Does your data give you a competitive edge?  Or is it a mishmash of half truths compiled from various sources, providing an incomplete view of the situation at hand?

Collecting and using clean data in the aftermarket parts business is often tricky.  Most companies utilize multiple types of software (each housing its own master data) to help accomplish specific goals.  Financial, customer relations management, enterprise resource management, and warehouse systems are just a few examples.  Often times, these systems are not connected.  So when vital information is updated in one, the change doesn’t translate to other areas of the business.  Duplicate, inconsistent and inaccurate data can cripple success.

A master data management (MDM) solution provides a single point of reference for all of the dispersed data a company may have.  When set up correctly, it acts as the spider in the middle of a web by controlling the information that comes and goes from different environments and synchronizing it to ensure conformity. It understands the relationship between the data in each of the systems and acknowledges that some attributes (like factory costs and lead times) are best maintained at the local level.  It cross references the attributes, then cleanses and validates the information to provide an accurate and complete picture of customers, suppliers and products.  By creating these “golden records“, the management team, users and customers can easily access and interact with a single, definitive and authoritative source of truth for the company.

Access to accurate information like this is crucial.  Without it, core processes are impaired causing inefficiency, unforeseen expenditures, and lost revenue.  Here’s a simple scenario of what can happen without a proper MDM solution in place:

A pricing specialist updates the price of an item in the company’s price management application.  Because the item identifier in the price management application doesn’t exactly match the same item in the billing system, the billing information is not updated and customers are charged incorrectly.  Once the problem is identified, time (and therefore money) will be spent sifting through the various systems to rectify the error.

This may seem trivial, but the impact is compounded with every minor mistake made by hundreds of people throughout the world as information is input into disparate systems.

Strategic business decisions are also hampered by dirty data.  Think about it.  If incorrect information is unknowingly pulled to run reports on the state of the company, then all subsequent actions meant to ensure the company’s success will be based on false intelligence.  On the other hand, an MDM solution helps maintain high-quality master data that can provide a competitive edge. The better data found in golden records makes it easier to:

  • Enhance transparency and manage risk
  • Improve business performance
  • Acquire, retain and upsell customers
  • Plan for the future

Don’t base your success on ambiguous information.  Start questioning the data you are given.  Where did it come from? Is it correct?  Lift some stones and dig for answers.  You may be surprised at what you find.

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