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Conquering the Manufacturing Master Data Management Maze

This post was initially published on by Analyst Henrik Liliendahl.

In today’s vibrant manufacturing industry, staying competitive requires more than just efficient production processes. Among other factors, it demands a holistic approach to manufacturing master data management.

Managing and leveraging data effectively will enable manufacturers to unlock the full potential of their data and drive significant operational and strategic advantages. In this blog, we’ll explore four key aspects to consider when building your roadmap and deciding on master data management architecture principles:

● The impact of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
● Balancing global and local
● Mix of implementation styles
● Direct and indirect customers

Manufacturing master data management

The impact of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

More and more produced products are smart devices. This goes for household appliances, power tools, cars and much more. Thus, they are part of the Internet of Things (IoT) meaning that each instance of the product (each produced thing) has its own identity, with a specific configuration, with specific ownership and caretaker-ship and each thing is producing streams of data. This will considerably extend the reach of Data Management and will require your Master Data Management solution to be open towards business partners.

In a manufacturing setting, the production equipment are also smart devices involving just as much data. Equipping these devices with sensors allows them to communicate and exchange data in real-time seamlessly. This rich pool of information plays a pivotal role in tracking production, fine-tuning operational processes, and predicting maintenance needs.

The equipment data can only be sustainably maintained and governed by a manufacturing master data approach. This realm is called the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), a facet of Industry 4.0. 

Balancing Global and Local

Master data management in manufacturing can only be centralized to a certain degree. Whereas a global approach ensures unified processes and consistency across multiple locations and business units, solely focusing on a global perspective may overlook local operations’ unique nuances and specific requirements. Thus, some manufacturing and adjacent processes are best kept localized due to essential variances in product characteristics, geographic differences, regional regulations, and other specializations in the line of work.

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Therefore, finding the right balance between global and local is a crucial point in blueprinting your manufacturing data management software, reaching the best fit Master Data Management architecture and building the overarching data governance framework.

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Such a hybrid approach enables you to leverage the benefits of global data integration, harmonization, and analytics while accommodating specific local requirements. This fosters collaboration, agility, and responsiveness, driving efficiency and innovation across your organization.

Mix of implementation styles

For the same reasons as above, you will not be able to follow a full-blown centralized manufacturing master data management implementation style. You’ll need to also go for a consolidated MDM style, but not necessarily for all data domains and subdomains. You can mix these two styles in what can be seen as a co-existing master data management style.  

In addition, the changing manufacturing landscape means your MDM hub will constantly evolve to include new domains or data, requiring a switch to a different style. Hence, the style choice isn’t a technical decision but one driven by business requirements. A manufacturing MDM solution provider will advise on the best approach. 

Direct and indirect customers

In manufacturing your direct customers are typically distributors and retailers who have the end-user customers as their direct customers. However, it happens that you have a business scenario where the same end-users also become your direct customer as a manufacturer. Also, you as a manufacturer for many reasons will benefit from sharing the end-user customer data with your business partners.

A manufacturing master data management solution should cater to providing a true 360-degree view of customers in this complex business setup. It will allow you to analyze both direct and indirect customer data from various touchpoints. This comprehensive understanding helps tailor products, services, and experiences to meet customer expectations. It also paves the way for unique upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

Learn more

A good resource for a deeper dive into the considerations for a manufacturing master data management architecture is a presentation by our long-standing data management partners, Magnus Wernersson and Pekka Tamminen of Solita.

Check out our video on data-centricity and digital innovations with MDM architecture. 

Need specialized manufacturing or materials Master Data Management software? Contact us today to discover how an informed Master Data Management approach can deliver a 360-degree view of your customers and drive value through your Manufacturing business.