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Should I use Item Variants?

  • 1.  Should I use Item Variants?

    Posted Sep 20, 2019 03:22 PM
    I have an assembly (Item 123-1) I sell that gets put together from several commercial items we purchase.  Depending on the customer, one of the parts in the assembly (Item 123-1-1) is 120 volts AC or 24 volts dc.  The part is the same except for the voltage and this whole assembly is a sub-assembly for a larger product (item 123).  What is the best way for me to build up this subassembly in Business Central?  I'm looking at using variants but not sure that is the right way to go.  I want to be able to say build assembly 123-1 and at the time I go to purchase the parts required for assembly I can specify the AC or DC version of Item 123-1-1.

    Thanks for any insights you can offer!

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    David Duffy
    Global Glass Equipment Engineering
    Absecon NJ
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    Conference-BCNAVUG_200x200


  • 2.  RE: Should I use Item Variants?

    Posted Sep 23, 2019 07:56 AM
    Hi David,
    I would not recommend using variants in this situation. I am assuming that there is a potential cost difference between the two items based on the voltage, and even if there isn't now there is the potential in the future.  Based on the rule of fit, form, functionality, and cost I would recommend you setup separate BOMs based on the voltage of the sub component. Remember you could use phantom BOMs to simplify the process.
    Variants in NAV should be analyzed closely before being used, although thru SKUs you can have separate costs MRP does not allow you to have BOMs based on variants.  At Sign Zone we have had to do a customization to add BOM and Routing to the SKU and have MRP plan off the SKU' BOM and Routing.

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    Fred Holst
    Sign Zone LLC
    Brooklyn Center, MN
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    Conference-BCNAVUG_200x200


  • 3.  RE: Should I use Item Variants?

    Posted Sep 23, 2019 08:06 AM
    David

    I concur with Fred. Effectively, these are two different items with different applications. Two BOMs is the proper way to go.

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    Alfredo Zelaya
    Sr. Systems Analyst
    Megadyne Americas LLC
    Fairfield NJ
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    Conference-BCNAVUG_200x200


  • 4.  RE: Should I use Item Variants?

    Posted Sep 23, 2019 12:15 PM
    Hi Fred,

    Thank you, and others, for your replies.  My concern is that I will end up with just as many BOM's for an item as different parts I may have.  In other words Imagine I have a car and the model (Item) is Widget1.  If I proceeded as suggested wouldn't I need to create n-number of items (Widget1, Widget2, etc.) for all of the different options I might offer on my car?  Isn't there an easier way to have one item representing the model with the option of selecting the right component to use based on the options I select when purchasing?  Maybe I'm reading in to this too deeply but I'm concerned that I'll have an exponential growth of items based on providing small optional differences in the final machine type.

    Thanks again for your assistance!

    David

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    David Duffy
    Global Glass Equipment Engineering
    Absecon NJ
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    Conference-BCNAVUG_200x200


  • 5.  RE: Should I use Item Variants?

    Posted Sep 23, 2019 12:23 PM
    David, your right there is not an easy answer, however one possible solution would be a configurator.  This is not a small step, but there are a number of simulators out there for NAV that would allow the item to be configured when orders.  The easiest might be the SimCrest solution and the most sophisticated would be the E-Con solution.  Although I normally prefer the E-Con solution it may be that your requirements are simple enough for SimCrest.

    The other option would be to use the version functionality of the BOM, but that would be cumbersome especially if you are now or in the future looking to use MRP

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    Fred Holst
    Sign Zone LLC
    Brooklyn Center, MN
    ------------------------------

    Conference-BCNAVUG_200x200


  • 6.  RE: Should I use Item Variants?

    Posted Sep 23, 2019 12:45 PM
    David

    As Fred mentioned above, you can use a "Configurator". In the end, the configurator will generate a new BOM for every iteration you come up with. The good thing is that E-Con can be tied to the Sales module and you can now complete your quotes as you had originally inquired. If this is your business model, you need to generate a BOM for each iteration. Look at the ISV market to see the Pros and Cons of each offering.

    Good Luck!

    ------------------------------
    Alfredo Zelaya
    Sr. Systems Analyst
    Megadyne Americas LLC
    Fairfield NJ
    ------------------------------

    Conference-BCNAVUG_200x200


  • 7.  RE: Should I use Item Variants?

    Posted Sep 23, 2019 12:54 PM
    Alfredo,
    One small correction, E-Con can be configured to see if you have made this configuration before so it doesn't create a new BOM. However some users just have E-Con create the BOM on the production order rather than saving it, in that example it would in fact create a new BOM each time (on the production order)

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    Fred Holst
    Sign Zone LLC
    Brooklyn Center, MN
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    Conference-BCNAVUG_200x200


  • 8.  RE: Should I use Item Variants?

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Sep 23, 2019 08:02 AM
    Hi David.  Are you serial or lot tracking the voltage related sub-assembly?  You might be able to address the cost difference by using specific cost for that assembled component.

    If your folks have the discipline you could set up 1 BOM with the voltage that is most common and train your team to go in and change that component if necessary.  This, of course, depends on if your operators work inside of NAV.  If they are filling out paper copies then the admin can make the change as long as the item is on manual consumption.

    Cheers!

    ------------------------------
    Jason Nicolaou
    Engagement Manager
    Sikich, LLP
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    Conference-BCNAVUG_200x200


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