Understanding the Dynamics 365 Product Catalog | Products

This is Part 4 of a 5 Part series on the Dynamics 365 for Sales Product Catalog. Read the Introduction here

A Product is some thing or some service you will provide your customers. Whether it is pencils or airplanes, life coaching or music lessons, Products are the heart of your sales transactions. This blog about the Product Catalog in Dynamics 365 will cover Products, Product Families, and Product Bundles. But how does the Product fit in the Product Catalog suite of entities?

Products

The Product is the focus of attention in the Sales Hub; it is the center of every Opportunity and QOI (Quotes, Orders, and Invoices).

The diagram above illustrates more extensive connections or relationships than which we have seen so far. Product has a child relationship to Unit Group (Required), Unit (Required), and Price List (Optional) which means you will fill out these fields on the Product record.

Product

Field Name Description
Product Structure* Field is not on the form but is set when Add Product, Add Family, or Add Bundle button is selected and the record opens

Choices are Product, Product Family, Product Bundle

Name* Name visible in lists and lookups
Product ID* Provides a unique value needed for processing
Parent Lookup to parent Product Family
Unit Group* In what quantities listed Product will be sold
Default Unit* Default Unit in which Product will be sold
Decimals Supported* Set if Product can be purchased in any quantity less than one. For example, allow customer to purchase 1.25 of the Product.
Default Price List+ See Default Price List section below
Subject
Currency+ Product can only be tied to one Currency.

Not on the Product form!

Currency. The currency defined for the Price List is automatically populated on the Price List Item record.

Product Type Appears on the Field Service tab if Field Service app is installed.

Choices are: Sales Inventory, Miscellaneous Charges, Services, Flat Fees

Quantity on Hand This field is not on the form but can be added to views (or forms if desired) and utilized through customizations (Power Automate, plugins, etc.).

*Required
+Optional

Default Price List

Default Price List is required on Opportunities, and Price List is required on Quotes, Orders, and Invoices. However, Product Catalog Settings can override this behavior and make the Default Price List not required by Opportunity.

Products

If this should be the case and the Opportunity doesn’t have the Default Price List set and the Account doesn’t have a Product Price List set, this is when the Product Default Price List helps out.

Product Family

A Product Family is a way to group Products together, apply similar characteristics or properties, and help you easily find Products in the Dynamics 365 system.

Products

The above diagram illustrates one possible approach in organizing a family of crackers. The four bottom boxes all represent crackers but have been grouped into two levels of distinction: wheat versus gluten-free and then by type/ingredients.

Products

If you need to parent or reparent existing Products (attach to the desired Product Family), the Product Family must be published, and the Product must be in a revised state.

Reparenting a Product will provide this warning:

Products

The Product Family must be published before reparenting or the following error will encounter:

ProductsNow that you have your Products inside a Product Family, you will notice a hierarchy icon next to the record in the list:

Products

When clicking on the icon, the following screen appears:

Products

You will also notice a View Hierarchy button on the Product Family record:

Products Products

Product Properties are not in scope of this blog, but I wanted to mention one of the benefits of using Product Families. You can add all the needed Product Properties at the Product Family level, and then when you add Products to the family, they will inherit the properties. Think of it as Product DNA that is passed down from parent to child.

Is it worthwhile to go through the effort to create families and place products inside them? My answer is yes, for many reasons.

Unorganized data is bad data. Product Families provide a mechanism to order Product data into logical categories which is better for visualizations and reporting. With a little creativity and ingenuity; views, charts and dashboards could be created to provide a strong sense of what, when, and where Products are being sold.

While using the Product Hierarchy, Products are easier to visualize when inside a Product Family.

If Product naming has changed over the years, it could be difficult to find individual Products. If that Product is inside a Product Family, you can find it faster, eliminating the frustration.

If Product Properties are used, it’s essential to utilize Product Families. As a programmer/developer/consultant, I follow the strategy of “Write once, use many times.” This also applies to setting up your Product Catalog. If you tap into Product Families and add Product Properties there, you only have to change it once. If you have separate Products that have similar properties, you will need to add or modify numerous times and might not get it exactly right for each Product or may forget a handful of Products.

Product Bundle

Products

Product Bundles are a nice way to group a selection of Products and then sell that as its own item. As we can see above, we may want to sell a Cheese and Cracker Bundle because so many customers buy it anyway, but in separate units. Selling in Product Bundles encourages customers to purchase more, but we can also provide discounts as a reward to buying bundles.

Unit Group and Default Unit are required, which means we need to create a Unit Group and a set of Units, specifically for bundles. Why? Most likely the existing set of Unit Groups and Units would not satisfy the quantities in which we would sell bundles. For example, “Pack” would not work for selling a bundle of cheese and crackers.

Business Scenario

Remember the business scenario list of how I will sell my products and services?

I sell products:

  • Crackers (of different types)
  • Cheese, block
  • Cheese, cubes
  • Cheese cutter
  • Cutting board
  • Cheese-making training videos

Product Example

When creating a new Product in the Sales Hub, notice that the Currency field is not present:

Products

(Default Price List becomes unlocked after saving.)

According to the Default Solution, Currency is an optional field on the Product entity:

Products

When I create a Product without a Default Price List, no Currency is assigned. When I create a Product and then assign a Default Price List, no Currency is assigned. What is the significance? We don’t have to worry about Currency and Products! The Price List will take care of that for us.

Go ahead and open up Products.xlsx and view how you might enter items in the D365 Product Catalog.

Products in Action

We have added several Products, Product Families, and Product Bundles to our Product Catalog:

Products

We have added Products to the C30 Price List as Price List Items:

Products

Discounts have been added to some of the Price List Items:

Products

We have created a January 2020 Order Opportunity:

Products

We have added Products to the Opportunity as Product line items:

Products

Notice the Extended Amount column. Line one and three have discounts applied.

Here is the Opportunity total amount:

Products

Product Gotchas

You can add duplicate Products

Products

The system will allow you to create duplicate Products with the same Unit Group and Unit unlike the Price List Item record. The Product ID has to be different, but everything else could be the same, so be careful.

Reparenting a Product will lose Product Properties

Products

If you have Product Properties for a Product that are not in the Product Family in which you will reparent, they will be overwritten.

Choose Unit Group wisely

When creating a new Product, choose Unit Group wisely because it locks after creation and cannot be altered.

Cannot publish more than one Product at a time

In order to utilize or consume a Product with Opportunities and QOI, it needs to be published, but you cannot publish more than one Product record at a time. Luckily, we have a couple of options here to make life easier.

We have the ability to publish an entire Product Family. We also have the ability to create a Product in a published state if the following setting is enabled in the Product Catalog Settings:

Products

Key Learnings

What can we derive from reviewing the above information?

You only need to add Product once

Even though you may provide one Product in many different quantities and in different Product Bundles, you only have to add the Product once. That one Product can be re-utilized through different Product Bundles and re-quantified through Price List Items.

Product is not locked down to Currency

We discovered a few things about Product and Currency. Currency is an optional field for the Product record type. More importantly, the Currency field is not on the Product form, and when a new Product is created, a default Currency is not set. From Unit Group, Unit, Discount List, Discount, to Product, Currency is either non-existent or optional.

There is one Product form for Product Bundle and Product

Here are the options when creating an item in the Products section of the Product Catalog:

Products

Yet the Product and Product Bundle form is almost identical.

Product Form:

Products

Product Bundle Form:

Products

Product Families organize and streamline your Products

When using Product Families, you can organize and visualize all your Products better, and you can apply Product Properties efficiently. You can also publish all Products at one time in that Product Family.

Product Bundles may need their own Unit Groups and Units

Because Product Bundles are, well, bundles of Products, you may need a different set of Units as “Each”, “Pack”, and even “Box” may not make sense or work with how you bundle items together.

Next in the Product Catalog series we will investigate Price Lists and Price Items. If you have any questions about Dynamics 365 for Sales, please connect with us.

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