It is a category manager’s job to try to maximize profit from selling products within a specific category. This may be looking after a broad category such as ‘confectionery’ or they may focus closely on a more specific category, such as ‘snacking’. A category manager will analyze complex data collected on shopper behavior from a range of different sources, and then translate it into meaningful information. The category manager’s duty is to ensure that their company is providing the market with the products that consumers desire.
Retail Category managers love Excel. It is used for almost everything, and they perform much of the analyzing, lookup, data collection and decision making in Excel. When implementing Dynamics 365 we are often faces with large set of excel spreadsheets that needs to be imported. I have seen users import 8 different excel spreadsheets for importing products. This blog post is about how to simplify the process of keeping retail master data in single excel sheet and easily importing and updating products. For this, Dynamics 365 data management framework is used. One of the problems I often se uses are struggling with, is the issue that the source excel spread sheet is a single spreadsheet, but it needs to be imported into several data entities. For a retailer some of the most common master data entities are:
Description of data entity
Contains Product number, Product name and dimension groups
Released products V2
Contains most fields on the released product
Item – bar code
Contains the item barcodes used for scanning
Default order settings
Contains information like minimum purchase quantity etc.
External item descriptions for vendors
Vendors item numbers and descriptions
Product category assignments
The connection to the retail category hierarchy.
It is possible to create a single excel spreads sheet that overs all of these entities, and in a single run import or update the retail products.
So how to exactly do this?
I recommend creating two sheets. First one is a “read me” sheet, that explains the “template” sheet.
Use exactly the column names as described here. This will make the mapping between the columns and the data entity automatic. Here I also use color coding to show what entity each column mainly belongs to.
Released Products, Products
Jalla Coffee 500G
4001392 Jalla Coffee FILTER 500G
Jalla Coffee FILTER 500G
Jalla Coffee Original is a useful coffee that can be enjoyed on most occasions. A carefully selected mix of coffee types, mainly from Brazil, guarantees a round and full-bodied coffee with long aftertaste
Full item description
Should always be “product”
Item or Service
Name of the storage dimension group
Should last purchase price be updated automatically
Should cost purchase price be updated automatically
WHI(warehouse controlled) or, SRV(service)
Latest purchase price in local currency
Latest cost price Sin local currency
Default sales price in local currency
Weight of the product
Purchase item tax groups
Sales item tax groups
Grouping related to buyergroup
Base sales prices on purchase price ?
item model group
Purchase price quantity
Cost price quantity
Just a helping colum
Help column for DefaultLedgerDimension
Retail hierarcy name
Vendors item number
Vendors item name
Item – Bar Code, Released products
Item – Bar Code
Purchase under delivery percentage allowed
Purchase over delivery percentage allowed
Minimum purchase quantity
Default Order Settings
Maximum purchase quantity
Standard purchase quantity
Multiple purchase quantity
The template excel spread sheet columns should contain exactly the columns as listed above:
Then start building the excel spread sheet (this is the time consuming part). This can also be regarded as the “master file” for products. And mass update and mass import of products is done using this file. Remember that you can add more columns and also include calculated fields. Like in this case, the default dimension (used for financial dimension have the formula like =”-D30-320—“&B34 making sure that cell B34 is merged into the financial dimension.
In the data management workspace, create a import project, and use the “+ Add file”, and select the excel file by using the “upload and add”. Then select all the entities and what page in the excel spread sheet that should be imported.
– Select file– Select entity name– Select sheet lookup– Then repeat by select entity name and sheet lookup until all date entities needed are selected
After done this correctly you should have an import project with the following entities:
You should also click on the “view map” symbol if there are a warning, and just delete the lines where there are no mapping generated. Like what I have done here to the “Products V2” entity.
The mapping will be done automatically for you, and will only select the fields that is relevant for each data entity.
Your data entity is now ready to be used. I recommend to use the data management workspace, and select the import project and then “run project”
Then for each data entity I upload exactly the same excel spreadsheet :
And then click on the “import”. If there are any errors, then fix them in the excel sheet or make changes to the staging.
What we then have accomplished is to have a single excel spreadsheet that the category manager can maintain and work with, and it can uploaded(several times) into the import project. For trade agreement sales and purchase prices I normally recommend creating a separate excel spread sheet
Then the excel loving category managers will be happy, and they can import thousands of products in a very short time