A 5-Point Best Practice Process to Improve Product Data Accuracy

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WHITE PAPE R
A 5-Point Best Practice Process
to Improve Product Data Accuracy
Industr y Call to Action:
Summary
Nine leading companies - Ahold USA,
to improve data accuracy. This
Coca-Cola Company, Hershey, McLane
5-Point process is a clear, cost-
Company, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble,
effective framework that allows
J.M. Smucker, Wakefern Food Corp. and
flexible implementation methods
Wegmans - worked together to focus on
for manufacturers.
improving the accuracy of data shared
between manufacturers and their trade
4
A coordinated industry effort is needed
customers, including case weights and
to help make the 5-Point Best Practice
dimensions. They collaborated to identify
Process a standard process for
the causes of inaccurate product data, and
manufacturers moving forward.
in the course of this collaboration, they
have identified and validated five industry
Narrowing the Data Quality Focus
best practices that, if followed, will help to
ensure the highest levels of data accuracy.
In this informational, Big Data age of business,
THEIR CONCLUSIONS?
data creates the foundation for managerial
1
The persistent problem of inaccurate
data shared between manufacturers
and their trade customers is an
enduring and significant problem
2
consumer behavior, and the physical and
electronic flow of commerce. Doing good
business demands high quality data – whether
it’s master data, consumer data, transactional
that demands industry resolution.
data, or supply chain movement data.
A significant driver of data inaccuracies
people, processes and systems result in data
is the need for manufacturers to
communicate product data to trade
customers many months in advance
of new item production. This preliminary
information is generally not validated
Unfortunately, the complexities involving
quality problems that affect all companies in
all industries on many levels. Where to start?
The nine participating companies agreed to
narrow the focus. Leveraging the Data Quality
and updated with final production data.
Framework governed by GS1 since 2006,
Manufacturers need to adhere to specific
a) completeness, b) standards-based,
3
decision-making, insights into markets and
processes that include taking
measurements from product samples
from a production environment, and
then recording, updating, and
communicating those measurements
back to their trade customers. These
steps are part of a 5-Point Best
Practice Process for manufacturers
they assessed data quality in terms of
c) consistency, d) accuracy, and e) timestamped. They decided to focus on solving
specific accuracy issues that have a significant
impact on the supply chain. The objective
was to solve for the pervasive issue of low
accuracy of case weights and dimensions
and the accuracy of select foundational
attributes passed through the GDSN.
CONNECTING TRUSTED PRODUCT DATA EVERYWHERE 1
These accuracy issues are felt most
values, and increased costs for the entire
profoundly by retailers, distributors and
supply chain. “Obtaining case samples
foodservice operators – the data recipients
is important to our organization,“ said
in the GDSN. When these measures and
Beckey James, Electronic Commerce
attributes are inaccurate, they result in high
Manager at McLane. “We check the
costs and disruptions:
barcode, weights, dimensions, pack and
net content. In addition, data is compared
1. Incorrect pallet height and dimension
configurations
2. Incorrect truck configuration, cubing
with what has been submitted in GDSN.
If discrepancies are found, additional
follow-up is required with suppliers.”
and load optimization, where trucks are
under-filled or over-filled
3. Inefficient warehouse storage
“We have cubiscan devices in four different
facilities,” said Christine McMaster, Director
optimization and inefficient pick/pack
of Product Integrity, Replenishment and
abilities
Merchandising, at Wakefern. “We have
4. Invoice errors requiring extensive
reconciliation efforts
5. Shelf labeling errors, directly impacting
consumers
spent approximately 7,800 hours across
the company verifying measurements of
products, and validating core attributes
like UPC and net content. Additionally, we
validate accuracy for our DSD items and
Recipients in the GDSN community
our ECommerce site which represent a
confirm that the incidence of poor data
significant allocation of labor, as well,”
accuracy remains high, despite public
she said.
score-carding by some retailers and a
heightened awareness of data quality
issues over the last several years.
Wegmans, for example, began measuring
and scorecarding supplier data in 2005.
“When we first measured the accuracy of
newly synchronized data to Wegmans, we
audited our Grocery warehouse and found
11% accuracy,” said Kathy Welch, Manager,
Master Data, at Wegmans. “Today, after
eight years of auditing and score-carding,
the measurement for accuracy across all
categories has improved, but is still only
75%,” she continued.
So important is the accuracy of data to
their operations, many retailers and
distributors have devoted extensive
resources to take their own case
measurements. They use measurement
devices and training personnel in their
Distribution Centers and Warehouses to
Focusing on Root Causes:
Understanding the New Item
Introduction and Setup Process
As consumers, we delight in the thousands
of new products and line extensions that
hit the shelves every year. Manufacturers,
retailers and distributors know this is
no act of magic: they understand the
advanced planning that goes into the
product introduction process. Beyond the
core manufacturer R&D process to develop
a new item, there are Item Setup processes
that occur between manufacturer and
retailer, manufacturer and distributor, and
distributor and retailer. The nature of these
setup processes is the core challenge to
obtaining accurate and consistent case
weights and dimensions submitted
through GDSN.
create their own measurements of record.
This, of course, creates duplication of
efforts, a differing set of measurement
CONNECTING TRUSTED PRODUCT DATA EVERYWHERE 2
SALES CALL The process begins when
that item. These are the attributes that
a product sample prototype is first
retailers and distributors “key” much of
presented by a manufacturer to its retailer
their master item files and external
and distributor customers. Here, these
transactions to. Any change in any of
customers may accept or reject the item
these attributes after setup can result
based on merchandising assortment
in a major disruption for the retailer
considerations following their own
or distributor.
category management principles. The
important aspect of this step is that it
PRODUCTION BEGINS Manufacturers
typically occurs well in advance of the
begin producing product inventory, antic-
customer actually merchandising it on its
ipating certain levels of retail distribution
shelves, and well in advance of the product
and consumer demand. Importantly, case
being produced by the manufacturer.
weights and dimensions will be finalized by
Typically, case weights and measures
the manufacturer, once a stable production
provided at this stage are based on rough
environment has been created. Between
specifications or lab samples. “We work
the initial prototyping of the product and
collaboratively with our trade customers
the final production, multiple changes may
to bring innovative products to our consumers,”
occur that impact case weights and
said Greg White, Director, Global Data
dimensions. These could include changes
Management at Procter & Gamble. “That
to primary and secondary packaging
collaboration begins as much as 6 months
materials, as well as corrugate cases and
before we produce the first production
inner-packing.
cases and certainly before the product is
advertised or in full scale distribution.”
PRODUCT SHIPS Manufacturers begin
shipping product to retailers and distributors.
“We work collaboratively with
our trade customers to bring
innovative products to our
consumers”
- GREG WHITE
Director, Global Data
Management Procter & Gamble
PRODUCT INFORMATION PROVIDED;
Product arrives at retailer and distributor
RETAILER/DISTRIBUTOR ITEM SETUP
DCs and stores. By this time, retailers and
Assuming the retailer or distributor
distributors have set up the items in their
accepts the item, it requests detailed
systems to support supply chain
information about the product from the
operations, store operations, merchandising,
manufacturer. Depending on the customer,
purchasing and marketing. “Our systems,
the information requested could be
warehouses, DCs, and stores are set up at
minimal or extensive, ranging in the
this point using the dimensions and
hundreds of attributes. Manufacturers
attributes provided by the manufacturer,”
typically provide this information through
said Craig Kreider, Sr. Manager of Data
the GDSN, through portals, through paper
Integrity at Ahold USA. “Since we move
forms, or through e-mail. Retailers and
and sell many thousands of brands and
Distributors take this information and
items, it is imperative that data
begin the item setup process in their own
inaccuracies aren’t creating disruptions
internal systems. They may submit early
in our operations,” he said.
Purchase Orders to secure inventory from
the manufacturer. Of note is the preliminary
INVOICE AND PAYMENT TRANSACTION
nature of the data at this early point.
Payment transactions occur between
Manufacturer and Distributor, Manufacturer
Very important for the retailers and
and Retailer, and Distributor and Retailer.
distributors at this stage is that certain
GS1 Foundational attributes, such as Global
Trade Item Number (GTIN), Universal
Product Code (U.P.C.), Brand, Net Content,
and Unit of Measure remain constant for
CONNECTING TRUSTED PRODUCT DATA EVERYWHERE 3
The 5-Point Best Practice Process
For Manufacturers
Reviewing the Item setup process between
the manufacturer and its trade customers,
the nine participants in the study collaborated to evaluate their own processes.
They observed that three best practice
focus areas drive the effective creation
and transfer of accurate measurement
data and foundational attributes between
manufacturers and their downstream
customers.
a) Strict adherence to GS1 Standards
and GTIN Allocation Rules
b) Strict internal accountabilities and
Step One
ADHERENCE TO FOUNDATIONAL GS1
ATTRIBUTES IN INTERNAL ITEM SETUP
OF A MANUFACTURER
Trade customers recognize five important
foundational attributes of a consumer
product as it is set up in their systems.
These are GTIN, U.P.C., Brand, Net Weight,
and Unit of Measure. Retailers and
distributors key most of their internal and
external transactions to these attributes.
If any one of these attributes were to
change after the item has been setup in its
systems, it could negatively impact supply
chain and store operations, resulting in
control mechanisms for a manufacturer
numerous and costly disruptions,
as it sets up products in its own internal
ultimately effecting shoppers and
systems
consumers.
c) Standard and consistent manufacturer
processes of taking measurements
As a best practice, manufacturers should
of production samples, and
treat adherence to these foundational
communicating updates back to their
attributes as an inviolable rule within their
trade customers through the GDSN.
four walls: when setting up an item in their
own systems, they should be conscious of
Understanding these three focus areas,
any changes in these attributes. If one of
the participants investigated industry
these foundational attributes does change,
best practices and created a 5-Point Best
an entirely new item should be created.
Practice Process that manufacturers must
Otherwise, both the manufacturer systems
follow in order to deliver high accuracy
as well as their customers could have a
data in the GDSN.
GTIN with an incorrect associated
attribute, such as net weight.
5-Point Best Practice Process to
Improve Product Data Accuracy
Principled Adherence to GS1 Standards
1
Adhere to Foundational attributes in internal setup: GTIN, UPC,
Brand, Net Content, Unit of Measure – The item must change if
any of these change
Strict Item Setup Accountability and Control Mechanisms
2
Attribute owners are clearly identified and accountable with written
control mechanisms documenting validation procedures
3
Single group and individual accountable for shepherding and
gathering item attributes from attribute owners – ensures
control mechanisms followed
4
All new items are measured off a stable production environment
5
Production measurements are communicated internally and externally
During piloting, manufacturers evaluated
their own understanding of GS1 GTIN
Allocation Rules, and recognized that
a focus on core foundational attributes
throughout their own internal processes
helped ensure they remained compliant to
their customer needs. “The community of
manufacturers, distributors, and retailers
understand that the GS1 GTIN Allocation
Rules help ensure effective and efficient
commerce,” said Angela Fernandez, Vice
President, industry Engagement at GS1 US.
Production Measurement and Communication
CONNECTING TRUSTED PRODUCT DATA EVERYWHERE 4
Step Two
Step Three
PEOPLE WHO CREATE AND PROVIDE
ATTRIBUTE INFORMATION ARE HELD
ACCOUNTABLE THROUGH WRITTEN
CONTROL MECHANISMS.
A SINGLE PERSON OR ENTITY IS ASSIGNED TO GATHER ALL ATTRIBUTES
AND TO ENSURE THAT ALL CONTROL
MECHANISMS HAVE BEEN FOLLOWED
IN STEP TWO.
One single product of a manufacturer
carries with it hundreds of attributes in
Most large manufacturers have centralized
its “item master” files – both for the
master data groups that shepherd product
finished goods and for its components
attribute data through the various departments,
and ingredients. Industry studies have
so it can be set up in the manufacturer’s
shown that as many as 200 individuals in
own master item file (often an ERP
a company can contribute to the creation
system). Like retailers and distributors,
of item data for a single product. Typically,
this master item file becomes the “key” to
a manufacturer has a workflow process
enable transactions to be performed relat-
whereby attributes are provided through
ing to that item, both internally
different clusters and groups in the
and externally.
organization, such as R&D, Regulatory,
Engineering, Operations, Finance,
The best practice identified by the participants
Marketing, and Sales.
is that good data governance demands
that there be clear ownership by the group
The study participants identified that the
and individuals who have to gather the
best practice for these attribute creators
product information, and that these
and providers is that they be clearly held
individuals or entities ensure that
accountable to the accuracy of their data,
the written control mechanisms of the
and that written control mechanisms are in
attribute owners have been followed.
effect for the capture and communication
of their assigned attributes. These would
This demands that the identified individual
include, among others, time-stamping
or group be intimately familiar with the
when tests or evaluations were performed,
various processes surrounding attribute
and documenting that final attributes
creation, and the control mechanisms
went through a two or three-tiered
associated with those processes. “We’ve
review system.
identified an individual role and department at
Smucker that is accountable for gathering
As part of the pilot process, each
all attributes,” said Lori Bigler, Director,
manufacturer involved in the study was
Enterprise Analytics & Insights at J.M.
able to identify the different groups that
Smucker. “In evaluating the different
and because we abide by the
provided attribute data to the central data
processes, we decided that this person
foundational attributes, we
file and the control measures in place for
and department perform the actual
effective Item Setup.
measurements of our cases, and checks
“Because we have clearly
defined governance practices,
can quickly and effectively
investigate and resolve any
the foundational attributes. There is
definite accountability,” she said.
exceptions that may occur.”
“Ownership and accountability are very
- ROB HOFFMAN
Manager OTC,
Customer Supply Chain
important for Hershey,” said Rob Hoffman,
Manager OTC, Customer Supply Chain.
“Because we have clearly defined governance
practices, and because we abide by the
foundational attributes, we can quickly
and effectively investigate and resolve any
exceptions that may occur,” he said.
CONNECTING TRUSTED PRODUCT DATA EVERYWHERE 5
Step Four
shipping the product, and paying the 3rd Party
ALL NEW PRODUCTS GET WEIGHED
AND MEASURED UPON PRODUCTION
AS A “FINAL” MEASUREMENT. THIS
CAN BE PERFORMED BY A 3RD PARTY
PROVIDER
internally include the cost to train qualified
For most manufacturers, measuring, recording
and updating case measurements has neither
been a priority nor an engrained standard practice.
Perhaps the single most important best
practice identified by the study participants,
this process requires manufacturers to carefully
evaluate their item introduction processes, and
evaluate the resources needed to implement.
provider fee. Costs for measuring product
personnel, and the costs of the measuring
equipment. Both options require a standardized
‘flagging’ process to identify products that
need to be audited, and a process to mark the
audited products with a time stamp.
Step Five
FINAL PRODUCTION MEASUREMENTS
ARE RECORDED AND UPDATED IN
MANUFACTURER SYSTEMS. UPDATES
ARE COMMUNICATED BACK TO
RETAILER AND DISTRIBUTOR
CUSTOMERS THROUGH GDSN.
As the primary focus of the pilot effort by
the study participants, the manufacturers
There’s one thing to measure production
demonstrated that when they had qualified
product, there’s another thing to do
personnel performing measurements of
something with the measurements. The
production product, their measurements were
must practice identified by the participants
proven correct when validated by an external
is a necessary component of Step 4 -
party. For the pilot effort, solution providers
Updates must be communicated to the
Gladson, ItemMaster, and Strategic Solutions
trade customer, and updated in a
Inc. performed these validations. These providers
manufacturer’s own internal systems.
were also active contributors to the entire study.
This is a process that is not widely
Of note, the manufacturers agreed that the
practiced by manufacturers. Key learnings
option of using a 3rd Party provider can be
from the pilot effort included the need
an efficient and manageable option for
for manufacturers to locate and identify
manufacturers, especially if manufacturers
what constitutes the “system of record”
take advantage of the additional value-added
upon measurement, and how this record
services that the companies provide. Each of
makes its way to the GDSN professional
the participant solution providers, for example,
responsible for updating the GDSN record
were able to provide an in-depth set of product
for retailers and distributors. For large
providers that are able to
images back to the pilot participants, in addi-
manufacturers, this ‘system of record’ is
provide an external data
tion to measuring the products and validating
typically an Enterprise Resource Planning
the manufacturers’ own production measure-
(ERP) system.
“There are several solution
record for those who wish
to use them. Those GS1 US
ments. “There are several solution providers
that are able to provide an external data record
The participants agreed that any GDSN
certified providers bring
for those who wish to use them. Those GS1 US
update must occur prior to the first arrival
invaluable knowledge and
certified providers bring invaluable knowledge
of manufacturer product to the retailer or
and expertise about GS1 standards to the table,”
distributor warehouse, DC or stores. As
said Barbara Richardson, Director of Supply
the GS1 and GDSN community explore
Planning, Coca-Cola Refreshments Industry
the “Preliminary Trade Item” initiative
Product Standards.
associated with the next major release,
expertise about GS1 standards
to the table.”
- BARBARA RICHARDSON
Director of Supply Planning,
Coca-Cola Refreshments
Industry Product Standards
these companies recommend this primary
The critical factors in choosing between the
business rule be built into the process. For
utilization of 3rd party providers or internal
example, a “final” update submission in
resources to measure are a) organizational
GDSN must be provided prior to First Ship
capabilities and b) total costs. Costs using a 3rd
date (there is no Arrival Date attribute).
party provider include the cost of the product,
CONNECTING TRUSTED PRODUCT DATA EVERYWHERE 6
Industry Call to Action
About 1WorldSync
The participants have identified the
With more than 15,000 customers across
5-Point Best Practice Process as a must
54 countries, 1WorldSync is the industry
practice, because they believe these five
leader in global product data management
actions must occur in order to see drastic
and data pool solutions certified for the
improvements in case weights and
GS1 Global Data Standardization
dimensions shared between manufacturers
Network™ (GDSN®). 1WorldSync solutions
and their trading partners.
and services allow companies to share
trusted product information with one
The key process insight by the group is
another and with consumers, driving
that the nature of the item setup process
business and convenience for everyone,
between manufacturers and their trade
all around the world. 1WorldSync is a joint
customers demands that preliminary
venture of GS1 Germany and GS1 US.
measurement data is provided months
For more information, visit
before product production launch. This is
www.1worldsync.com.
a standard business practice, and
won’t change any time soon.
About Gladson
The 5-point Process provides an actionable
Gladson creates, hosts and distributes
guideline for manufacturers to evaluate
their adherence to GS1 Standards, the
governance of their own setup process,
and the processes to measure product
from the production line. “We think the
5-Point process is an excellent focal point
for industry to take a major leap forward,”
“We think the 5-Point process
is an excellent focal point for
industry to take a major leap
said Dan Wilkinson, General Manager,
1WorldSync Americas. “It focuses on
specific, vital aspects of the item setup
process, and provides specific actions that
forward. It focuses on specific,
manufacturers of all sizes, in all industries,
vital aspects of the item setup
can implement to improve data accuracy
process, and provides specific
actions that manufacturers of
to manufacturers, retailers, distributors
and brokers for retail and food service.
A GS1 US Certified Data Quality Solution
Provider, Gladson services are widely used
to accelerate GDSN implementations,
achieve rapid compliance with scorecards
and improve supply chain efficiencies in
transportation, warehouse management,
inventory and order entry systems.
processes as well,” he said.
The participants urge immediate
implement to improve data
momentum to broadcast the 5-Point Best
accuracy their overall data
Practice Process, and to begin broader
as well,”
compliant product information and images
and their overall data governance
all sizes, in all industries, can
governance processes
accurate, complete and standards-
industry discussions on how these can be
implemented. Options discussed by the
participants include two potential types of
certification. The first type of certification
- DAN WILKINSON
General Manager,
1WorldSync Americas
includes certifying a company for
adherence to the 5-Point process. The
second type of certification includes
certifying product measurement data
through use of a 3rd Party Validation
agency.
CONNECTING TRUSTED PRODUCT DATA EVERYWHERE 7
About GS1 US
About itemMaster
GS1 US, a member of GS1, is an
itemMaster is “The One Source for Free
information standards organization that
Product Images and Data.” itemMaster’s
brings industry communities together to
high-quality, digital product images and
solve supply-chain problems through the
data are available for free to any registered
adoption and implementation of GS1
user, assuring all retail outlets, etailers,
Standards. More than 300,000 businesses
vendors, and companies supporting the
in 25 industries rely on GS1 US for
CPG industry will have access to accurate,
trading-partner collaboration and for
consistent product information.
maximizing the cost effectiveness, speed,
Manufacturers also maintain complete,
visibility, security and sustainability of their
unlimited access and distribution rights
business processes.
to their digital assets.
www.GS1US.org.
About SS1
As a GS1 & 1WorldSync Solution Provider,
Strategic Solutions, Inc. data accuracy
services guarantee a world class solution
insuring manufacturers’ packaging meets
product weight, measurement and imaging
specifications that are verified
according to GS1 standards. Strategic
Solutions’ company focus is the collection
of product performance data throughout
the supply chain that exceed your
customer’s demands for GS1 certified data.
For more information,
contact:
CHRIS LEMMOND
Sr. Director, Marketing and
Commercial Operations
1WorldSync
E [email protected]
ANGELA FERNANDEZ
Vice President, Industry Engagement
GS1 US
E [email protected]
Connect With Us:
CONNECTING TRUSTED PRODUCT DATA EVERYWHERE
1WorldSync
1009 lenox drive, Sute 202, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648 USA
T +1 866 280 4013 F +1 609 620 1200 E [email protected]
1worldsync.com
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