MM (which stands for Materials Management) is one of two programs which are covered by this guide, the other being Promis. MM has an incredibly broad range of jobs which it can perform for you, and is not as easy to describe what it does.

Essentially, it is a database access and management interface, which means that you can use it to review and change the data in the MM database, which contains data not only on part quantities and locations, but incoming orders, outgoing orders, part data, controller information, product data, bills of materials and much more. It is possible through MM (given the right level of authorisation!) to review and change almost anything about the flow of materials through HP.

MM Quirks

MM has a number of quirks which take time to get used to. It is (fortunately given its complexity and depth) much more coherent than Promis. There are very few occasions when you need to use the [RETURN] key in MM, as it almost always requires use of the [ENTER] key. In case you aren't aware, the [ENTER] key is the bottom-right key on a standard QWERTY keyboard, whereas the [RETURN] key is the large key below [Backspace] and above [Shift] on the main block of keys on the same keyboard. Press the [RETURN] key when trying to enter data in MM and you will most likely be met with no response, but if you are then to realise your error and hastily hit [ENTER] it will behave as if you had never made the mistake.

Another quirk of MM is it's fixed screens. In Promis if you use one of the options to retrieve some data (for example an order listing for a vendor) and there is more than a single sscreen's worth of information then you can use the scroll bar on the side of the window to scroll back and view it. In MM, however, due to the way that the information is displayed, if you go past the info you want then you must start again from the top. This can be frustrating, and is defintely worth trying to avoid.

The MM Interface

MM has an enormous amount of functionality; there is almost nothing that the person withthe right authorisation can't do. Therefore, there are a very great number of screens from which it is possible to access a very great number of functions. For clarity's sake I will split the MM screens available into two types. The two have different purposes; the first type, which I will refer to as a menu, is a screen from which you can gain access to the other type of screen. Click here to see what a typical menus screen looks like. The other type of screen available is referred to here either by name or as a functional screen. The functional screens are so called because they are the screens from which you can actually perform some function, such as retrieving information or changing data. There are two ways to get to the functional screens: you can either press the right sequence of function keys, by following the menu at the top of the screen, or you can enter the screen's name in the field at the bottom of the screen.

For example, I could press F6 F6 F2 to get to the screen "Review Recent Activity for a Part", or I could type its abbreviated name REVIEWACTPART from any of the menus. I could also use a combination of approaches, by typing the name of the menu immediately prior to 'REVIEWACTPART' (in this case REVIEWACTIVITY) and then pressing F2, but this is obviously far longer to type in. The reason it can be useful is that you can't count on the same sequence of keystrokes to get you to the same place, as there are often many routes to the same menu. It is therefore often quicker just to type in REVIEWACTPART than it is to press function keys until you recognise a menu.

Comments to Nik Makepeace