First to Market: How MDM Will Lead You to the Winner’s Circle

July 22 2014

Author: Kayla Cole

In the words of Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last”. Most businesses have room for one vendor in each space. You either get the job or you don’t. See the connection?

The level of competition in the manufacturing space continues to increase as industry consolidation creates larger, fiercer competitors. This includes the rise of private labels, which puts manufacturers in direct competition with their retailers. It also takes into account the sheer number of products in any given category, which has grown exponentially over the past few years. These competitive forces increase manufacturers’ need to get to market first in order to capture the longest possible selling window and maximize each product’s profitability.

As the number of sales channels continues to grow, customers are just as likely to use a retailer’s catalog, refer to a website or walk into a physical store. Manufacturers must ensure that products and product information are consistent across every touch point. Consumers expect, and often demand, specific product descriptions found in a catalog or website to match the promotional description of the same product in the retail store. Manufacturers must synchronize this information with retailers, in real time, to avoid inaccurate information that leads to lost sales, returned products and, ultimately, reduced profit margins.

Tackling these challenges requires continual real-time access to accurate product data—master data, which for most manufacturers resides in multiple systems and in many different formats, both within the enterprise and in external suppliers’ systems.

Master Data Management (MDM) focuses on solving business problems by efficiently managing a company’s critical operational information across the supply chain. Product information is a critical link in the supply chain. This information begins with the manufacturer’s warehouse or assembly line and ends with the consumer at the point of sale.

An MDM platform enables manufacturers to turn master data into a trusted asset by:
• Managing and versioning information with your brand and message
• Sharing the data between front and back end applications
• Publishing seamlessly and consistently across all channels
• Enabling more effective collaboration between trading partners and customers

By decoupling product master data from consuming applications and business processes, you gain a single, consistent view of that data across the enterprise and supply chain, without forcing every department, business unit or supplier to use the same application or data format. This results in faster decision making, improved responsiveness and increased business agility.

Developing a single view of product master data, global manufacturers are becoming more efficient and innovative which is necessary both to stay competitive in mature markets, and to capitalize on growth opportunities in emerging markets. Sustaining a single view of supplier information helps manufacturers build closer working relationships with their suppliers and other partners to maximize responsiveness to changes in the market and to maintain a competitive advantage.

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