Get a grip on the data in your ERP system

30/03/2018 - Peter Gerhardt

With every ERP implementation it is a topic of conversation: how do we deal with the data from the old system? And more specific: how do we deal with all the data pollution that has arisen over time and the problems this has caused? Data are often entered in the system inconsistently, incomplete or multiple times, they contain errors and are outdated. That is not allowed to happen in the new ERP system. Which is a brave aspiration and the upcoming ERP implementation is also the perfect time to structurally improve on this. But what can you do to prevent you will be facing data pollution again in the course of time? With the proper agreements and a structured approach you will get - and maintain - a grip on the data in your ERP system.

Prepare well for the data conversion

New ERP systems can often be set up in such a way that the incorrect data entry (and thus data pollution) is minimized. But what still applies: 'garbage in, garbage out'! Therefore, in the transition to a new software system, start with the data conversion on time. Cleaning up data is a time-consuming job, do not underestimate this. A timely start enables you to map where clean-up actions are necessary to ensure that you start in the new system with a clean database.

Monitor the quality of the master data

Master data are the basic data in your system that do not or hardly change over time and are used in various processes and operations. For instance your customers, suppliers and parts. Decent master data management enhances data quality and reduces the chance of errors within the various processes. Modern ERP systems support single-entry and central management of data. But many companies have their data stored in multiple systems and have no clear procedures for managing data in one central location and distribution from here to the other systems. Make sure you have the right procedures, processes and tools in place to improve the master data quality and to maintain a high level quality in the future. The ERP system is the perfect choice when it comes to centralized master data management.

Strict authorizations and clear agreements

It is also important to properly set the authorizations in the system and make clear agreements internally. Place the responsibility for data management where it belongs. This will limit erroneous data entry. For example, allow one department to change customer contact details, but place the responsibility for data at customer level that regulate the financial flows at another department. For uniform data entry, it is wise to use a set of decent work instructions.

By arranging things well and making clear agreements you will come a long way. But mistakes will still be made. Therefore, use reporting tools to regularly check on data pollution in the system. That enables you to make corrections on time.

Peter Gerhardt is Senior Lead Consultant Logistics at Dysel and helps customers achieve maximum results with business software.

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