Nedac Sorbo, in 18 months from a spreadsheet to an equipped Product Information Management system.
Master data: license to operate
Data is increasingly important to the services of Nedac Sorbo Mascot. Customers want to receive the correct product data of the products to optimally manage their logistical processes. This creates an increasing need for strict rules around master data, in order to go further than the GS1 Global Data Standards. “For us as a category specialist, working with correct and complete data is our license to operate,” states Jurriens . “But this ambition cannot not be fulfilled in the near future with the current way of working. The original data set, facilitated by Excel, has been significantly improved over the years. This set mainly concerned technical information, because the Excel file was directly uploaded into SAP.” The Excel sheet lost its usefulness due to the strongly growing quantity of products, services and international suppliers, each with its own specific information. “Over the years, creating an overview of the ins and outs of the sheet took more and more effort. Meanwhile the demand for high quality data increased. In order to be future proof an intervention is needed, and that is what we are going to do.”
Ter Haar and Jurriens did not have to struggle in order to get the management team on board with the project. “Everyone realised that the whole process, the method and fixation of responsibilities needed improvements in order to be ready to be for the future”, states Ter Haar . According to the the old ways, an employee from a certain business unit collected all conceivable data for a new product, after which it was put into a spreadsheet. When errors were detected, the IT department reported these to the supplier by sending the corrections via email. In the worst cases, this could be a long process of emailing back and forth. In short, frustrations and irritations everywhere. “It is difficult to keep an overview when dealing with 300+ values, therefore a risk for erroneous data was always present” said Ter Haar.
Jurriens and Ter Haar realized that they had to bring specialists on board for this ambitious task, and they soon came into contact with Squadra. Jurriens: “They helped us with the inventory of processes and the drafting of requirements. The high level requirement for the tool was the fact that the entering and maintenance of master data had to be simplified in such a way that it elicited fewer errors, and allowed for higher data quality”. To be able to get an overview of the requirements the company interviewed various departments and the product-specific business units throughout 2018. This resulted in a list of wishes and requirements. These requirements were divided into three classes, ‘must-have’, ‘should-have’ and ‘could-have’, so that the project could easily be implemented in phases.
Correction at the source
The choice fell on a tool from SRC System Integrators; software builders for the optimal data flow of product information. A basic version of the SaaS tool was already used at Nedac Sorbo Mascot, but only for the delivery of basic data into the data pool. “But this tool can do much more, and the contact with the suppliers went very smoothly. Furthermore, the tool is used by more organizations, although not in such a complex manner” says Jurriens. The first application of the tool was the automation of the spreadsheet. What strikes Ter Haar is the fact that, despite the incorporation of approximately 275 required validations, there are still people looking for work-arounds. Ter Haar: “The difference is that we no longer have to correct errors.” Moreover, the creation of a new product now takes about three days or in case of urgency (according to the same quality) about 30 minutes, whereas this used to be a process of weeks.
“Both Squadra and SRC have delivered something that we could not have done internally” says Jurriens. “For example, the way of querying and processing of the requirements. We could have asked the questions, but it would not have led to the correct understanding of all processes. Moreover, SRC build a tool, something that we were unable to do internally. Especially, the combination of Squadra and SRC proved to be very successful.” Ter Haar and Jurriens look back on a very successful operation, reached within the budget and the timeline. Ter Haar is certain “I aspire to tackle a next project in exactly the same way. There is only one blemish on the project, as at the start some mistakes were made uploading the initial data, causing some trouble for about two weeks. “Thanks to the structure of the tool, we were able to solve it quickly.” The construction of the new master data system was an intense renovation for Nedac Sorbo Mascot. “That is something that the organization did not realize at the moment. The people that work in these processes know what all changed, but the influence it has on other aspects of the organisation is something they haven’t noticed” said Jurriens.
“It was an intensive innovation, something that the organization did not realize.”