existing X3 logic, but you won’t be taking advantage of any existing X3 functionality as well.

Summing it up – with choice comes responsibility! With so many choices for product related analytical fields, it is critical to spend sufficient time thinking about your reporting requirements and key operating metrics before locking in your X3 setup. And . . . .we’re not done with master data yet. Next month we’ll continue with further discussion of dimensions.

"One of the most widely used types of analytical fields in X3. (2 words)

C T A S I I G P L U O R S S T T A

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _

Answer to last month's word scramble.

"Data setup that is critical to X3 implementation. (2 words)" (MASTER DATA)

Next month we'll continue with more on master data in X3, plus the X3 eXperts corner returns. if you have suggestions for How-To topics and other X3 related tips, let us know. Please keep checking the INNOVATIVE WEB SITE for useful tips, and our newsletter archives.

Mastering Master Data. Part 2!

X3 eXpert's Corner. Returning next month.

Word scramble.

 

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