For many asset intensive organizations the thought of material master data can be overwhelming. There are thousands, and in some cases hundreds of thousands, of items that require information normalized to a defined schema. That information can be a category, noun, modifier, codification, attribute labels and values such as size, type, and material...there is a lot to consider.
Not only do you need to understand the schema to which to prepare your data but you also need to know where and how to put the data. There are a multitude of variations with regards to the ERP and CMMS systems that exist today. Some focus more on the financial aspect of the organization while others focus on the operational side. Does that mean one is better then the other? Not necessarily. The best one is the system that best meets the needs of your organization. Regardless of which system you have chosen there are material master data limitations related to data population and search capabilities. Your short description may have a 30 character limitation while others have 40 characters. Can you fit all the information related to a part in a 40 character field? Is there an industry standard for populating the 40 character? Will I be able to find my parts when I need them?
These are all good questions. Our suggestion is to align yourself with a qualified Material Master Data organization that understands your needs and the specifics of your ERP or CMMS. Leverage a company who has a core competency of cleaning and preparing material master data. Many have gone to market offering data cleansing as an addition to their core competency services only to find that it is much more complex then they anticipated. Cleansing and governing material master data is not a part time job. It requires years of experience combining programmatic and manual efforts.
A few things to consider.
1. How long has the data company been in business?
2. Is data cleanse and governance their core competency or part of a host of other service offerings?
3. Do they have a schema that satisfies your specific data requirements?
4. How well do they know your ERP or CMMS?
5. Is a support team assigned to help you manage your data during and after the mass data preparation?
6. Do they offer a robust governance solution to ensure your new data integrity is maintained?
These are just a few things to consider. The reality is that transitioning your material master data from raw data to best-in-class can be overwhelming if you aren't aligned with the right partner. Take the time to make sure your partnership will be mutually beneficial. When you do the outcome is rewarding and will provide a great return on your investment.