Master data cleansing and harmonization

Table of contents
Master data cleansing and harmonization

What is data cleansing and harmonization?

Data cleansing, also called data scrubbing, refers to the process of identifying and correcting duplicate, inconsistent, inaccurate, or incomplete records in master data.

Data harmonization is about standardizing and organizing data from different sources or formats into a uniform and consistent structure. This is to ensure that the data is compatible, follows common standards, and can be effectively integrated and analyzed.

Data cleansing and harmonization is only the first step

Significant resources are invested in data cleansing to ensure accuracy, consistency, and completeness of data, as well as data harmonization to ensure standardization and integration across different systems and applications. However, after the initial data cleansing, which consists of a one-time check and enrichment, duplicates and erroneous data can re-enter the system if the process of creating new material does not include proper duplication and quality checks. Therefore, data cleansing is only the first step towards long-term high data quality.

Continuous data lifecycle management is the future

You have completed the initial data validation and enrichment, now what?

The next step is data lifecycle management, which ensures the accuracy and timeliness of data throughout its lifecycle.

Through real-time verification and validation, SPARETECH provides continuous data management that goes beyond the initial cleanup of the material master:

  • Live duplicate and end-of-life checks for existing and new materials
  • Live visibility of alternative suppliers for each match
  • Continuously adding relevant new suppliers and manufacturers to the database
  • Continuous updating of product discontinuations from original equipment manufacturers (obsolescence management)

So why settle for the tip of the iceberg when it's better to dive deeper?

Tools for an automated process

The manual creation and management of data is prone to errors: spare parts are stored twice or more in the ERP system, discontinued parts or outdated information remain in the system, or incorrect data is entered. The unclean data structure not only leads to higher procurement and storage costs, but also to longer search times and thus to a higher risk of plant downtimes.

The good news is that end-to-end data lifecycle management is already possible today thanks to automation software. With state-of-the-art semantic data processing and big data technologies, SPARETECH, the leading data platform for industrial spare parts, paves the way for long-term high data quality.

Duplicates and discontinued items can be reliably identified in the material master and data can be continuously cleansed. SPARETECH also provides valuable insights by comparing it with the global spare parts database, which contains over 20 million products from more than 5,000 suppliers. In addition, the integrated workflow for creating new material allows 100% correct and complete original manufacturer data to be transferred to the ERP system. Together with the live duplicate check, this ensures consistently high data quality in the material master.

Success Stories

ElringKlinger is the world's leading systems partner to the automotive industry.

The goal

With over 30 production sites in Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia, ElringKlinger has set itself the goal of standardizing and optimizing its spare parts management processes.

The challenge

The existing processes led to unsatisfactory master data quality in SAP. The main reasons for this were the poor quality of the spare parts data supplied by suppliers and the high manual effort required to research the correct product data. As a result, ElringKlinger was unable to identify duplicates and saw a risk of overstocking.

In addition, no obsolescence information was available for the spare parts. This meant that discontinuations were not detected until the parts were reordered, which increased both lead time and procurement costs.

The approach

When ElringKlinger approached SPARETECH, they initially opted for a one-off cleanup of the spare parts master data. It quickly became clear that a long-term solution that continuously ensures clean and correct data and minimizes manual effort was the right way to go.

Since 2020, the company has been successfully working with SPARETECH to optimize its spare parts management, coordinated by a central team.

Results

In this way, ElringKlinger was able to identify and eliminate duplicates in its global material master, which accounted for 7% of total material numbers. This led to an immediate reduction in the corresponding inventories. In addition, over 9,000 data records were thoroughly cleaned up so that they now contain 100% complete and accurate data.

As a result, the rate of filled master data fields has increased to almost 98%, while at the same time the time required to create a new material has been reduced by a remarkable 277%. This performance is exactly in line with ElringKlinger's original objectives.


Thanks to the efficient and reliable data preparation of over 30,000 material numbers, we were able to start reducing inventories in all plants immediately.

Rene Hackbart | Director Maintenance at ElringKlinger

Find out more about ElringKlinger's success story with SPARETECH →. Webinar with ElringKlinger: Transparency in the Material Master

WEPA is a family-owned company and one of the three largest European manufacturers of sanitary papers.

The goal

Due to the acquisition of 8 additional plants since 2010, WEPA faced a complex situation regarding spare parts material master management.

Now with 13 production sites across Europe, located in Germany, Poland, France, Italy, the UK and the Netherlands, WEPA wanted to optimize its cross-site spare parts management by:

  • Elimination of duplicate materials,
  • Enrichment of the data sets with information from the original manufacturers,
  • the management of discontinuations.

The challenge

WEPA was dealing with an inhomogeneous and sometimes inconsistent database that included 150,000 records across different plants and 500 material events (new plants, changes, and plant expansions) per month.

The approach

Through our Insights feature which enabled the automatic matching of WEPA materials with SPARETECH's extensive database, rapid success was achieved in areas such as data enrichment, duplicate identification and discontinuation management. In this way, a close cooperation between WEPA and SPARETECH was initiated.

Regular status updates on partnerships were given at bi-weekly meetings, along with a joint effort through SPARETECH and WEPA channels.

Results

Through this approach, WEPA now has more than 70,000 data enrichments within the Insights function and is up to date on obsolete materials, changes and supplier information.

Together with SPARETECH, WEPA has succeeded in cleansing and harmonizing master data records from different production sites, ERP systems and languages, while reducing spare parts search times and manual effort.


SPARETECH enabled us to complete 80% of our spare parts with relevant manufacturer information and to identify duplicates and discontinuations. We have thus created an essential basis for optimized and future-oriented spare parts management.

Stefan Pfannkuchen | Head of Engineering and Maintenance at WEPA


Together with SPARETECH, we have managed to maintain full control over our data and inventories at over 13 locations throughout Europe.

Timo Thomas | Group Maintenance Manager at WEPA

Learn more about WEPA's success story with SPARETECH→. Efficient and cross-plant spare parts management | WEPA & SPARETECH

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