This document explains the principles underlying M3 Attribute Control and how M3 Attribute Control facilitates item handling.
Items are set to be attribute managed and connected to attribute models. These models consist of attributes that are valid for one or several items.
Attributes are pieces of information that are used as further descriptions of items. Each attribute carries a value, which can be numeric, alphanumeric, etc. By using attributes it is possible to minimize the number of items and to structure item information from supply, through warehouse activities, to order fulfillment. For example, attribute values can be used as a basis when setting dynamic sales and purchase prices, controlling allocation, etc.
Attribute handling affects a large number of files in various parts of M3. This is further described in the documentation for the respective function area.
The attribute records are stored in two files:
The MIATTR file contains the actual attribute values connected to a balance identity or a lot master record. This information is critical and must be kept at least until the transaction history is archived. Since either the lot or the balance identity can control an attribute, there can be two attribute numbers that together provide the full information of the attribute values connected to one balance identity.
The MOATTR file contains the expected values from the requirements and demands. These records are not as critical as the MIATTR records and can be archived when the corresponding order is archived.
For more details, refer to Setting Up Attribute Control.
The purpose of Attribute Control is to structure the information connected to items.
Before you can start using Attribute Control, you have to enter the necessary settings. For more details, refer to Setting Up Attribute Control.
Some essential basic data are described below.
Attributes can be maintained on different levels within the system. Stock attributes can be maintained on either balance identity or lot master level and might be used throughout the system. The other controlling objects are order-specific and can only be used in the area specified, for example, customer orders, manufacturing orders or purchase orders.
An attribute that is maintained for a balance identity can have different values for different locations, containers, etc. for the same lot. An attribute that is maintained on the lot master level can only have one attribute value for the lot number.
An attribute maintained for a balance identity can also be used for items that are not lot-processed. An attribute that is maintained on the lot master can only be used for lot-processed items already in the lot master.
Each attribute carries a value, which can be numeric, alphanumeric, consist of date, text or a heading in the attribute values panel. The attribute values can be entered in a number of ways: manually, calculated by a formula, set to the value of an object in the database, etc. The values can be fixed or variable over time.
Each attribute has a number that is the key used to connect the attribute to a balance identity, a lot and an order. The attribute number is built up as YYYYMMDDxxxxxxxxx, where x is a running number retrieved from a number series. The attribute number is added into master files like Balance ID, Transaction history, ,Lot master, Customer order lines, etc.
Attribute Control can be used in many different situations.
When an attribute-managed item is put into stock, a partial copy is made of the attribute model connected to the item. This copy contains all attributes that are controlled on lot or balance identity level. The attribute screen, ‘Attribute Value. Connect to’ (ATS101), will be displayed automatically and you can enter the attribute value.
When stock is entered from a supply order, the attribute values are automatically proposed from the target value for the supply order.
All attributes connected to a balance identity and a lot are displayed when the attribute screen is displayed for an attribute-managed item.
Attribute-Based Stock Search
Stock can be searched within an item number or across several items. When a search is done for one item, the attributes from the model connected to this item are displayed. When the search is done across several items, a default attribute model, entered in ‘Settings – Attribute Control’ (CRS586), controls which attributes should be displayed. You can also enter the attributes that should be displayed by pressing function key F17=Add attribute in ‘Attribute Value. Connect to’ (ATS101)
Attribute control is implemented in functions such as:
When an order is created for an attribute-managed item, a partial copy of the attribute model connected to the item is created automatically. This copy contains all attributes that are set as order included for the order category in question.
The attribute screen, ‘Attribute Value. Connect to’ (ATS101), can be displayed automatically during order entry and the user can enter a value range and a target value.
For demand orders, the allocation will validate that the values of the allocation-critical attributes for the balance identity are within the range. The target value will be used to calculate the sales price for customer orders and update the statistics.
For supply orders, the target value will be proposed as the attribute value at stock entry. The range will be used as information about accepted outcome of the supply process.
Attributes in the Bill of Material
It is possible to predefine the attribute values that are required for material to be allocated to a manufacturing order. This is done when the bill of material is defined.
Sales and purchase prices and customer order discounts can be calculated based on attributes. The attributes are added as valid fields to the order-dependent prices or to the purchase costing elements. Formulas can also be used for attributes. Sales and purchase price calculations can be based on either expected or actual attribute values.
Attributes can be coded as order statistical keys/accumulators to be included in the order statistics and dataset management. These parameters are set in the attribute model. Note that these attributes must also be included on the customer order to be able to update the statistics.
Attributes set as main attributes can be used as a part of the accounting string for the following events:
Attributes are similar to features in the Product Configurator. The difference between them is that features control the product structure while attributes control the outcome in the warehouse and transaction history.
When an item is both configured and attribute-managed the results from a product configuration can be used to set the attribute value automatically. If the same attribute ID is connected to several features/drawing measurements, the attribute value will be retrieved from the first feature or drawing measurement to which it is connected.
Forecasting and planning are based on item numbers, not on attributes. This means that the attributes are not handled by the MRP. However, attributes can be used to define a planning entity that covers a subset of an item. This enables attribute-based available-to-promise (ATP) validation and forecast consumption, as well as attribute-based demand management in M3 demand planner.