In retail, Master Data Management (MDM) plays a vital role. The products are moving fast from suppliers’ manufacturing unit to the warehouses, further transported to retailers’ warehouse and finally to stores, where customers buy the product. In MDM, it is required to define all the characters correctly in the system, including product description, barcode, vendor pack and warehouse pack quantities, MRP etc.
If it is defined correctly, product can be moved faster and be available on the shelf, on time, for sale.
There are several benefits
l Increase in Fill Rate and In-Stock, which is the backbone of retail to lead the sale
l Proper storage in warehouse and store
l Faster movement of goods
l Proper transportation
l Efficiency in distribution channels
l Accurate financial data
l Faster payment for suppliers
l Real-time analytics
l Smarter operations
Now the question arises,
what do we need to do to have
our MDM- Master Data Management accurate?
1. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): In today’s high-paced business environment, no one can afford delays. We need to have faster solutions and processes. Now we have different technology options available to make the process faster and accurate. EDI is one of the options, which gives enormous benefits to the retail business in minimising cost incurred in different heads like employee hours, fund transfer, in storage space etc. The technology brings speed by forwarding documents through a computer network, as this is faster than mails related to purchase orders, goods’ receipts, invoices, payment receipts and so on. Also, EDI brings accuracy by minimising the need for rekeying information among other benefits. With EDI, security is much ensured as in this system, information is less susceptible to interception and falsification. These aside, EDI brings the following benefits:
System Integration: EDI software can be interfaced with internal systems so that incoming data triggers applications and furthers automation of data processing.
Just in-time support: Speeding up communication enhances intercompany just-in-time operations, which significantly reduces inventory costs. Only the necessary items are shipped by the vendor and arrive directly.
Better Cash Management: EDI allows more timely and accurate invoicing and purchasing functions, too.
Customer Satisfaction: EDI allows an order to be received, processed and shipped, almost as quickly as it can be transmitted. Sharing information with customers helps foster better business relationships with trading partners.
2. Global Data Synchronisation:
It enables suppliers to publish their item data through a Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN) certified data pool to a central global location. A retailer data pool receives the data, which automatically feeds into the retailers’ internal systems from item creation or maintenance. Data synchronisation through the GDSN allows real-time item maintenance for specific fields. Provides accurate, standards’ based, synchronised data that reduces inefficiencies in the supply chain. It ensures dimensions are correct and stored at each vendor pack, warehouse pack and pallet levels.
Benefits it offers:
Data Synchronisation provides an automated method to synchronise item information with suppliers, according to global industry standards, by utilising the same format for all trade items and parties to improve accuracy. Synchronising data globally dramatically reduces time spent manually, feeding data and adjusting information, making it possible to focus valuable resources on the core business.
Corporation Management: GDSN simplifies corporate reporting, expands geographic retailer base, eliminates IT system redundancy, creates an opportunity for shared services, maximises retail exposure/product posting and reduces time spent on complaints/disputes.
Category/Promotion Management: Likewise, it improves visibility / stock level planning, simplifies and enhances category reporting, reduces product introduction lead time along with reducing product promotion lead time.
Administrative Data Handling: If implemented, GDSN eliminates need for cross reference tables for different item creation, reduces invoice disputes, streamlines the accounts receivable process, and it ensures fewer sales order defects.
Logistics: Simplifies order tracking, increases percentage of accurate orders, reduces return shipments, encounters fewer emergency orders, improves picking accuracy, optimises short-term planning and maximises truckloads.
3. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP): SOP makes life easier for everyone in the retail organisation. In retail, it is a must requirement to define step-by-step procedures for all the activities of item creation and maintenance, purchase orders, pricing, receiving, shipments, payments, returns, warehousing, transportation, inventory norms, planning, and so on, and get it approved by all the stakeholders. Hence, no one can raise any question when conflict arises.
As per my experience working with different organisations, if we define our procedures clear, SOP works on its own; we just need to follow procedures. For example, when an employee left a department or organisation, the new employee just needs to follow the process and can resume work with very little training.