Is your Product Data Actionable?
Our customers often have independent systems for design, procurement, supply chain management, regulatory conformance and other product-related activities. Product data referenced in these systems is also described in web-based manufacturer and vendor catalogs. The internal part or product information our customers rely on, may be out-of-date and rarely integrates with external information, making it difficult to find authoritative up-to-date information on parts, sources, and prices. Lack of product data standardization between and across locations, divisions and with legacy data repositories complicates selection of parts and sources of supply and drives up purchasing and inventory management costs. XSB’s patented Master Data File (MDF) technology was developed to address this critical need in parts data management.
XSB’s Master Data File generation process is a robust and scalable system for standardizing data about products and the companies who manufacture and distribute them. The XSB Master Data File solution aggregates data from multiple sources; these typically include databases and legacy systems internal to the enterprise, as well as external web-based sources such as manufacturer and supplier websites. Once data is collected, manufacturer names and part numbers for each product are standardized and identical items described differently are automatically discovered. Through this process, duplicates, substitutes, and obsolete items within and between locations of an enterprise can be identified and resolved.
The cost of poor enterprise parts data management
The XSB Master Data File process then enhances and standardizes part attributes, and groups parts based on these attributes. This is accomplished by applying rules for part equivalency that identify, for each product category, which attributes are required to match for parts to be determined equivalent, and how to handle missing values. The rules are created through consultation with product domain experts since the definition of equivalency is often determined by the context in which the part is used in the customer enterprise.
Once identical and similar parts are identified, the XSB Master Data File process uses weighted parameters for part preference criteria, agreed to with the customer, to identify preferred parts within their equivalency groups. Some part preference criteria and their scores are based on part categories, while others, such as overall length or operating voltage, can be generic across many categories. The part with the highest score within the group of equivalent parts is then marked as preferred. When parameters are changed, new parts are introduced, or part characteristics get updated, the algorithm reevaluates part scores and may select different parts as preferred.
The XSB Master Data File solution creates and maintains a product master data file for the enterprise; this is a single, trusted, accurate, current and complete view of component part data found throughout the organization, its customers, and its network of suppliers.