MB2-717 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics for Sales) – Product Catalogue (Product Families and Properties)

As I prepare for my Dynamics 365 certification in sales (MB2-717), I am creating blog posts based on my revision. I hope that collectively these posts may prove useful to anyone also preparing for the MB2-717 exam. In this post I will review product families and product properties.

Product families enable companies to group related products or product bundles together. For example, a supermarket might use product families to group canned products, fresh products and such like together. This helps with sales analysis and definition of product properties across all products in the family. It is possible to create a hierarchy of product families. In my example of supermarket products, canned goods might be made up of further “child” families. Maybe canned vegetables, canned fish, canned meat etc.

A product property is used to describe any common quality / attribute of a product. Examples of product properties might include colour or size. In the case of canned goods, a property might be “Low Salt”, the weight of the can or the language used to label the product. When a property is created it is always defined at the product family level.

How are product properties used within Dynamics 365? As a product is added to an opportunity the user will have the ability to enter values for the whatever properties exist for each products. And as the opportunity progresses in the sales cycle into quote, order and invoice the property values can be maintained.

Product Families

Product families and properties are created in the products section of the product catalog. (The product catalog can be found under settings in Dynamics 365.)


Clicking “ADD FAMILY” will load a quick create form that allows the creation of a new product family. Notice that you can create a hierarchy of product families by giving the family a parent. And that product families, like products can have a valid from and to date.


IMPORTANT:
Product families need to be created BEFORE you create your products! When creating a product, it can be associated to a family but once created this field cannot be changed. Meaning you need to map out your product family structure before creating any products. Once set the product family cannot be changed. The logic behind this is that the product will inherit properties from the family. (I’ll cover properties in a second.)

Tip:
As with products, product families start off with a draft status. It is important to remember to publish them to make them active.

When publishing, two options are available. You can publish the individual record or also use the publish hierarchy option, which would publish all products in the family.


Below you can see an example of how a family hierarchy might be used. In my example I have canned goods and that is made up of canned fish, meat and vegetables.


Product Properties

Product properties are created from the product family record, via the sub grid on the product family main form. When I create a product property it is given a name and description. It is then possible to decide if the product property is read-only, required or hidden.

Next we can define the data type. Possible options include options set, decimal, floating point number, single line of text or whole number.


The product family hierarchy can come into play with properties. Some properties maybe be common to all products in the hierarchy, these would be added to the parent family. Some properties would be specific to one child group. These would be added to the child family. Consider my canned goods example. All canned goods may have product properties to define the size of the can or if the product is low in salt. Meaning these properties would be added to the parent family of “Canned Goods”. But only canned fish would need an option to state if the fish had been line caught or what preservative liquid had been used. So these properties would be added to the child family of “Canned Fish”.

Below is an example of a product property. Notice I have said this property is required and that it is an option set. As my data type is an option set I have added some options. In the case of low salt I have just two options. “Yes” it has low salt or “No” it doesn’t!

I have also defined a default value. (Of “No” meaning the product is not low in salt.)


Below you can see that I have added a number of properties to my canned fish product family. Including a text field, whole number and option set. Importantly notice that the “Can Size” and “Low Salt” options have a hierarchy icon. This is because these have actually been defined on the parent family of canned goods.


Create Products

I covered creating products in a previous post so I won’t go into detail here. But notice that the product below has been assigned to a product family. I entered canned fish into the “parent product field”. As canned fish has a parent of canned goods, the names of both product families are displayed.

Tip:
The family field on the product form initially shows as parent product but having entered a product family the label name changes to “Family Hierarchy”. Notice that the field is read only, it cannot be changed.


Because I had predefined a number of product properties for the canned goods and canned fish, when the product is saved these properties are carried forward to the product properties of the newly created product.


NOTE:
A note on revising product properties might be appropriate at this point, if you need to add or change any product properties. You will need to revise the product family and then republish. When the family is published the property changes will be populated onto the products related to that family.

Products on the opportunity with properties

To recap the entire process …

  1. Create the product family. (or hierarchy of families)
  2. Add properties to the family.
  3. Created a product linked to the family.
  4. Publish the product hierarchy (Meaning the product families and the products must be published.)
  5. Assigned the product to a price list. (Don’t’ forget, you must always add your products to a price list before they can be used on an opportunity!)

Once all these steps are complete you can add the product to an opportunity. (Or other transactional records such as quote, order and invoice.) Below you can see that I have added the product to an opportunity and the properties option has become enabled. (The green tick indicates that the required fields have been entered, if anything is missing I’d see a red cross.)


Clicking edit on the product properties gives me the following dialog allowing entry of the properties I defined against the product family.


As preparation for the MB2-717 exam I encourage you create multiple product families, properties and products. Then add them to a price list to be able to see how this is shown on your opportunities. (Hands on practice is always important.)

Hopefully you will have found this post useful for your exam preparation.

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