Alternative Items in Dynamics 365 for Operations

Posted on: January 11, 2017 | By: Jarrod Kraemer | Microsoft Dynamics AX/365

Authored by: Rosey McAdams

Microsoft Dynamics 365 uses the term alternative item to represent what many companies call a substitute item for a product.  Basically, the alternative item functionality provides a means to setup the system to automatically change a part number on a customer sales order to the recommended item that is identified in the alternative item field.  You may be thinking what scenario would prompt my business to need to set up an item in the alternative item field?  Well there are probably several reasons why a company may what to setup an alternative item on a product in Dynamics 365.  Below are a couple of common scenarios that I have experienced working with clients.

The first scenario is when a company has two items that are completely interchangeable – if you run out of inventory on item A you would like to use item B as if it was the product that was ordered.  In this scenario from the product master we would setup the alternative item, B, on item A to be used when there is nothing in inventory.  If the two items are truly completely interchangeable you would probably setup the reverse alternative item setup with A as the alternative item for B, so that no matter which product is being ordered, the system will suggest that you sell the other if you have nothing in inventory. 

A second scenario would be if your company has completely substituted an item for another item.  Meaning, you used to sell product A, but now you no longer will be selling product A and instead will only be selling product B, and this product is a replacement for product A.  In this case we would want to setup product B to as an alternative item for A, with the setup to always use the alternative item.  You may find that before you want to transition item A to item B you would like to get rid of your inventory on item A.  In this case you could first setup the alternative item to be used only when there is nothing in inventory when we did above, this will automatically start to suggest the use of item B when inventory runs out on item A – this will help you to ensure that before you completely switch over to item B you have used up all of your inventory on A.  Once you have used up all of the inventory you can switch the parameter over to always use the alternative item – so to never make the mistake of selling item A.

Now that I have described a couple of scenarios and how you would implement them in Dynamics 365, I am going to walk through the simple step by step setup and application of alternative items in.

1)     Navigate to the Released products list page

2)     Select your base item

3)     Navigate to the Sell tab

4)     Choose Never, Always, or Nothing in inventory in the When to use field.

5)     Select your alternative item.


Now that we have setup an alternative item for our base item, the screen shot below depicts what happens when you try to enter a sales order for the base item. 

When you click okay the item number on the sales order will now be the alternative item instead of the base item. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, I hope this was helpful in answering any of your questions regarding alternative items in Dynamics 365.  For additional information or help with alternative item setup please feel free to reach out to us at or (312) 345-8817. 

All the best! 
Logan Consulting

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