Item Categories (& Templates)

Item Categories

Hi everyone, if you read the first post on Item Attributes we briefly touched on the Item Category in Dynamics NAV 2017 and D365 for Financials. Back then you may have thought “Hey, that looks different than in previous versions” and you wouldn’t be wrong. This time round we’re going to break down what you can use it for. However, for anyone with knowledge of previous versions of NAV, ITS CHANGED and pretty significantly as well.

The Item Category what?

OK so if you’re new to NAV or D365 for Financials, you can use the Item Category to help classify or sort your items for filtering and reporting so you can find out how many “Chairs” you have, etc.

Navigating to the Item Card, you can see the Item Category Code field in the “Inventory” tab (it’s moved from General) 

ic1

Then, when you give that field a value, or create a new Category, you can go back to your Item List and filter for all items that have that category code or find it in any report. As shown previously, you can associate Attributes to these Item Categories meaning that every time you assign an Item to a category, you can default a whole bunch of attribute values to it (again for reporting purposes and to help you create your record quicker).

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To define what attributes are defaulted, all you have to do is drill down into the Item Category Code and press advanced. The Item Category list gives you all of the categories which as you can see below, are structured in a hierarchy. This also is new in the latest version, everything you see in the list below is an Item Category, however those that are underneath/nested in a group, like “DESK” have a “Parent Category” set.

ic3

 

What’s changed?

Product Group Code

First off, for those who may not be familiar with previous versions, you had two fields, Item Category Code and Product Group Code. Several Product Groups could belong to an Item Category and you would still them to help classify your items. For example if you had a chair, you could assign it an IC Code of FURNITURE and then a PG Code of CHAIR. If you also have a table then assigning the same IC Code and then a PG Code of TABLE.

For years we’ve been used to seeing an Item Category Code and then a Product Group Code on the Item card. One underneath the other but now the Product Group Code has vanished! There’s a field on the loose I tell you! Don’t worry, the Product Group Code still exists in NAV 2017 on the Item table (for now), it just been removed from the Item Card by default because of the new changes on the Item Category. There is now that hierarchy using the “Parent Category” field.

 Now going into the IC Code field, this is now not just a flat list to choose from, you can have categories with sub categories and sub categories. You can have as many categories and sub categories as you want which is really nice. In effect, this hierarchy is now replacing the structure between IC and PG, which is why they have removed the field from the Item Card as default. Bear in mind that you can’t have two IC’s with the same Code, this is the PK.

Item Templates

Now, the biggest change (in my opinion) to the Item Category is that previously, you could assign a whole bunch of Posting Groups to it so that instead of defaulting a whole bunch of Attributes, you would default the required posting groups onto the item so that it can be used.

If you have a look at the screenshot below, this is taken from NAV 2016, you can see on theItem Category list, you could set information like posting groups and then the Product Group codes were just used to default this information as well as reporting and grouping your items.

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Let’s compare that again to the Item Category list in 2017 / D365 for Financials:

ic2

So where have the Posting Groups gone…..? I’m sorry but I don’t know, I couldn’t figure that bit out. Only messing! Now, in NAV 2017 and D365 for Financials, you can setup and use Item Templates to default a whole bunch of information against a record. You may have noticed that every time you create a new Item, Customer or Vendor the system will prompt you to select a template straight away which makes creating the items easier and quicker and is awesome!!

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Here is an example of an Item Template. (you can find them by searching for “Item Templates”)

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The really, REALLY nice thing about the Item Template is that you can even set an Item Category on it. So you don’t have to select a template and then choose an Item Category, everything can be done in one action when the system prompts the user when creating a new record.

In Summary

Item Category – group/classify your Item and assign Item Attribute Values to it.

Item Templates – set Posting Groups, Costing Methods, Item Categories, etc. to an item.

It’s fair to say that the Item Category has changed quite a bit but fundamentally, it is still used to classify/group your Items. In my opinion, I think that prompting the user to select a template rather than creating a record from nothing is a much better way of ensuring they don’t forget to enter something, like a posting group! Hopefully by using templates and categories, the standard of master data will be better and will resort in happier users!

It is worthwhile keeping the differences in mind, especially if you are working on a version before NAV 2017 because at some point, if the client wanted to upgrade, you may wish to change the structure of their Item Categories and stop using Product Groups (I wouldn’t be surprised if the Product Group Code field disappears from the Item table in Dynamics NAV in future releases).

 

Anyway that’s it for this week, see you next time!

– Nick

 

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