Identifying the Value of Master Data

Previously, I’d talked about creating data as part of a data migration project in order to ensure that the, newer, target system had sufficient data in order to operate efficiently.

Well now that this system is operational, a significant part of the new system’s business case is not being realized and it appears that insufficient master data is a major part of the problem. In fact, with the new workflow to help drive compliance, this missing master data appears to be making operations more inefficient – the new system has increased operational cost not reduced it.

In the legacy system, equipment spare part records were an under managed asset as the system was lacking functionality to effectively use the data. As a result this data was not managed with any rigor, not valued and therefore not maintained.

Now this ‘missing’ data is causing process efficiency issues. The challenge is how to address this missing data in a timely manner. To capture all the necessary information the equipment would need to be researched, and the manufacturer’s recommended part lists cross-referenced and the appropriate master data established. This particular situation could take many months of effort requiring skilled operational personnel, which would take them away from their front line duties. That’s a significant cost and difficult ROI given that you have no way of knowing if and when the new spare part data would be used.

So our approach is three pronged and focused on the data team adding value to the operations team while making minimal requests on their time:

  • Identify sure bets for a quick win – review purchasing records associated with Work Order history to identify materials frequently procured for specific equipment. Then work with the operations team to determine whether these frequently bought items should be setup as spare parts.

  • Stop the rot – New equipment is being setup without any controls that require spare parts to be added – so the problem is not getting any better. Establish a process within the business to ensure that new equipment is created along with the manufacturer’s recommended part lists.

  • Maintain what we have – Replacement or obsolete parts are not being identified and so the quality and accuracy of the existing data is decaying over time. Again, work with the business to ensure that replacement parts are added to the master data and obsolete items are removed.

But first we have to determine the cost of not having this information and then develop a baseline set of metrics to demonstrate the positive impact this activity will have on operational efficiency. Once we have a true measure of the value that this project will bring, we can determine what the appropriate level of investment is to support this.

Once we have that measure of value calculated, you can be assured that we will be marketing the hell out of this to demonstrate the value that Master Data Management brings to the business!