top of page


The Duplication Dilemma

It’s no secret that every maintenance department has duplication within their Item Master. While some companies have done a great job minimizing duplication through limited user input, strict operating procedures and defined data standards, others have struggled to address the issue. On average, we see duplicate items range from 15-20% within a given manufacturing site, while the percentage of commonality across multi-site organizations can sometimes range as high as 25-30%. Occupying a large portion of the MRO inventory value, duplicate items present a major concern that silently leads to inefficiency and unnecessary cost.

Cause of Duplication

As a common challenge that companies face, there is no one person or thing at blame for duplication. Manufacturing organizations often have multiple sites spread across large geographic regions, each with thousands of MRO spare parts on hand to keep operations running. In such large organizations, several different employees enter items into various software systems at each site, with little or no standard guidelines, and often in multiple languages. Over time, this lack of standardization causes materials data to become inconsistent, inaccurate and incomplete, resulting in duplicated information.

Effects of Duplication

Duplication can cost companies thousands, if not millions of dollars in unnecessary maintenance expense. As the item master becomes more and more polluted with duplicate information, equipment downtime and maintenance costs begin to rise, parts cannot be located, false stock-outs occur and maintenance workers scramble to expedite parts, meanwhile there is a perfectly good part sitting on the storeroom shelf.

Solution for Duplication

The only solution to remove duplication from legacy data is to implement a data cleansing project. During the cleansing process, legacy data is cleansed, standardized and enhanced to maintain one consistent format and nomenclature. As each unique item is cleansed, it is assigned a Corporate Part Number, which links all items into a “Virtual Warehouse”.

Once the data has been cleansed, standardized and enhanced, duplicate items can then be identified by direct match and fit-form-function similarity. Direct duplicates include two or more items possessing the same manufacturer name, part number and description, whereas fit-form-function duplicates include two or more items that possess different manufacturer names and part numbers, but have the same description.

As duplicates are identified, the Corporate Part Number from the original item is copied down to all of its duplicate records. Using this Corporate Part Number, the duplicate items are now identified and linked across the corporation. A file containing all identified duplicates is then sent to the customer for verification and instruction.

From the sample above, you will notice that the two records originally had different Stock Numbers and inconsistent descriptions. After being identified as direct match duplicates, both records now maintain one consistent description and corporate part number, while the old item numbers remain in tact for future reference.

As always, data cleansing can deliver significant cost savings and improved efficiency, especially when it comes to duplicate identification. For more information on I.M.A. Ltd. and our services, visit or contact

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Follow Us
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square

MRO Data Evaluation

No Cost, No Obligation

Submit a data sample today to learn the current condition of your Material Master and discover the potential cost savings hidden within. Receive actual before & after samples of your own data, cleansed and structured to industry best-practice standards and formatted to your enterprise system.