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Supplier Master Data: Why is data quality important for SMEs?

Posted by Bertrand Duteil on 05/01/2017

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Supplier Master Data management is the key for a long lasting and effective strategic administration of your suppliers. Nevertheless, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises often have troubles homogeneously and centrally managing, archiving and controlling their data. After listing the seven reasons why every company should care more about their suppliers, we will today learn more about the supplier master data and how to improve yours.


What are the Supplier Master Data?

The Supplier Master Data generally is a paper or digital document containing every information related to a supplier such as:

  • contact person,
  • location related information,
  • range of products,
  • legal form of the company
  • different collected certificates.

Accountancy and sales related information about payments and paying conditions are also collected within the supplier master data. In most cases, this document is administrated by the purchasing and quality management departments. For a quality supplier master data, it is important to determine where the data comes from, who keeps it up-to-date and in which standardized form it should be handled.

The importance of data quality

Data quality is key to an efficient master data management, but how can we define what “good” data quality is? To answer this question, we have selected the most important criteria which can be used as basis for the administration of your supplier data.

  • Integrity

    Data and information must always be complete in order to be used as a solid basis in every processes and by every involved persons.
  • Up-to-date

    Data and information must also always be up-to-date. Even if most of the master data has a long lifecycle, it is important to make changes and update information as soon as possible in order to avoid mistakes due to outdated data.
  • Accuracy and unity

    A standardized data collection supports you with the accuracy of your suppliers data and information. Using a central organisation with defined criteria for your data can simplify its input in your system.
  • Access and transparency

    Every entitled person and department should have access to the suppliers master data and any time.


Standard data source:

One of the most important questions you have to ask yourself is “where does this data or information about my supplier come from ?”. Indeed, within different cooperation stages with your suppliers, different sources (more or less trustworthy) are often used along the supply chain. Being in direct contact with suppliers during the suppliers selection or the approval for buying process, purchasing departments are generally the ones with the most up-to-date information.

Our tip 
An easy way to collect up-to-date and standardized data from your suppliers is to use supplier self-assessment and supplier questionnaires. They can not only be used during the selection of a new supplier, but also on a regular basis to let your suppliers complete and update their data.

Central data administration

Supplier data inquiry and administration are for SMEs generally no top priority, considered as time consuming side task operated by the purchasing department, the quality management and the finance department. A central data management supports you by having clear and defined processes as well as steadily up-to-date data.

Our tip
Define a clear internal process for your supplier management and decide who is responsible for the data administration - the quality management or the purchasing department for example. When several persons are working with the same data from different sources, a central data administration can prove to be efficient by being consistently up-to-date and traceable.

Supplier Master Data - easy to manage

Supplier management is often a complex collection of a multitude of data points and documents which need to be organized and efficiently managed, independently from the process part it belongs to in the supply chain. With complete, up-to-date and transparent master data, you can then analyze it and use the data for a strategic supplier management. The best way to get such a high quality data is to use a standardized system.

Our tip
SMEs can easily use online platform to manage their data, requiring no extra setup or hardware. These SRM platforms are generally based on a document management system allowing you to easily and automatically administrate supplier and product documents, as well as contracts or supplier agreement. Integrated master data management for supplier data lets you centralize every data point and document for each supplier, which gives access to the information to both parties involved.

With our web-based platform, we support you with all your supplier master data management for an efficient and transparent collection and administration of your documents and information. Learn more and register now for an online demonstration of ecratum.

Click HERE to register for a free online-demonstration

Tags: tips