Business Central Inventory/Sales Analysis – Item Group Dimension Code❓

I’ll be the first to admit that when I don’t locate a report in BC I will knock something up in Jet Reports or Power BI. Nothing wrong with that approach, as you often end up with something that has nicer visuals and better aggregation. However, when possible shouldn’t we push the boundaries with standard? When it comes to inventory or sales analysis what can we do? Finance have account schedules. Well, if you weren’t aware, inventory/sales analysis have a similar set of options. Search for “Sales Analysis Report” or “Inventory Analysis Report”. There are some good blogs for explaining the necessary setups for these – just search for “business central sales analysis report” to find them. Just think of account schedules but for item ledger entries/item budget entries. I’m skipping the basics in this post and attacking a specific scenario.

The part I want to focus on is shown below:

The “Item Group Dimension Code” is part of the inventory setup page. What does it do? Why should I use it? How can I maintain the data in an easier way? All relevant questions that I will try to address. My aim in this blog is to tackle the usage of this field and the relating data.

The first point where this could be used is when building a set of sales analysis line templates:

A user can create a view where item groups are aggregated to give a top level summary of performance or other metrics of their choosing.

If I choose the “Insert Item Groups” option I get the following error message:

This ties back to the earlier screen grab around the “Inventory Setup” field. But that is just a regular dimension code. How do I make it so I can tie that dimension back to data users recognise on the item? Surely it should be related to item categories or a different field? Maintaining both item categories and a standalone dimension is an admin headache if not tackled correctly. Or do I create something which is truly standalone and then expect a user to fill that detail in on an item record too? Such a predicament 🤔

In my case I have opted for the Item Category as the field of choice to flesh out what my dedicated “Item Group” dimension will have. I haven’t included it in my solution but I chose this field because it has a parent/child aspect which lends itself well to Dimensions values. The solution for any new items is to use Power Automate to create a default dimension for the item record when it is created. Any existing item records could be resolved with a variation on this or by using a more standard method like a configuration package. Check out this blog post to see how I solved this:

Nicely leads on to a further predicament. If you intend to use this feature then you need to have the dimension setup in advance of any postings. The current “Dimension Correction” feature of BC does not cover the item ledger entries – so all prior postings are out of scope unless corrective action, in another form, is taken. My suggestion would be to start it in a new sales year to avoid conflicts. Reason being that you can plug a sales/inventory budget into the data – very similar theme to account schedules with a budget vs. actual comparison.

This is exactly what I did. Created a new sales budget and then devised it against the new “Item Group” dimension determining an amount of sales per grouping.

Generate a sales analysis view and use the “Item Group” dimension

If you intend to use the budget area ensure you “Include Budgets” so that data pulls through as well. Note I have left the “Update on Posting” off as it can be a system overhead. Common practice is to have that running as a job queue entry.

Now that the “Item Group” dimension is setup it is possible to use the earlier page action we got an error on to flood the template with data:

Use the “Sales Analysis Report” to then throw together each of the elements:

Which produces a visual like below. Again, perform a wider search on the inner workings of the reporting capabilities. My aim was purely to show how to get the “Item Group” aspect working:

It is possible to apply some of the logic you’ve read here to the fields shown below. If we track back to the Sales Analysis Lines setup you can setup reporting based on the dimension values within:

*Customer Group Dimension Code and Salesperson Dimension Code

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