Quality of Data – An igniter for efficient supply chain

CONTRIBUTION BY Charul Agrawal  SAP APO consultant AT BRISTLECONE

Everybody is talking about highly efficient strategies in supply chain, supply chain analytics, Optimization and what not. Ever wondered the nerve behind the above blocks, it’s the data that is fed into the system.

It turns out that the quality of the output (of the model) is highly dependent on the quality of the inputs; the data.

Today even the moderate supply chain systems are plagued by inconsistent, inaccurate and untimely data. Again as we operate in highly integrated environments the data quality issue cascades to several other linked systems. As a result organizations have to face capital loss without knowing the exact root-cause.

Data quality can be broadly categorized under following characteristics:

  • Accurate Data
  • Complete Data
  • Consistent Data
  • Valid

If a particular set of data satisfies above four metrics, it is said to be perfect.

Challenges that organizations face with respect to maintenance of data quality are:

  • Maintain data – Chances are that the data is initially maintained while implementing the application or module and thereafter only delta transfers get triggered keeping the baseline data untouched.
  • Communication gap across various units – In supply chain network data flows across various integrated applications so a set of data which is actually ok for one team may not be really good for another, however lack of communication may worsen up the scenario.
  • Untimely receipt of data- this is another critical issue, which results in overstocking, false commitments to customers and end up loosening sales grip.

Some of the effective measures an organization should undertake to avoid data inconsistencies are:

  • Monitor Data quality regularly – either set up batch jobs that runs daily or weekly that helps keeping a tab on data quality.
  • Take lessons from standard methodical approaches to maintain data like Six Sigma measurements e.t.c
One last note is to take the “Ownership of data” and ultimate result will be an improved supply chain operations.