The last few years have been tricky for the automotive parts industry. Post COVID-19 supply chain disruption had a big impact on the availability of automotive spare parts, which had big operational implications for automotive repair organisations. Our client was in the same predicament.
The company’s operational efficiency was being further hindered by their data management – they lagged behind the industry and they were misusing their enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution due to poor data. But their goal was to become a data driven organisation and had developed a data strategy which they hoped would support their business goals.
The automotive company opted to partner with Valcon, due its expertise and experience in data. Valcon started by introducing the master data management (MDM) concept for the automotive spare part product domain and together with the client, built the solution to improve data quality in that domain.
With the introduction of MDM in the product domain, the upload of articles (spare parts) coming from suppliers was standardised and semi-automated and a new process for handling this data was introduced, which focused on exceptions only and automating as much as possible, including validations on purchase prices.
Additionally, the data model was extended – as was the amount of information captured on an article – so it could serve multiple channels. Also, the process for dangerous goods (such as batteries or oil – parts that are potentially hazardous and need specific handling) was automated, to ensure that not only the necessary information was available, but also to enable the firm to meet regulatory requirements. In the meantime, the data migration process, which combined ERP data with supplier data, ensured an increase in the data quality and also helped our customer reduce the customised usage of its ERP and go back to the basics.
As a result of this data initiative, our customer was able to run product master data processes much more effectively and efficiently. Some key benefits included:
- Uplift in data handling: the new system could handle a seven times larger volume in data changes with half the original team
- More effective customer service team: the pressure on customer service was tremendously reduced, due to having to deal with a diminishing level of data quality related questions
- Data-driven: setting a firm data foundation provided the backbone that enabled other data analytics / science initiatives. As a result, the company is now much more data driven, is seen as a frontrunner in the industry which has led to an increase in market share
- Benchmark for sister companies in Europe: the client is now introducing the same concept in other geographies, creating a single unified product master data platform for all countries, enabling them to introduce a centralised European pricing structure – they will benefit from economies of scale and leveraging from knowledge across the countries by working more closely together.