Monday, August 22, 2011

Changing Product Unit Groups

I ran into a situation where a large list of Products had been imported into CRM 2011, but the Unit Groups for many of them needed to be changed after the fact.  As many have discovered, even though the form customization options for the Product entity professes that the field is not flagged as “read only”, the field is in fact “read only” when Products are opened.

The workaround is fairly simple, but comes with some caveats:  export the records to an Excel spreadsheet with the option “Make this available for re-importing by including required column headings” selected.  You must export both the Unit Group field and the Default Unit field.  In spreadsheet form, you can alter the Unit Group and the Default Unit.  Now, here’s the caveats:

  1. The Default Unit must be uniquely named.  Multiple Units with identical names (in any Unit Group) will cause the import to fail, because it does not look for the Unit in a specific Unit Group.  The failure is because CRM cannot properly resolve the Unit, due to name duplication.
  2. Beware of any Price List Items configured to use the old Units configured for this Product.  I don’t know what CRM will do to you if you try to use the Product in a Quote/Order/Invoice after you change its Unit Group in this way.

When you import the changed data, you should notice that the modifications to the Unit Group (and Default Unit) values have been properly changed.

[Update:  Astute reader, Jevgenij, notes that the following Microsoft KB will also allow you to work around the problem using the Bulk Edit feature:  This is particularly useful for CRM administrators.  The process above, however, will work for anyone with access Product catalog maintenance.]