AX 2012 Product Categories
Product Category in AX 2012 is very powerful feature which used to classify products for the reporting purpose and analysis. Categories can be defined as per Organizational needs. In AX 2012 there is no limit on number of levels in a given Category Hierarchy. Once Category is defined it is attached to a product and it is pulled up on all the Purchase / Sales transactions. Hence it enhances the reporting capabilities for an enterprise.
Organization can create as many categories as required, however there could be only one active category associated to type at a given point in time.
Each Level in categories is called as Category Node. Nodes are further classified to Parent Node and Child Nodes.
Category Hierarchy linked to the Category Type. AX 2012 allows defining 3 types of Product categories such as “Procurement Category Type”, “Sales Category Type” and “Commodity Code Type”.
1) Procurement Category Type – Used in procurement module such as Purchase Requisition, Purchase Orders.
2) Sales Category Type – Used in Sales Module such as Sales Quotation, Sales Orders.
3) Commodity Code – Used for compliance and customs purpose can also be used to define product harmonized codes for export & import purposes.
Note:- One should be very careful while defining the product category Hierarchy as once it is defined it cannot be changed or re-adjust to the other parent categories. Only option left is to delete the category node and re-create on the desired parent / child node.
Once created, all categories and nodes are inactive. There is an activate button in the ribbon at the top of the form where a category can be activated. When a child category is activated, parent categories are automatically activated along with it.
Categories can hold information such as Commodity Codes, and Attributes. These attributes are specific to each category (or inherited from a parent) and are added to a category from a list of user created attributes. Category pages can be added as well. Pages can contain information about the type of product in a category, images of the product in the category and announcements for discounts and sales available for that category.
Some of the uses of categories other than reporting and analysis are to setup what vendor products in a particular category must be purchased from as well as setting up specific product attributes for products in a category. Questionnaires can also be setup for a particular category that would typically be sent to a vendor for evaluating their capabilities. Policies can also be created for a category hierarchy that will manage access to products in the category and rules for ordering products in that category.
Following is the outline on the category structure supported by AX 2012.
Category Hierarchy – is the master under which category nodes are created. Category Hierarchy is associated to the Category Type. There is no limit to creation on number of category hierarchy. Organizations can create several category hierarchies and attached to a specific category type such as Purchase, Sales.
Note:- Only one active product category Hierarchy can be attached to a type at a given point in time. Once Hierarchy is associated to Type it cannot be changed.
Parent Category Node – is the only parent node to which multiple child nodes can be created. There cannot be more that one Parent nodes under category hierarchy. By default all nodes are created as a child to a parent node. Therefore as best practices it is advisable to define Parent node as similar to Category Hierarchy.
Child Node – All nodes created under the parent are called as Child nodes. Child nodes can be under different hierarchy as show in above diagram. Organization can define as many child nodes as per individual requirement and there is no limitation to the number of levels.
All of the above nodes have some common characteristics such as
a) Category Attributes
b) Commodity Codes
c) Category Pages
d) Project Categories.
1) Category Hierarchy Creation
Step 1 – Category Hierarchy can be created through the New Category option under
Product Information Management – Setup – Categories – Category Hierarchy
Step 2 – In Category Hierarchy Form Click on drop down next to Category Hierarchy on top Ribbon
Step 3 – Update Category Hierarchy Name Description and Click on Create Button. This will add Category Hierarchy on the Overview.
Step 4 – Upon Create option system shall take you to the Category Hierarchy Details form which will allow you to add Parent & Child Category Nodes.
Note: For the first time you create category hierarchy you will see this form blank with option to create new category Node as shown in figure below.
Also you will notice the created Category Hierarchy appear on the Overview list page.
2) Category Hierarchy Association to Category Type
Category Hierarchy should be associated with Category type in order to activate for the transactional usage. Following are the conditions to be met while linking the Category Hierarchy to Category Type.
1) Only one active category hierarchy attached to category type.
2) Category hierarchy cannot be changed once transactions are created.
Step 1 – To link category Hierarchy to category type please use Associate Hierarchy Type on top ribbon. The right side pane on the Category Hierarchy Overview list shows the list of category type associated with given hierarchy.
Step 2 – Associate Hierarchy form shall display predefined Hierarchy Type and option to select Category Hierarchy.
Step 3 – Following error message will be displayed if any of above conditions is failed.
3) Category Parent Node
Step 1 – To Create Parent Category Node Navigate to
Product Information Management -> Setup -> Categories -> Category Hierarchy
Select desired category Hierarchy to create a parent Node and click on Edit button on ribbon at the top.
Step 2 – On Create Category Node form click on New Category Node on top ribbon.
A New Parent Category Node will be added by Default.
Update Description, code and save.
4) Category Child Node
Create Child Nodes same as Parent Select the Parent Node under which you would like to create child nodes.
Activate & InActivate Categories.
To Inactivate category Select the node and click on the Inactivate button on top ribbon. Once category node is Inactivated it shall not appear in any transactions. Also upon inactivating the parent node all child nodes will be inactivated by default.
Click Yes and all sub categories / child nodes will be inactivated. On Inactivated the category node icons will change as shown in below picture.
To Activate Category Nodes select the Inactive node and click on Activate button on Top. While activating users shall have choice to activate only selected category or all sub categories under the parent category.
Upon activation selected category will appear for transactions.
Swaps “If you think you can….you can”