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MDM • 11 min read

MDM for Manufacturing: How Data Enables Digital Transformation for the Post-Covid World

Joeri Moors | 03-06-2020

With global supply chains and the complex landscape of suppliers and vendors, the coronavirus pandemic impacts manufacturers the hardest. But their biggest challenge isn’t in balancing supply and demand, it lies in preparing for the post-Covid world. As digital becomes the lifeline for many organizations today, Covid-19 is fast-tracking digital transformation worldwide. As the driver for digital transformation, MDM lets manufacturers create tangible business value out of their data.

These are challenging times for manufacturers. Amidst the non-stop news shaking up global economies, from trade wars to Brexit, the arrival of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) to regulatory pressures such as the GDPR and digital disruption, the coronavirus is piling even more pressure on the manufacturers.

In the short term, many manufacturers have to struggle for survival and business continuity. Especially companies that rely heavily or solely on factories in China for parts and materials have had a stormy period. Manufacturing will be among the industries to be most negatively affected, IDC warns. Global demand and supply started to decline in March 2020, but it is too soon to say what the full impact will be. This new situation will create new winners and new losers, depending on how they react and plan for a post-Covid world.

Preparing for the Post-Covid World

2020 will continue to be a bumpy ride. As governments work hard to minimize the economic impact, both the demand behavior as well as the supply and marketing capabilities of companies will be heavily disrupted. This calls for the reimagining of the workforce and the business process models to meet fluctuating demand. Companies may need to restructure financially to maintain work capital and secure cash management.

With a population eager to get back to normal, measures and regulations are expected to be lifted when possible. However, new virus outbreaks with new lockdowns should be expected until there is a definite vaccine or medicine.

In the post-Covid world, manufacturers will want to rely more on local markets than global markets, shortening the value chain and making it more resilient. They will have to reconsider their whole supply chain and transform into an organization that’s ready for the next disruption. In the long term, the corona crisis is contributing to technical progress, says the majority of respondents in the DMEXCO Trend Survey. They expect the digital economy to emerge stronger than ever before from the current situation. And with data fueling digital transformation, the pace will speed up even faster.


Data Drives Digital Transformation
Regardless of the sector you operate in, the age of information is dawning. Whether it’s through the coronavirus or market disruptors that tap into unused data lakes and create blue oceans, digital acceleration is kicking in everywhere. Driving this is the enormous growth of data streams and the new capabilities to master that data. By creating an ecosystem of quality data that’s accessible to everyone along the supply chain, manufacturers will not only have a head start on their competitors. They’ll be lean and agile in the run for business.

The ability to master data from all the different domains a manufacturer has will determine its success in the age of information. Quality data forms the critical foundation for succeeding in the digital, post-Covid world. Whether it’s for e-commerce, D2C, vendor management, supplier onboarding, faster production or innovation.

The solution for creating a single source of truth is called Master Data Management (MDM). MDM allows manufacturers to define, manage, centralize, organize, categorize, localize, synchronize and enrich all their master data. And while those features maybe don’t sound as exciting to every business leader, the benefits MDM brings will speak to all.

The five Business Benefits of MDM for Manufacturers

These five business outcomes are achievable with a unified approach for excellence in data management:

1. A single source of truth

MDM integrates with ERP, PLM, CRM, CMS, e-commerce and marketing automation solutions while also improving these systems. MDM supplies a scalable, structured process to initiate, cleanse and integrate data housed in various environments. The created single source of truth is then delivered by MDM as quality data to vendors, wholesalers, retailers, marketplaces and business partners. With quality data accessible to everyone, MDM minimizes the complexity of the data supply chain and improves collaboration and leanness.

2. Gain Business Agility

The ability to streamline product development and shorten the time-to-market is decisive for a manufacturer’s revenue. This requires access to trustworthy data from end to end and a data management solution to facilitate collaboration. Business-critical data is generated in multiple departments. But when this data is stored in departmental silos, it becomes prone to errors and inconsistencies. Additionally, any gained insights from the data are less actionable and harder for teams to collaborate on. By collecting, improving and linking data, MDM creates a data hub that gets data ready for commercialization and launch to market. From design and sampling to manufacturing and distribution, processes are considerably improved by MDM.

3. Focus on the Entire Value Chain 

Rather than relying on data stored in different systems and locations, manufacturers can use MDM as a single, central repository for gathering and integrating supplier information along with critical internal data. By leveraging a single view of relationships, you can optimize production and reduce the costs of products sold. MDM provides a single solution to manage each step in the entire value chain. It cuts through disparate data and links information together that delivers actionable insights into the full supply chain. You can start with product design and assembly, from the computer chip that goes into a smart appliance to the water that goes into liquid cleaning products, all the way through to production and delivery.

4. The Right Data at the Right Time

Manufacturers face the daunting task of sharing data with multiple vendors, wholesalers, distributors and retailers. Each of these partners is a data receiver or sender – and each will either deliver content according to their in-house systems or will require you to tailor content to their needs. Attributes, packaging hierarchies, product classification and protocols are just a few of the variables involved. Yet managing and maintaining product data is simpler using MDM to address the challenges of multiple partners maintaining multiple standards. Through data syndication, you can do this even if each of your suppliers will have unique definitions, requirements and standards. MDM allows you to control and automate the exact type of data that you distribute per vendor or partner.

5. Make Your Operational Data Strategic

You can develop new models and processes for building, managing and shipping products with quality data as your driving force. Whether producing automobiles or packaged food ingredients, manufacturers need precise, timely and consistent data that feeds multiple systems for warehouse management, inventory management, supply chain, shipping and packaging. Determining the exact number of products that can fit in a box, the number of boxes that can be stacked on a pallet and the number of vehicles needed to ship to ensure the right quantity of products reach the shelf and the customer all begins with quality data. As a common, trusted data repository, MDM ensures that the product manager and the sales manager look at the same data sets when making strategic decisions.

If you want to read more about Master Data Management, you can visit our dedicated page here.

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Joeri Moors

MDM Market Development Manager

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