Best Practices for Manufacturing MDM

By Kerry Young on Aug 14, 2020

MDM is on the rise across a spectrum of industries – and manufacturing is among those leading the charge. With disrupted supply chains and the shift to digital commerce, today’s manufacturers know they must innovate to succeed.

Fortunately, Master Data Management (MDM) offers an answer to many of manufacturers’ biggest issues. The options MDM provides (and the potential benefits) are extensive – so much so that it can be hard to know where to start.

With that in mind, here are three best practices for applying MDM to the modern manufacturing space.

#1: Go even further with product information

Managing product data is a tried and true use case – but manufacturers need to take things to the next level. With the changing mentality of B2B buyers, many of whom are millennials, rich product content and personalized experiences are more important than ever.

77% of B2B millennial buyers are key influencers or primary decision makers. They, along with B2B buyers of all ages, have been trained by their B2C shopping background to expect engaging and rich product experiences. So, while accurate product data is table stakes, compelling and visual content is crucial now too.

With Product Data & DAM as part of an MDM solution, manufacturers can fully utilize consistent, accurate, and enriched product content that’s necessary to deliver the convenient and customized experiences that modern B2B buyers have grown to expect.

Adopting DTC

In addition to better supporting B2B buyers, manufacturers can open up new omni-channel opportunities, including direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales.

Forrester expects the DTC market to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth) of 18% through 2022, and this will likely get a boost from the impact of Covid-19 on buying habits.

MDM can help manufacturers effectively tap into this growing market by leveraging data around customers and products to deliver better buying experiences and easily syndicate product data across eCommerce sites, marketplaces, and apps.

#2: Use MDM as the foundation for AI and Machine Learning

In addition to maximizing product data benefits, forward-thinking manufacturers know they must use MDM to leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

The market for AI and ML in manufacturing is set to grow to $16B by 2025. These technologies are revolutionizing the way manufacturers operate, including:

  • Analyzing market trends and customer demand.
  • Leveraging ML for quality control, in a predictive manner with a process called “predictive quality,” or Quality 4.0.
  • Streamlining manufacturing processes to make production more efficient with faster output and less waste.
  • Employing predictive maintenance, which uses various sensors to monitor equipment for potential faults to cut down on maintenance costs.
  • Monitoring inventory management – to follow demand trends and track cost/usage – whether it’s with regards to MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations) or consumer inventories.

However, there’s a caveat to reaping the benefits of AI and ML.

The purpose of AI and machine learning is ultimately to analyze data, which means it’s only going to be as effective as the information you feed it. As such, you need to be able to have high-quality data readily available.

Furthermore, as sensor devices stream an unprecedented amount and variety of data, the ability to intelligently master this data – and give context to the complex relationships associated with it – grows even more important. MDM acts as contextual glue to help enterprises master the complexities of their data and bring meaning and insight to an abundance of structured and unstructured data.

Combining the science of AI and ML with the capabilities of an MDM platform helps organizations remove the manual processes around managing data, so your enterprise can focus on achieving the benefits, like improved product design, quality control, and operational efficiency.

#3: Think big picture with Multi-Domain MDM

Multi-Domain MDM has been recognized by Gartner and other analysts as one of the leading trends in the MDM space, and for good reason. Manufacturers should adopt a Multi-Domain MDM strategy as a best practice for two key reasons:

1: It will help them gain critical cross-domain intelligence.
According to Gartner, “Multi-Domain and multivector MDM enable digital business to advance from “collecting” data for a single data domain to “connecting” several data domains.”

Multi-Domain MDM can leverage combinations of product, customer, asset, supplier, and location-specific information to add context to data, creating more value.

2: It helps manufacturers take a phased approach to implementation.
When a company has a fixed set of traditional processes, it can be hard to get the organization on board with a top-down overhaul.

Sometimes, in order to make substantial long-term changes, you have to reduce the scope of change in the short-term.

With Multi-Domain MDM, your enterprise can take a phased approach to technological adoption by starting with a single domain, such as Product or Customer. After integrating the new processes associated with the first domain, it’s easier to prove the benefits and expand to additional domains, like Asset, Supplier, or Location.

For instance, using the Product domain, manufacturers can realize the benefits discussed earlier, such as more engaging and easily syndicated product content. Once that domain produces quick wins like increased sales and expanded channels, companies can look to add an additional domain.

The beauty of Multi-Domain MDM is that it can scale with you, so your technological ambitions and capabilities can grow over time.

Fully embrace the future of data with MDM for Manufacturers

With Multi-Domain MDM, manufacturing enterprises can fully embrace Industry 4.0 and adapt to any changes the future brings.
Having worked with some of the largest manufacturers and brands in the world, Winshuttle brings a unique perspective on how manufacturing enterprises can leverage EnterWorks Multi-Domain MDM to harness the power of their data.

Learn why Frost & Sullivan named EnterWorks the MDM/PIM Software for Manufacturing and Distribution.

About the author

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.

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