AX Tips

Microsoft Dynamics AX Predefined Variants: Many Options with Fewer Product Numbers

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Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 provides an efficient way for managing product numbering when similar products are required with different features from the same base item. The standard names for these options in AX – configuration, size, colour, and style in RETAIL – offer a glimpse into their use.

The reduced SKUs offer advantages such as simplified filters and searches for customer order entry, purchase order entry, and efficiencies for manufacturing engineering personnel creating products in AX. Additionally, users can more quickly locate key items rather than hunting through extended lists with variants providing the additional detail required.

The decision to use Dynamics AX’ predefined variant capability is dependent upon the details required by the product number. The settings that can only be selected by product include:

  • The inventory model (standard cost, FIFO, weighted average).
  • The product name and search name (name alias look up)
  • The Inventory Unit of Measure
  • The Financial Dimensions

If these selections are the same for all options of your product, then the Predefined Variant may work for you. The settings that can be controlled by variant include:

  • Cost by variant: On the Released Products form, in the Manage Costs FastTab, find the Use cost price by variant checkbox. With this option set, on the Action Pane, from the Manage costs tab, in the Set up group, select ITEM PRICE for the option of setting Cost, Purchase Price or Selling Price by variant.
  • Planning settings: (coverage group, min/max, safety stock, lead time, etc.) Planning settings can be controlled by variant. On the Released Products form, from the Action Pane, Plan tab select ITEM COVERAGE. From the Item Coverage form, navigate to the General tab and select override from the default coverage group settings as required. You can also select default Master Scheduling planned order vendors by Variant here.
  • Trade Agreements: Purchase or Sales pricing can be controlled by Variant, including the option to have a default/ back-up price without a variant that applies unless a variant price is posted. The drop down by Variant opens up for access automatically for any of the four variants activated on an item.

To activate variants, go to Product Information Management and from the Setup group, open Product Dimension Groups. Product Dimension Groups can be created for any number and combination of variants. The Product Dimension Group can be used to control whether trade agreement price searches include the variant by selecting the check box For purchase prices or For sales prices.


Microsoft Dynamics AX - Product Variants Img 1


When a Predefined Variant is added in All Products and Product Masters (globally) or Released Products (company specific), the drop down list will display existing variants simplifying the task of keeping variants consistent. Multiple Product Dimension Groups can be created to keep the drop down lists from overlapping between product families.

A checkbox on the product in All Products and Product Masters allows you to Generate Variants Automatically, avoiding the need to release variants after they are added to the Product Dimensions list on the Action Pane.


Microsoft Dynamics AX - Product Variants Img 2


As you can see, the functionality provided in AX can assist in providing a more manageable product listing by reducing the overall number of product numbers in your catalog. Be sure to check out variants if you have products that have subtle differences like configuration, style, size or colour. Your product manager will definitely thank you.

For more information please contact Ryner Rolinski at or Download our Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Preview Brochure


Microsoft Dynamics AX R3 Preview
Microsoft Dynamics AX R3 Preview Brochure



Ryner Rolinski, Sr. ERP Consultant, BDO Canada LLP

Ryner is an Operations and Supply Chain Management professional with twenty years of experience in manufacturing and distribution industries. In the last ten years, Ryner has spent his career assisting clients in improving operations through enterprise resource planning (ERP) software implementation.



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