Diab is world-leading when it comes to manufacturing and distributing composite materials for customers in the space, transportation, and construction industries, among others. When its global ordering and forecasting management processes were going to be collected into one system, the staff realized that the quality of the product information was not high enough. Together with Orango, Diab carried out a thorough master data management (MDM) project, which resulted in high-quality data and clear business value for both existing and future business processes.
Why Master Data Management?
Diab is a global company and a world leader in so-called sandwich technology. A few years ago, Orango built the e-commerce system eCom – a central ordering and forecasting system for managing all orders – to coordinate all the company’s markets. A large number of ERP systems from several different countries are integrated with eCom.
A challenge soon appeared: The quality of the product information was not high enough. It was incomplete and sometimes even inaccurate. The data cleaning routines were not completely reliable, and the rules for the routines were complicated and difficult to understand. Diab turned to Orango with a request to be able to import, validate, and monitor global product attributes that would help the company reach and maintain a high level of data quality throughout the Company.
Orango approached the project using the 7-Step Data Control model, which aims to take control of and ensure accurate information throughout the entire operation.
“We started the project by doing a pre-study, a so-called health check,” says Johan Lindberg, Orango’s architect and developer on the MDM project. “This meant that we defined the size of the project, analyzed current data quality, and evaluated the estimated effect the project would have on operations.”
Microsoft SQL Server–Master Data Services
The next step was to have a look at which system would be suitable for the solution. In this case, the choice fell on Microsoft Master Data Services, which is included in SQL Server. Since Diab was already using SQL Server, the cost for implementing MDS was relatively small.
Secured Processes to Minimize Quality Issues
The next phase of the project was to correct the current data and ensure that the data quality would be preserved in the future. All existing data was taken out of eCom and cleansed, first digitally, and then manually. The cleansed data was then entered into the MDS solution, which in turn updated the whole eCom solution– ensuring that data quality was maintained at every step. This was done until all quality problems were cleaned out.
“It is a big task, but absolutely necessary,” says Lindberg. “Otherwise, you are just prolonging the inevitable, and your sales department, manufacturing department, and the supplier organization will have problems later on instead.”
While cleansing existing data, work was also done to prevent future quality issues by developing secure processes for how individual products and information are added and validated.
“The whole purpose is to create and maintain high data quality – then you have to work both on the IT solution and the human factors,” says Lindberg.
An important factor in this project is the successful cooperation between us as the customer and Orango as the supplier.
High Data Quality Increases Sales
Diab’s data quality is now excellent. This has made operations more efficient, since no part of the organization has to spend time on unnecessary administration due to inaccurate product information.
The sales department can also work on increasing sales when additive services, such as surface treatment, are synced with the data in the system.
“An important factor in this project is the successful cooperation between us as the customer and Orango as the supplier,” says Christoffer Hallin, Group IT Infrastructure Coordinator at Diab Group. “Together, we have created a stable and homogeneous platform– something we know will pay off in the long run.”
Future IT Projects Made Easier Thanks to MDM
The MDM solution is a rather small part of a larger project. Since 2014, Diab and Orango have developed the eCom solution and have been working together on process improvements, system improvements, and so on. There are also plans for an online store and a BI solution. But without the foundation work that was done with MDM, other parts of the project could not be done as successfully and with the same high quality.
“Today, there is a single source of truth for the whole company,” says Hallin. “The information in the MDS is accurate and can easily be supplemented or changed via our task management system. The system is more efficient in and of itself but is also a prerequisite for future IT projects, since there is a foundation of accurate data to build upon.”