Catalogs are customizing objects in SAP ERP that are used mainly in the PM, QM and Classification modules to record and manage structured information.
A certain set of catalogs is delivered with the SAP standard system, most importantly the catalogs 1 (Characteristic attributes) and 3 (Usage decisions). These are used for the calibration process in the QM module and are the only ones that allow valuation of codes directly within a selected set.
Catalogs consist of code groups, which can be added using transaction QS41. Code groups, again, consist of a set of codes. Codes are the elemental objects of catalogs, representing one piece of data – basically, a value or a string of text. In the following example, the code group QM-G1 (General task for customer complaint) in the catalog 2 (Tasks) contains a set of codes that represent actions that can be performed by customer service.
You can use catalogs in several different ways in the SAP ERP system. The most common use is to create structured documentation in Notifications. To be able to select codes from certain catalogs in notifications, you have to assign a Catalog Profile to the Notification Type in customizing.
Another very important usage scenario is the QM calibration process. Selected sets that are created from the catalog types 1 and 3 are used for this, because of their additional attribute “valuation” that can be maintained for each code. It will define if a usage decision was accepted (i.e. the calibration was successful) or rejected (the object has to be fixed before it can be used).
A third major use case is the use of catalogs in the classification system of SAP ERP, as so-called catalog characteristics. To create a catalog characteristic, you can link a classification characteristic to a selected set via the “Values” tab in transaction CT04.
Once this assignment is made, you will be able to select codes from the given selected set during classification of an object with this characteristic.