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Author's profile photo Corey Holstege

Global Bicycle Inc.: An Intern Adventure. Part 2.1

This is Part 2.1 of the Global Bicycle Inc. (GBI 2.0) story, as related by an intern. The full series begins with Global Bicycle Inc.: An Intern Adventure.


This posting is in response to a comment received on Global Bicycle Inc.: An Intern Adventure. Part 2. The comment was: “Can we get a description of the material master fields you decided to use, and why…..I’d love to see the thought process behind the project.” I believe this is a very valid question, and answering it might shed some light on future postings. As such, I shall attempt to answer it here. In answering this comment, I went into a bit more detail than the rest of the blogs.

Material Master

At the beginning of the GBI project, we had a simple goal (well, as simple as a goal may be while configuring SAP): get the procurement and sales processes to work, along with financials. In other words, buy stuff, sell stuff, and make sure the money goes in the correct accounts.


The procurement and sales business processes (or as I’ve been informed as the military calls it: factory to foxhole) can be as simple or as complex as a company decides. As such, for every company that has these processes, there are different ways of completing these processes. We, (the other interns and I) had to have a process that was simple, yet hit all the major points of the process. Simple so students who had never seen SAP before could understand it, yet complex enough to be realistic. In this regard, we got lucky.


Several years in the past, Dr. Magal and several other professors at Grand Valley had developed their own training environment very similar to GBI, albeit on a bit of a smaller scale, to use in the classroom to assist in teaching SAP.  It is called Super Skateboard Builders, or SSB.  As part of this they created a set of exercise to run through various basic business processes in the SAP system. Those exercises hit all the major notes, and seemed to work well for the students, so we unashamedly pilfered them (why re-invent the wheel?), and in later phases converted them to our purposes. As an added bonus, they meshed well with the TERP10 book (upon which they were most likely based), which we were to follow.


For those of you not familiar, the basic processes are thus:


Procurement: Create Purchase Requisition > Convert to Purchase Order > Receive Materials > Receive Invoice > Send Payment to Vendor


Sales: Receive Customer Purchase Order / Create Sales Order > Prepare Shipment (Pick & Pack) > Send Shipment > Create & Send Invoice > Receive Payment from Customer


The material master (as you may or may not be aware) is a record maintained within the SAP system for each material the company has.  Thus if the company has 1000 different materials, they have 1000 different material master records in the system. The various functions of the business all reference the same material master. For example: both production and purchasing reference the same material master for the Black Touring Frame (TRFR1000). Therein lies one of the advantages of the SAP ERP system, data reduction and data integrity. Instead of both business units keeping and maintaining records for the material, with the possibility of conflicting information, there is just one record maintained: the material master.


As such, the material master has the possibility to contain vast amounts of information. As stated above, our goal was to keep the process as simple as possible. In keeping with this, we only wanted to fill in the minimum number of required fields to be able to create the material in the system.


Initially I logged into the SAP IDES system as described in Global Bicycle Inc.: An Intern Adventure. Part 2. I came up with a list of about 80 fields (I’m not entirely sure as I can’t locate the original excel sheet I used, I had this number written down in my notes, and it sounds about right) across the various tabs that had values filled in for a raw material, similar to the raw materials GBI has. Research was then conducted to figure out exactly what each field did. We then matched up the fields we found in the IDES system to the fields use in SSB, and determined which fields were necessary to be able to create the material master. We followed this process for each group of materials (RM, TG, SF, FG). What follows’ are the fields that were ultimately decided upon for raw materials for GBI.







Basic Data 1

Material Number

Required field. Also pretty useful to differentiate the materials.




Exercises have students enter specific information here to help them keep their materials apart. Also includes the name of the material as trying to keep all the material numbers separate and what they stand for can be a challenge. I can’t do it and I finalized most of the material numbers and descriptions.



Base Unit of Measure

Required Field. Unit of measure in which stocks of the material are managed. We decided upon “EA” or each, for every material. This was to keep things simple for the student. In the real world bolts (BOLT1000) would not be ordered individually as they are in GBI, they would be ordered in lots. This was a level of complexity it was decided should be kept out for now. In future versions perhaps.



Material Group

GBI has 5: BIKES (finished bikes), RAW (raw materials), SFTY (safety gear), UTIL (utilities-basically the rest of hte accessories) and WHEEL (wheel assemblies).




GBI has 2 divisions, BI for Bikes and AS for  Accessories. All RM, SF, and FG fall under BI, while TG are under AS.




The TG are assigned to the “Standard Item” group, while RM, SF, and FG are assigned to “Make-to-Order.”



Gross Weight

Value set same as Net Weight for simplicity sake.



Net Weight

Value set same as Gross Weight for simplicity sake.



Weight Unit

Grams, ounces, etc



Purchasing Group

Who is responsible for purchasing the material. In the SCC version, GBI has just one purchasing group (N00 or North America) for simplicity. In more advanced exercises more purchasing groups can/are used.



MRP Type

Key that determines whether and how the material is planned. We chose “PD” or MRP so the material can be planned for when MRP is run, or it can just be ordered through purchasing.



MRP Controller

Necessary to create the material. It specifies who is responsible for material planning for the material. We created an MRP controller for GBI.



Lot Size

The system uses this when MRP is run to determine the quantity to be ordered. There are many possibilities for this field, we chose “Lot-for-lot order quantity” as it seemed to make the most sense with what we were trying to show.  



Procurement Type

Specifies if the material is procured in house, externally, or can be both. SF and FG are in house, while TG and RM are externally.



Planned Deliv. Time

Number of days needed to obtain the material or service if it is procured externally. For simplicities sake we set the value to 1, or 1 day. This is not entirely realistic, as this says that a material ordered from Grand Rapids, MI will arrive in Dallas, TX at the same time as a material ordered from Atlanta, GA.  This potentially will be changed in future versions of GBI.  



SchedMargin Key

Required field. Key that the system uses to determine the floats required for scheduling an order.



Period Indicator

Indicator specifying the periods in which the material’s consumption values and forecast values are managed. We choose “M” for monthly.



Availability Check

Specifies whether and how the system checks availability and generates requirements for material planning. We choose “02” or Individual requirements.


Plant data/stor. 1

Period Ind. For SLED

Period indicator for shelf life expiration date. We choose “D” for day. However this is not necessarily relevant as materials in GBI don’t expire.


Accounting 1

Valuation Class

Required field. Default value for the valuation class for valuated stocks of this material. We created Valuation Classes for each of our types of materials.



Price Control

Required field. Indicates if the material is valued using Moving Average Price (RM & SF) or Standard Price (FG & TG)



Moving Price

Required field. Price of the item. RM & SF only.


Costing 1

Costing Lot Size

Lot size of the costed object (such as a material or sales order) used in the product cost estimate.


 As you can see we ended up with 24 fields for the RM. Originally we had decided upon fewer fields to be used and once we got to configuration, configured it as such. As we moved through configuring the various processes and testing (to be discussed in future postings), we had to add a few more fields to make things work correctly. Deciding upon which extra fields to fill in was accomplished by a bit of trial and error, much use of Google, and use of the forum’s on SAP’s SDN website. As with all things documentation, after a change was made we had to make sure to go back and update it (We learned the importance of good documentation the hard way. This great story to be related in the future as well).


Different materials also have some different fields that are used. TG and FG, which are sold, have fields related to sales. SF goods, which are only used in house, have no purchasing or sales fields.


By beginning with just the minimum required fields, we left the possibilities open and endless for future exercises to be created, future processes to be shown, future complexities to be added, and for the use of GBI to be limited only by the imagination of professors, the GBI Steering Committee, and University Alliances.  


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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      I enjoy this series and look forward to the next adventure...
      Author's profile photo Corey Holstege
      Corey Holstege
      Blog Post Author
      Thank you.
      Author's profile photo Zal Parchem
      Zal Parchem
      Just a really good series on demonstrating not only your skills, but also the benefits by being an intern.  Keep sharing with the good posts, Corey.  I am looking forward to the follow-up with more info on "parts" from you...

      Regards - Zal

      Author's profile photo Corey Holstege
      Corey Holstege
      Blog Post Author
      Thank you Zal. If there is something you would like more information on, let me know and I would be more than happy to do an extra post going in-depth on it.