Clean Data: Laying the Foundation for Digital Supply Chain Success (Guest Excerpt by Thierry Jaffry)

Posted on November 13, 2019


One of the things that I have come to appreciate after spending close to 40 years in the high-tech industry and almost as long in procurement is the experience and expertise from both the practitioner and provider world.

Just this morning, Kelly Barner and I were talking about how we have been at one time or another a practitioner or a provider and how this experience broadens one’s understanding of the collective supply chain world.

Suffice to say; I am very pleased to share articles from individuals in either of these worlds and everywhere in between. Remind me to one day tell you about the “in-between” world of procurement.

Anyway, here is an excerpt from a great article from Fluxym’s Thierry Jaffry regarding the importance of clean data in the digital transformation of the supply chain.

In the previous article, Jon Hansen talked about the need for organizations to be digital-ready if they hope to achieve a maximum return from their S2P implementation. The biggest and most important first step towards this state of digital readiness is having clean data.

What is does it mean to have clean data, and why is it important.
Based on a September 2019 CIPS Supply Management article, having “clean data” means that an “organization’s spend and supply data is accurate and up to date.” While the explanation is simple enough, understanding what it is, and getting to the point of having clean data are two very different things.

The problem, which is a longstanding one according to Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management Dr. Robert Handfield, centers on not only how, but who? Specifically, who should take the lead in ensuring that an organization’s data is digital ready?

Before I answer these questions, I think it is important to explain “the why,” as in why clean data is important for S2P implementation success.

The Reasons Behind the “Why”

In a recent paper that Fluxym co-authored with the leading accounting and business advisory firm Grant Thornton titled What is the real impact of supplier data? we identified the following four key points:

1. Supplier data is a source of strategic value creation for companies, boosted by the growing rise in data volumes, the multiplication of regulatory requirements and risks, and the search for operational efficiency.

2. The quality of supplier data is an unavoidable prerequisite to meet the challenges faced by financial and Procurement departments.

3. Today, new solutions based on innovative technologies allow for the creation of a single, shared supplier repository. These propose an effective alternative to the “ERP only” approach.

4. The tools alone cannot guarantee perfect data quality. Awareness and support for stakeholders at all levels must also be implemented to create a “data” culture in the company.

Considering the above, the reasons (and importance) for having clean data are obvious.

What isn’t as obvious to many is the how and the whom.

Use the following link to access the rest of the article, paying particular attention to not only who should take the lead with the data cleansing process, but how it fits into your overall digital transformation implementation strategy.