Governing Material Master Data

The Cycle of Decaying Data Quality:
A Case Analysis

Business “A”, a global manufacturing company, hires a well-known consulting firm to help them “clean” a large quantity of item descriptions located across multiple geographical locations. Like many of their market competitors, “A” relies heavily on spare parts to ensure the smooth and safe operation of their facilities. The outcome of the consulting engagement is immediately satisfactory. The segmented item descriptions have been rebuilt and have been loaded into company “A’s” ERP. The common acknowledgment is that the new, more-detailed descriptions will help the organisation better understand inventory data and will contribute to cost cutting.

The Turning Point

However, as the consulting project wraps up, it becomes evident that many new items have been added to the ERP during the project. The “new” items have not been described in accordance with the data standard used to “clean” the legacy data. In fact, many of the items have been permitted to move into production without any form of quality analysis. The problem has, in effect, started all over. As months’ pass by, more “new” and “modified” data finds its way into company “A’s” ERP, all without scrutiny. Within a year, the data problem has reappeared and “A” is forced to consider another data cleaning engagement.

Standardisation and Governance Make the Business Case

Time and time again, we meet new customers who have made attempts to repair their legacy data only to find that data decay occurs almost as soon as they complete the job. The problem is simple: without an embedded governance and quality assurance program, the organisation will revert to the same behaviour that created the need for a data remediation project in the first place. At sparesFinder, we offer our customers a software platform that allows them to define a standard, embed the standard into a purpose-built governance process, and standardise and enrich legacy data simultaneously. Through this model, our customers ensure that new item descriptions, modifications, or deletions are made in lockstep with globally-defined standards. Beyond this, our governance solution remains in place in perpetuity, providing our customers with the ability to intelligently govern and synchronize materials data across several systems and databases, including most ERP, Inventory Management, EAM (SAP PM), and CMMS (Maximo) solutions.


We call this solution Gatekeeper and it is a Master Data Governance (or MDM) solution designed specifically for managing materials and MRO-related Master Data. If you would like to learn more about our material master data governance solution, you can read more here.