Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

17.2.2 Item Master Data

Intended learning outcomes: Present the concept of the item master record. Describe the attributes of the technical information and the stockkeeping information of the item master record. Identify attributes of the item master record for information on costs and prices.


The various specializations of the item business object are summarized in Figure 1.2.2.1. This section provides a detailed description of the object, particularly its important attributes.

An item master record contains the master data for an item.
An item master file is a file containing all item master records.

Each record contains three different types of information: technical information, stock­keeping information, and information on costs and prices. The three types are often administered by different offices within the company. If this is the case, they must be coordinated by an organizational procedure (e.g., using workflow techniques).

The technical information has at least the following attributes:

  • The item ID, that is, the item identification. If computerized, it should, if possible, be “not meaningful” and allocated by the information system. The item ID is a primary key and is thus unique. It must not be changed during the product life cycle. See also Section 20.3.2.
  • The EAN/UPC code. This is a re-identification of the item ID for automatic shop floor data acquisition, and its structure is based on international standards.
  • The drawing number or technical reference number. This also helps people within the company to identify the item. As a secondary key, however, it does not necessarily have to be unique. Its value can also change over the product life cycle, which may be necessary if the drawing numbers are reorganized, for example.
  • The item description. This often has different attributes, which also act as secondary keys for quick and easy searching; for example, a verbal description that may be in different languages, the item abbreviation or acronym used to describe the item within the company, or the item’s dimension or dimensions.
  • The item type, that is, its specialization (end product, semifinished good, raw material, document, information, etc.).
  • A flag to indicate whether the item is purchased or produced in-house.
  • Classification codes that group items together for certain statistics.
  • The low-level code; see Section 1.2.2.
  • A flag to indicate a by-product or a waste product.
  • The units of measure, for example, the storage unit, the unit to which costs and prices relate, the purchasing unit, or the weight unit.
  • Conversion factors for converting from one unit of measure to another.

The stockkeeping information has at least the following attributes:

  • The reason for order release (see Section 4.4.4), order release by demand (technique: MRP), order release by prediction (technique: MRP), order release by consumption (technique: order point or Kanban).
  • The stock location or stockkeeping location. A separate class is needed for administering the storage locations of an item with multiple stock organization (see Section 11.1.1). See also Section 17.1.5.
  • The lead time.
  • The production or procurement size. This is a quantity (batch size), a time period, or a number of requests, depending on the batch-sizing policy(see Section 12.4.1).
  • The mean consumption and the attributes used to update this value (see Section 10.2.1). Cumulative past consumption values are generally administered using separate classes (see Section 11.2.1).

Attributes for information on costs and prices are generally as follows (see also Chapter 16):

  • The manufacturing or procurement costs: full or variable, standard, average, real or updated, simulated.
  • The cost types taken from the cost breakdown structure of a product (the cost accumulation structure): cost of materials, direct labor costs and overheads, or fixed and variable labor costs.
  • The various selling prices: Different prices for each market segment; previous, current, and future price (and optionally the date of validity).

Aspects of computerized administration:

  • For certain large-scale modifications, however, it may be sensible to record the amendments in advance and then to run them in background mode using a batch procedure. A typical example is a change of selling prices: If the new prices are not derived from the old prices using a formula, the only possible solution is to record the new prices for each item online as separate attributes. At the key date, all the pri­ces will then be changed in a few seconds by overwriting the “Price” attribute with the value of the “New price” attribute.
  • It is necessary to record the latest modifications in the item master data if different users are able to modify the same data. It will thus be possible to identify who modified which data and when.
  • When entering the data for a new item into the item master data, it is generally convenient first to copy all the attribute values of an existing item to the attributes of the new item and then to change the values.
  • An item may not be physically deleted while it still occurs as a component, product, or reservation in an order or consumption statistics. An item ID is normally reserved for several years, even if the associated item is no longer physically present within the company.


Course section 17.2: Subsections and their intended learning outcomes

  • 17.2 The Master Data for Products and Processes

    Intended learning outcomes: Describe master data of products, product structure, components, and operations. Explain the data structure of item master, bill of material, and where-used list. Disclose the data structure of work center master data, the work center hierarchy, as well as for operation, routing sheet, production equipment, bill of production equipment, and bill of tools.

  • 17.2.1 Product, Product Structure, Components, and Operations

    Intended learning outcomes: Present the concept of master data. Explain the production order as a collection of master data. Describe a simple product structure. Identify the intermediate product used simultaneously as a component in higher-level products.

  • 17.2.2 Item Master Data

    Intended learning outcomes: Present the concept of the item master record. Describe the attributes of the technical information and the stockkeeping information of the item master record. Identify attributes of the item master record for information on costs and prices.

  • 17.2.3 Bill of Material, Bill-of-Material Position, Where-Used List, and Where-Used-List Position

    Intended learning outcomes: Present the concepts of the bill of material and of the bill-of-material position, the where-used list, and the where-used list position. Differentiate between the single-level bills of material, the multilevel bill of material, and the summarized bill of material. Differentiate between the single-level where-used list, the multilevel where-used list, and the summarized where-used list. Describe the bill-of-material position logistical object and its most important attributes.

  • 17.2.4 Work Center Master Data

    Intended learning outcomes: Present the work-center business object. Describe the attributes of the work-center master record relating to capacity, concerning costs, and for calculating the lead time.

  • 17.2.5 The Work Center Hierarchy

    Intended learning outcomes: Present the concepts of workstation and cost center. Explain the work center hierarchy.

  • 17.2.6 Operation and Routing Sheet

    Intended learning outcomes: Present the concepts of the operation business object in association with the routing sheet. Describe the most important attributes of the operation master object. Produce an overview on the work center where-used list.

  • 17.2.7 Production Equipment, Bill of Production Equipment, and Bill of Tools

    Intended learning outcomes: Present the concepts of bill of production equipment and bill-of-production-equipment position as well as production equipment where-used list. Produce an overview on collective tool, bill of tools, bill-of-tools position, and tool where-used list.

  • 17.2.8 Composition of the Basic Master Data Objects

    Intended learning outcomes: Explain the breakdown of the master data into individual classes and their associations using the example of the ball bearing. Describe the basic object classes for planning & control.

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