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Who is the owner of Material Master?

Sometimes I wonder how many implementations you completed, one needs to brush up on designing of material master before getting into a new implementation project, no matter his/her of experience level.


Every time a transaction run with financial postings, financial account determined based on valuation class in material master, triggered by a movement type with automatic account determination process.

So, here’s a simple explanation -Who is the owner of material master in spite of the same material number/code used by business in a module/in all modules.
Who is the owner 1.jpg

Material Master!!!!!!!!!!!
Very well in default attracted to Material Management module where it is comprises with other modules data too as required by business scenarios ie….Finance  & Controlling , Sales & Distribution, Quality Management, Production Planning and Warehouse Management etc. Based on material properties with different characteristics and how material behave to business on inventory and accounting, the material type determined to use with standard material type or custom material type.

Precisely material master available with user departments like Basic data , Purchasing, Sales, Work scheduling, Accounting, Classification, MRP(For Materials planning and control), Production resources/tools, Costing, Storage, Forecasting, Quality management, Warehouse management, Plant stocks, Storage location stocks  and based on material properties to business these user departments on material type and later material are created.

In our day to day business consulting, materials are created with standard transaction code MM01 or materials are created through uploading tools by business. I refer back with my previous involvement for a large project where material creations have following process
1. Business end user search material list or catalog for his/her daily usage for transaction.
2. If material not available, then he /she fill the material request form
3. Material request form sends to central material creation officer with his/her manager approval.
4. On appropriate check and verification by central material creation officer and if he is happy, then he /she can new material code or upload file with custom transaction code for new material code.
5. Once new material code created in system, central material creation officer convey message to business end user.

Since different departments in a business work with the same material, but each department uses different information on the material, the data in a material master record is subdivided by user department. As we all know, material created by a user and material used by all different department users but, the question is who is the material owner in business – those who created material or those who use material on department wise or MRP controller or Buyer (purchaser).

Who is the owner 2.jpg

History of this blog:
In the last few years I happened to meet project managers, procurement business heads & business users of different organizations and tried to find the answer “who is the material owner” in your business. There is no satisfactory answer, so this blog is the result and inspiration for not getting the real answer. The few answers are:
I am SCM lead, so I am the material owner
I am creating material master, so I am the material owner
I am managing material procurement, so I am the material owner
I am managing material inventory, so I am the material owner
I am managing sales of material, so I am the material owner
I am managing payment for material, so I am the material owner

I tried and explained on the how business can deal to work by deciding material owner by using field 
“Lab/Office (MARA-LABOR)” in material master in Basis data-1 view. Individuals are blinking with this concept and difficult to believe by them, unless one is to work and use this field!

Decision process in an organization to find the owner of a material:
Every department in the business has a stake in one or more processes for a material. Groups of individuals for each department usually share in—and “own”—the activities for each department which make up a process. Single individual who is ultimately responsible and accountable for the effective working of the process is known as the process owner but not material owner. The process owner is the immediate supervisor or leader who has control over the assigned process to his/her but entire processes from beginning to end are controlled by material owner.

Is the owner of a raw material different to an owner of a spare part-different to a finished material? Why is it different?
It is the organization question and decision who own the material master. It may be depends material types where a material are stored in a physical location with significant naming conversion or based on a particular process where all materials go through it. To complete a particular process, business may needs all material in one physical place/plant where raw material required for production process, spare part required for maintainace for equipment’s and finished material obtained. Later to complete the process, business needs packaging materials. So material owner decides based on to complete a process or material stored in stored in a physical destination.

What is the benefit of having a data owner?
Master data is an organization’s lifeblood, flowing through all vital departments. Bad master data is poison and managing bad master data without ownership creates poisonous environment with clogging operations, confusion on handling, prompting poor decisions and in the worst-case scenario, leading to jail time for business leads/business executives/end users. To avoid poisonous environment, a material master data owner is required for effective management of material master.

What does the data owner do?
Data owner will design and plan the approach with the activities which are necessary to attain the desired organizational objectives where business can have science of managing material flow including procurement, production, marketing, transporting, processing, handling, storing and distributing the materials.

With referring to the above information’s, business system can deal to work  by deciding material owner by creating  “Lab/Office(MARA-LABOR)” and assigning to material master in Basis data-1 view. The field Lab/Office in material master is known as Laboratory/design (engineering) office where this Key represents for the design office, laboratory or laboratory worker responsible.

Who is the owner 3.jpg

For certain case, the field “Lab/Office “in the material master record is used if the material is a chemical component but also the same field can be used for design and engineering purpose defining ownership of material master.

We have remarkable products like MDM and MDG – why just reduced a conclusion with one single field?

Universally, MDM (SAP Enterprise MDM) or MDG(SAP MDG/ECC or ECC-integrated MDG)  is an integrated data management tool for the maintenance, validation and distribution of master data where SAP MDG best suited for central master data management of SAP standard objects and fields which need to be distributed to SAP ERP, SCM& other systems of the SAP Business Suite and SAP MDM best suited for highly flexible data modeling capabilities allow for creating various data consolidation, harmonization and central data management scenarios within a heterogeneous system landscape.

Master Data Management is a technology/ application packages/tools enabled discipline of actively ‘Managing’ or ‘Staging” the data rather than ‘Maintaining’ it in each transactional system across the business organization where no individual carry the ownership of material master data!


Conclusion fiction:

Before concluding, the “Lab/Office “field will be used on the Material Master to identify the ownership of the material. The ‘Lab/Office’ field will be used for this purpose only and this is at Client level. If new ‘Lab/Office’ field values will be identified by Business Lead Users and given to the Supply Chain Team. The Supply Chain Team will add the new values to the system and may delete previous entries which are not required by business.

Thanks for your time to read my 3rd Blog. Also I would like to thank all my present project team members for their great encouragement and strong motivation.

Biju K

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  • Hi Bijay,

    Very nice blog. This is very useful to all module consultant. Try to post more useful blog like this. Thank you.



  • Hi Bijay,

    Very nice blog. This is very useful to all module consultant. Try to post more useful blog like this. Thank you.



  • Hi Bijay,

        Nicely presented and very informative. Thanks for sharing the valuable information. We didnt use / suggest the field to our clients till now.  Will make use of it in future!

    Thanks & Regards,


  • From your headline I would have expected more than just the conclusion "use the field laboratory to identify the ownership of a material".

    How do you decide who will be the owner? Might it be different for different material types? There are several concepts existing to cope with this. You do not really answer this question.



    • MH,

      Thanks for your input!

      In general, this blog only provide the real practical application solution to any business organization with all possible vital parameters. From the headline to end of discussion where both portions are interrelated and projected for all possible business scenarios.

      Consultants have versatile experience from different vertical industries and needs much more consulting skills to arrive for a specific solution. Yes, I agree that material type play vital role for a material and user departments needed for it but user department would not carry ownership for any material.

      Fair enough!!!!  You still agree to disagree, but in SAP there are normally at least 2 to 3 viable solutions for any business requirement!


      Biju K

      • Sorry Biju,

        you just say that one can use the lab field for maintaining the owner of a material master (which is in my opinion the only statement of this blog). This is a bit too less for justifying a new blog.



  • You start with modules (you start by mentioning them) and then go on to question who owns the material, which is a bit confusing.....

    Usually, I think it's a good practice to split material types between "owners". Even if everyone uses "paper" there is usually a department that handles "Paper" distribution and posts the consumptions in the system when it is handed to another departments.

    The most important issue for me is who should open each view of the material. The solution I use is a custom workflow, where each view is basically sent to a different user. Accounting view goes to Accounting, Warehouse View to Logistics, etc.

    • Joao Sousa,

      Yes, blog started with consulting experience on designing material with material type, how material posting triggers G/L account, material used in different modules ,material used in different user departments, business user on material usage and  material creation officer where ownership is a question mark for material master.

      Splitting material ownership based on material types create confusion on large size project where business have few material types with more than lakhs material master record.  Truly, unless one is work on large size project and use this field, he/she cannot accept importance of this field. Referring to your example: “Paper material” requested by requester (business users), “Paper material” purchased by Buyer (purchasing group), “Paper material” received by store keeper and “Paper material” used by business users where “Paper material” transferred between different user departments but who own the “Paper material”?

      For a single Material Mater, the ownership should not be distributed based on each view!


      Biju K

      • Why is i that important that someone owns the "Paper"? You fail to demonstrate that in your text, your argument is basically "You will know if you work on a large project".

        For me it's much more importante to make sure the person that fills each views details has the competence to do so. Someone who selects the valuation class should know the impact of the valuation class, insatead of a generic "owner".

        And you say ownership should not be distributed but dont say why. What is your argument against it? Because you say so is not an argument.

        • Joao Sousa,

          Thanks for your input!

          Good that this blog title is catchy and has much more impact!

          In general this blog provides maximum possible real thought who owns the material master record universally but in your case, if you allow much important to each view and your business agree, then be happy!


          Biju K

          • Bijay Kumar Barik wrote:


            In general this blog provides maximum possible real thought who owns the material master record universally (...)

            No, it does not. It does not even touch the essentials of "who should own a material master".



      • Dear Bijay sir,

        1stly nice blog, but I wanted to take this opportunity to express following -

        many time I wanted to have interaction with you in some SAP MM doubts but since you have not added/followed me in your circle, I was not able to interact/send direct message with.

        Please add-or-follow me (anyways)so that sometime I can send you direct message

        Because you are answering the queries to the 'Pint"

        Please do the needful this time!!!!!

  • Biju sir,

    Very informative, and is it possible to track the PR's, PO's If we maintained this field in material master by department wise, instead of maintaining Requirement tacking number in PR. (means presently we are maintaining dept's in requirement tracking number in PR by z-table).

  • Dear Mr. Biju

    Warm greetings form Brazil.

    I really enjoyed "the fight for material ownership" picture, specially the purchasing hat. This is a very eye-catching subject. I liked you tip. I'll probably use this "Lab./Office" field to distinguish material ownership.

    Best regards,


  • Hello Biju,

    Subject of SAP WARROOM!

    However, Well crafted and Nicely touched with simple suggested approach....expection was more from title though!

    Suggest, to focus on following aspects:

    1. MDG is well approach provided by SAP, especially useful for large organisations with multi SAP instances incl. various business suites.

    2. Ownership differs due to various business reasons..all respected and can not be challenged...since itis business specifics and controlling practices in place. MDM being used by many as a best controlling practice to avoid duplication...ownership is bit later.

    3. Phases plays role too....Pre Go Live (Data Migration Phase), After Go Live, BAU, Archiving phase (design change, Product closure etc.)

    Hope this may help to strengthen the BLOG. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Best Regards


  • Dear Bijay, all

    The fact that this has generated good discussion indicate that issues such as 'ownership, accountability' with the content of the master data is quite high in the minds of consultants.

    More so, in global organizations where we have a shared global SAP instance, I guess.

    In terms of fixing responsibility of data, we have some attributes such as Purchasing Group, MRP Controller, Production Scheduler that SAP has already provided.  These fields map the responsible individual for the content / parameters for the specific plant.

    Probably, this Lab Office field can be used to indicate the 'responsible' person within the Master data team for this material attributes defined at the global level - say description, Material Group, UOM etc..



    • Mani,

      Thank for your support for catchy title of this blog. Your feedback one is very helpful and encouraging ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you again.


      Biju K

  • Hi Biju,

    Can be used, but need a careful decision in using standard fields for other purpose like this.

    I would recommend to have new cusomized field (configurable) in basic view for identifying owner like plant, Market or region , which can also be used as a check authorization parameter.


  • Hi Biju.

    This enhanced blog is very good. It will be very useful to all consultants. Now this blog got full strength. Keep it up your service.



  • In a Nutshell, Material Master essentially is a Central Master where we have different stream folks engaging in maintaining data for ex., Procurement, Commercials(read SD), Manufacturing (Read PP Views and Quality Mgmt), Warehouses (WMS)....where as Basic Data 1 and 2 are used across all departments based on the Business fit. There is no One Owner as you rightly pointed out (many streams are involved isn't it?), in Fact I was involved in a Data Migration and we had this Material Master Position Paper which was the Key document as to which views are handled/maintained by which teams and so on and so forth. My 2 cents:-)

    • Anil,

      Thank you for your appreciation and your understanding the key agenda.

      Waiting for more  recognition but I know it will take a long time ๐Ÿ™‚


      Biju K

  • Hi Bijay Sir ,

    This blog is really informative .you can also explain about the central repository of the master data concept with this blog .

    its my only suggestion instead of "I " , a generic term can be used to define the own of material master under the subject of "History of the blog ".



  • Hi Bijay Sir,

    Wow!!  Best Impressive past is its Headline ,it creates curiosity to read it and its very useful to better understand the MM. Try to post the blog related with tax process .

    Many thanks for sharing information !!