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Material Configuration Decisions for HxGN EAM

Important Install Parameter and Mutli-org material settings in HxGN EAM



May 2, 2023


Power BI for HxGN EAM

Walking into a project for an existing system always brings up the famous Forrest Gump line about life and chocolate. It’s a box of chocolates, alright and you sure don’t know what you are going to get. Decisions have been taken and configurations made by people who have long moved on from the company and sometimes the existing setup reflects processes and system capabilities that are years out of date. Documentation…Let’s just say that of all the customers I have worked with for over 20 years the number of those who had system documentation is in the low double digits.


"The Install parameters and multi-org settings in HxGN EAM control the base functionality of all application modules."

HxGN EAM is rightly considered to be the leader in the best-of-breed category in the EAM field. In addition to the breadth and depth of functionality it happens to be highly flexible and configurable even from the front end, by non-technical users. While some of the designs are apparent by looking at the screens, there are configurations that impact the system’s performance and process flows that are enabled through the Installation Parameters and Multi-org security sections.


Because the system comes preconfigured and can work out of the box without modifying these settings, sometimes customers are not even aware of their existence and importance. Even if these were reviewed and setup correctly during an initial install, it is good business practice to review and adjust them periodically. Business needs and processes change, and the system vendor, Hexagon periodically introduces new install parameters and entities. Side note: it really pays to review the release papers for system updates. They contain information about all the new functionality, including these new install parameters and entities that are being introduced. The system will work just fine without them, as it has to that point, but you might be missing on some interesting functionality.


The Install parameters and multi-org settings in HxGN EAM control the base functionality of all application modules. In this article we will focus on the ones that have significant impact on the materials management process. Except for a couple of install parameters, all of them can be modified at will. Multi-org security is another matter. Technically you can kind of reverse a multi-org setting but it requires some technical expertise and potential configuration and clean up.


Materials Installation Parameters for HxGN EAM


"PRICELEV - The is possibly one of most important material install parameters. It controls whether the price for a given part is defined at the header level (all stores across the company will have the same price for the part), or whether it can vary across storerooms."

Version 12 of HxGN EAM has 618 system install parameters of which about 40 are important for materials functionality. It also has 117 org-specific install parameters, 10 of which affect the materials functions. The document accompanying this article highlights these install parameters. We will bypass some of the more obvious ones, such as default description and focus on the parameters that affect important system behavior.

HxGN_INSTALL_PARAMETERS_V12
.xlsx
Download XLSX • 73KB


PRICELEV - The is possibly one of most important material install parameters. It controls whether the price for a given part is defined at the header level (all stores across the company will have the same price for the part), or whether it can vary across storerooms. Depending on the selection, different tables get populated with pricing data and the information is displayed on different part screens. It has far-reaching backend implications and as such is one of the few parameters that must be defined prior to system installation.


The options are S for store, meaning each store gets to define its own price for a part, and P for part, in which case the prices are visible on the part record view and are the same across all storerooms. The default option is S and the technical information by the vendor states that it cannot be changed. That is correct. Kind of.


We were recently working with a customer that decided to implement materials into a long-established instance of HxGN EAM. During the analysis process we discovered that PRICELEV was set to P, which contradicted the main customer requirement. Luckily there were only a few records in the system, and we were able to clean them up through the backend and change the install option. Side note: install parameters that are marked as fixed and not updatable through the frontend can still be modified with a script by cloud and on prem customers. It is however very important to be aware of the implications of the change – they are read only for a reason. If you are not sure, do ask.


PRICETYP – Price Type determines how HxGN EAM calculates the value of the inventory in the system. The most used option is A, for Average price. LIFO and FIFO stand for Last-In-First-Out and First-In-First-Out, both standard accounting inventory valuation methods.


The very first question I’m usually asked by customers is how HxGN EAM calculates Average price. The formula is as follows:


Average Price = (Current Inventory Value + Receipt or Invoice Qty * PO or Invoice Total Cost)/Total Quantity on hand


It is important to note that this is just the default option and individual parts can have a different price type at the stores, and these price types can be changed. It is technically possible to change the price type for a part even after there have been transactions against it. This will naturally affect the inventory valuation for a storeroom.


HxGN EAM is a sophisticated system, and it recognizes that price type change can potentially affect the value of a part and as such the transaction needs to be captured. When you change the price type of a part or stock item, the system generates two transactions: one, transaction type MPTC for Manual Price Type Change Because a change in price type is likely to change inventory valuation, a second transaction of type CORR for Correction is registered for the resulting inventory value change caused by the price type change.


AUTOPNUM – When set to YES, the system will automatically generate the part code for a record using a numeric sequence starting at 10000. Do yourself a favor – turn it on. Some business consultants might try to convince you that you need to have an “intelligent” part code. Years of experience and best business practices disagree. Even if you have an already existing “creative” master part list, it is possible to clean it up and re-load with auto-numbers or you can make changes through the back end and merge the existing part code with a newly generated one. The latter is a technical task and requires significant technical expertise.


INVMETH – Defines the default re-order method for the storerooms. The options are '-' for Reorder level, '+' for On demand or 'M' for Min/Max. This just provides the default and unless the screens are modified users can still choose a method other than the default one. Reorder level and Min/Max are self-explanatory. On demand is a bit different – it means that the part will only be included in the Low Stock Requisition if there is a requisition for it from another storeroom, or if it is reserved for an activity of a WO or reserved from the material list of a PM. In a word, it will only be auto reordered if there is an active demand for it.


MANUPART – This is another parameter that ideally should be set when a system is first implemented. When set to YES it identifies the parts by the Primary Manufacturer and the Manufacturer part number. It is rarely enabled but can be useful when the customer uses a third-party purchasing vendor. These companies often identify the parts they procure by the manufacturer data. The default option is NO, and the parts list can still be searched by manufacturer part number using the Global search option the Parts Dataspy. Changing the parameter mid-stream is possible but the change needs to coincide with a consistent data clean up effort.


MREORDER – The parameter only applies if min/max reorder method is used for a part. The options are BELOW and AT and are self-explanatory. A common example for the use of BELOW is the scenario where there is no need to have more than 1 of a particular part on hand. In such case the min and max level will be set to 1.


RTNANY – The code stands for Return Any and refers to the controls in place for returning parts back to the storeroom from WOs and Equipment. If set to Yes, a user can return a part from any WO, even if the part was never issued for the WO or its associated equipment. A No setting enforces the rule that a part can only be returned from a WO/equipment where it has been issued before. The second option obviously supports more accurate material cost data for the work module but does require a more rigid and defined process.


RQDEFSUP – This install parameter is found on the Options tab for an organization and as such is org and store-specific. It affects the default supplier that will be populated for a given part when creating a manual requisition. The options are STORE, SUPPLIER and leaving it blank which acts the same as SUPPLIER. If STORE is selected, the preferred supplier for the part from the storeroom will populate as a default option on a requisition line (if no supplier is selected at the header). If set to SUPPLIER, the preferred supplier for the part, from the Supplier tab will be the default. This is important to set up if the storerooms will be using their own suppliers. If, on the other hand, a company has a common supplier purchasing policy, then it is more appropriate to use the SUPPLIER option. In either case, this is just the default option for the requisition line and can be changed manually if needed.


Multi-org Settings for Materials in HxGN EAM


Multi-org security allows customers to define which entities of HxGN EAM will be org-specific and which will always belong to the (*) Common org and available for all organizations. This is very important decision, especially in the case of a coupe of materials related entities that we will discuss.


Unlike Install parameters which can typically be updated depending on the business needs, multi-org setting, when enabled (checked) cannot be reversed. Well, they can. The caveat being that it depends on the entity, the level of existing data and the ability to write technical scripts. In a word, this is not something that can be done by even advanced users and fortunately cannot even be accomplished through the front end. Side note: I feel like this goes without saying, but I will say it anyway: If you decide to reverse an enabled multi-org entity, do it first in a non-production environment. Sometimes the results can be not quite what was intended.


Keep in mind that even if you manage to reverse the multi-org setting for an entity, you will likely be left with the old data, unless you are willing to invest in a data clean up effort, which depending on the entity will require significant technical scripts. And testing.


The two main entities that affect materials management in HxGN EAM are PART (for parts) and COMP (for suppliers).


PART – The entity controls the master parts list setup. If enabled for multi org it essentially means that each organization and its storerooms can define their own parts that will not be visible and available for other storerooms from different organizations. The main implication here is that effectively a company loses the capability of having a common parts master list across the enterprise and leveraging buying and parts replenishments from company storerooms. Each organization and its storerooms effectively operate as a silo. It is still possible to define common org parts in such a scenario, but the default data entry option is the org one and it will not be possible to use the parts store-to-store transfer capabilities of the system for multi org defined parts. Organization is a primary key in the R5PARTS table, which means that the same part number can exist in multiple organizations (and storerooms).


It is possible to reverse the multi org setting with a script, but it will leave all the org specific part records. A data clean up project which involves parts review and technical scripts can resolve the issue. Side note: We have done several of these projects. The result is worth the tedious review process and the nail-biting experience of running the scripts. It is however not a trivial undertaking.


COMP – The Company entity controls the Suppliers master list. When multi org is enabled, HxGN EAM allows users to create org-specific supplier records and even associate them to a parent supplier, typically the (*) common org one. Organization is a primary key, which means that the same supplier code can exist in multiple organizations (and storerooms) and can match the parent common org record.


Enabling multi org for suppliers does not have the grave implications of the PART entity, provided the nomenclature is standardized. However, these days most companies maintain a common vendor list which simplifies purchasing, allows for easier price bargaining, and does make for easier integrations.



The next article in the series, Clean up the Act - Data Clean up Strategies and Tips for Materials in EAM will look at the most common materials data issues and the common approaches to get a handle on the data. Our focus will be on HxGN EAM.



Krassi Mihaylova is a project manager and business analyst at Cimmira with over 20 years of experience in the EAM industry. You can contact her at krassi.mihaylova@cimmira.com



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Krassi Mihaylova, PMP, Cimmira
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