Thursday, April 19, 2007

MDM and the Information Supply Chain: Applying Supply Chain Principles to MDM

Like demand signals in the supply chain for the auto industry, the flow of information via data drives our ability to evaluate, decide, and act in our information worker economy. Delivering relevant data to the right person, time, and place, in the appropriate context remains a key challenge MDM professionals encounter. Taking a page out of Japanese-born lean principles in supply chain, we can apply the following:

  • Push information quality processes towards perfection. Lean companies are not driven to beat competitors, they strive for perfection by proactively engineering the removal of process mistakes (pokayoke) through the reduction of production time, errors, and inventories. Data governance and MDM efforts should focus on streamlining how data is acquired, cleansed and optimized for usage among stakeholders. This level of quality will deliver the real-time decision making that will improve an enterprise's operations.
  • Flow data through the system pulled by the stakeholder. Lean manufacturers do not wait to push inventory into the plant; they let demand signals from customer orders pull each unit through every step in the value chain. One car company streamlines the flow of test drive requests from the website to be delivered instantaneously to the closest sales person. Customer experience a 60 minute or less response. Any process step that hinders a smooth flow is eliminated as waste (muda).
  • Eliminate redundant data via continuous improvement. Like overproduction and excess inventory, routine data quality efforts such as cleansing is similar to eliminating waste (muda). Instead of waiting for problems before making major changes (kaikaku), leading companies have call center agents who casually verify customer information at every interaction and supplier portals that validate shipping and billing information throughout each transaction. These small improvements everyday area the heart of kaizen.
(The personal contents in this blog do not reflect the opinions, ideas, thoughts, points of view, and any other potential attribution of my current, past, or future employers.)
Copyrighted 2007 by R Wang. All rights reserved


Michael Ni said...

In general, I am a big believer in applying the years of optimization learning and the analogies we can draw from things like supply chain principles to information management (e.g., applying supply chain and MRP "old school thinking" to "new world" media management becomes interesting. To your point of applying SCM to MDM and information mgmt, you have to be careful to segment your problems when applying concepts like lean - especially when dealing in situations where you actually have better and better information that supports more centralized planning and response to disruptions.

jay paul said...

Nice post! Can’t wait for the next one. Keep stuff like this coming.

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