Global master data – uniformity and standards

In these times of globalization, it is becoming more and more important, particularly for large multinational companys, to create tighter links between their international departments or subsidiaries, and this includes their data. Many processes within a company are now conducted in different departments in several countries, which means an increase in the demands on the company’s databases. Trading products, for example, need global article numbers so that they can be clearly identified. It is also important for the correspondence within your company that addresses can be matched with individuals and individuals to departments and locations.

Globally standardized master data and global standards are necessary for units of measure for packaging and container sizing as well as for product and article labeling. This standardization in master data management is known as Global MDM.

The consequences of non-standardized data

Many companys suffer from the consequences of heterogeneous data and find themselves unable to do a lot about it. An example of this is purchasing: if different regional companies buy identical products at different prices, global purchasing potential is not exhausted. A further example is when products are developed in a country and could be sold globally, but are only marketed in the country of development.

Non-standardized processes make global supply chain management difficult and result in higher operating costs for software applications such as SAP. Consolidating and harmonizing your master data ensures that your company can make the most of its potential.

Global master data also makes your personnel management easier, as HR processes such as recruiting, controlling or payroll accounting can be greatly simplified. By integrating different information regarding labor rights and laws or data protection regulations in the countries where you work, you can ensure that you do not violate any laws and complex decisions can be made more easily.

The path to global master data

Your master data cannot be standardized from one day to the next. It is a process which requires careful planning and management. It is important to set holistic goals and to determine your target status at the start.

A standardization concept for your global master data can then be derived from this. Such a concept describes which processes within the company should be standardized, for example sales, purchasing or financing. On the basis of this concept, goals for the standardization of individual entities can be defined and a target/actual-comparison for necessary measures for global master data management can be determined.

Scalability is immensely important for global MDM in order to avoid the necessity for a new harmonization process when introducing new processes or locations.

Global Standards

Global standards are also necessary for global master data management. Even if, for example, the same products are sold in identical sized packaging in the USA and Europe, different units of measure such as pounds and ounces or grams and kilograms can lead to confusion and anomalies in the database system. It is, therefore, important to agree on a few global units. A good solution is to use the SI units common in Europe, which are used by almost all countries with the exception of the USA.

Standardizing the labeling of your products also facilitates sales. Of course, it is not always a good idea to change product labeling for well-known brands, but there should not be too many exceptions in your range. It makes sense to have the same labeling for products with identical content, not only for your database but also for your customers, suppliers and employees working in different countries.

The global article number GTIN, formerly EAN, is standard almost everywhere both for stationary and online trade. Using this number, an article or trade unit can be clearly determined. The number is passed on through the entire supply chain so that products can always be clearly identified and information relating to a product can be processed easily. The GTIN is the basis for the barcode of a product.

As you can see, globalization has a considerable influence on the way large companys work internationally and how they will work in the future. Global master data and standards help to simplify processes while ensuring that your company reaches its full potential.

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