Importance of Master data

Posted on 2021-10-04

by Rina Redelinghuys, CQuential WMS Customer Services Executive

Master data is key to the functioning of the warehouse management system. The absence of accurate data will result in the system not being able to perform at an optimal level. The data will also be crucial to the ability to define business rules and workflows across the warehouse. A warehouse management system that has standard templates and a step-by-step user guide will reduce the burden of master data maintenance and setup within your operation.

The types of master data in the warehouse management system:

  • Location master
    • Location capacity cubing
    • Warehouse zones (picking, reserve, bulk etc.)
    • Location check digits and location barcodes
    • Inbound receiving lane design and capacity
    • Appropriate storage locations.
  • Supplier master
    • Business partner requirements
    • Type of supplier
    • Supplier SLA
    • Local / international.
  • Customer master
    • Customer delivery details and carrier requirements
    • Customer SLA.
  • Product master
    • Product ABC analysis and mapping
    • Product barcode
    • Product unit of measure
    • Serial number at a unit level
    • Item features at a unit of measure level (expiry date, manufacturing date, colour, size etc.)
    • Item categorisation (hazardous, high value, flammable food, etc.)
    • Product cube, weight, and dimension measurements.
  • Operator master
    • User groups
    • Menu accessibility
    • Operator area restrictions.

The benefits of accurate data:

  • Reduced order cycle time of up to 60%
  • Avoidance of incorrect inventory reporting
  • Reduced labour costs
  • Simpler labour management with improved knowledge of demand
  • Reduced time expenditure
  • Valuable insights into current and future trends
  • Advance inventory planning and replenishment
  • Data driven warehouse layouts for greater efficiency.

What are the risks associated with poor master data management?

  • Inaccurate decision making
  • Inaccurate reporting
  • Space mismanagement
  • Higher costs
  • Time wastage.

Approach to driving master data excellence:

  • Focus on data quality and relevance.
  • Remove duplications, standardise the data capturing process and syntax, train your staff on the correct data-capturing procedures, and check the data regularly for accuracy and reliability.
  • Ensure your data management strategy will support you, whether you aim to improve your bottom line, beef up decision making, or more accurately cater to consumer trends.
  • Curate and store only the correct information that is relevant to your business. Redundant data may be good to have , or “nice to know”, but it serves no real purpose, it’s taking up valuable space, processing power, and time that should be focused on the data that impacts your business.
  • Permission and access will vary based on roles, and you need to stay on top of this to prevent sabotage, human error, and inappropriate client contact.
  • Ownership and responsibility of data.
  • Dedicated teams for data management and maintenance.
  • Commitment to maintenance of centralised data sources.
  • Knowledge of existing ERP data management.
  • A change management team and strategy.

Master data can be the difference between success and failure. Clean data throughout the business will enable a company to take advantage of new systems and services that have been developed in the market to drive business efficiencies. It will also ensure the business has a competitive advantage in the market and be highly responsive to new ideas and developments in the industry.

In case you missed it – also read: The challenges around warehouse optimisation

For more information contact one of our Business Consultants on 011 712 1300; email or visit our website

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