Material Planning

This module is used to support M3 by supplying items in existing warehouses. The processes in Material Planning can be carried out with varying degrees of automation, from manual to completely automatic management.

At the heart of material planning is the Material Plan, which is a collected notation of future planned stock transactions per item.

The planning rules and definitions decided for material handling of items determine how requirements planning will be carried out. More information can be found in Entering Planning Rules and Definitions. The order type and maintenance method defined for each item also determine how the material plan is managed.

Before you start

Before Material Planning can be accomplished, Warehouse Management must be installed.


The illustration below shows how Material Planning interacts with other parts of M3.

Warehouse Management

Warehouse management handles all stockkeeping in M3, and provides the basis in Material Planning to handle all material in a M3 system.

Warehouse management determines how and where items are stored, how supply of items is managed as well as how items are acquired. Orders from other warehouses generate requisition orders according to the rules and definitions that are entered for the actual item/warehouse location combination.

Customer Order

Customer orders create demands in the material plan that correspond to created orders. As long as the requirement exists in the material plan, these customer orders can be traced to the original order (pegging).

Manufacturing Order

Requirements records are created in the material plan for materials necessary in the manufacture of an item type. As is possible in customer orders, the source for a requirement can be traced during the remaining time in the material plan (pegging).

Distribution Order

Distribution orders are used to move items between warehouse locations. Distribution orders are an alternative to purchase or manufacturing orders if the item is available in another warehouse.

Purchase Order

For inventory control purchases, a purchase order can be automatically created in order to acquire necessary material for a product. To meet the demand date for material, the purchase is planned so that lead times are observed.

Other types of purchases, for example a direct purchase, also generate records in the material plan.

Service Order

As with other order types, requirements records can be created in the material plan for items that are handled in Service Order Processing. To meet the demand date for material, the purchase or issue is planned so that lead times are observed.

Project Management

As with other order types, requirement records can be created in the material plan for items that are handled in Project Management. To meet the demand date for material, the purchase or issue is planned so that lead times are observed.


Forecasting is one of several sources for future needs in material planning. Requirements to be acquired are retrieved from forecasts, which are used when the master demand schedule is created.

More information on forecasts and material requirements planning can be found in Forecasting and MRP.

Rough-cut Capacity Planning

Rough-cut Capacity Planning is a way to judge capacity for planning groups on a broad level. Forecasting and load analysis from the rough-cut capacity planning are used when the master production schedule is created.

Internal Relationship

Material Planning includes the following processes:

  1. Master Planning

    Master Planning gathers requirements for everything that will be manufactured, purchased, or requisitioned during a certain period.

    Planning is based first on valid supply forecasts as well as a load forecast from rough-cut capacity planning, which creates a Master Demand Schedule.

  2. Material Requirements Planning/Distribution Requirements Planning

    Material Requirements Planning plans the exact requirements from a valid master production schedule with a load analysis from Capacity planning. When the requirements are calculated, the on-hand balance is checked for the relevant items. The result of this planning creates the Material Plan.

    The frequency and manner in which the material plan is updated is determined by which planning method is used. For more information, see Planning Frequency.

    In a situation where warehouse locations are supplied by distribution orders, use Distribution Requirements Planning, which has the same functionality as material planning, but with regard to distribution orders.

    The Planning Workbench is used to manage capacity and planned orders. It is also where so-called action messages are managed.

    Different types of reports can be printed from Material requirements planning/Distribution requirements planning. Statistics for the year’s requirements as well as for items and planning information are updated. Descriptions of the different printouts are found in Monitoring and Printing Material Planning.

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